title background

How to wash your backpacks and maintain them

Clothestip | 6 minute read |

A common question many have is, can a backpack go in the washing machine? With our daily hustle, ensuring our backpacks are clean is essential, yet carving out time for it can be challenging.


This guide aims to provide a straightforward answer to this question while offering step-by-step instructions on how to maintain the cleanliness of your backpack, whether by hand or using a washing machine. With the right approach, you can ensure your backpack remains in great condition, ready to support you in all your daily endeavours.


Below is a step-by-step guide to both hand washing and using machine to wash your backpack, making the process a breeze.


Here are what you'll need to wash your backpack:

  • Lukewarm water
  • Mild detergent or soap
  • Soft-bristle brush or sponge
  • Towel
  • Mesh laundry bag (optional)


Before washing the backpack


Step 1: Empty the backpack and brush off visible dirt

Firstly, ensure your backpack is completely empty. Turn it upside down to shake out any loose debris. Check all pockets and compartments to make sure nothing is left inside. For visible dirt on the exterior, use a soft-bristle brush to gently brush it away. This pre-cleaning step will make the washing process much easier and more effective.

Step 2: Read the care instructions label

How to wash your packbacks

Every backpack comes with a care instructions label , usually found inside the main compartment. It's important to read and follow these instructions as they provide specific guidelines on how to safely clean your backpack without causing any damage. The label will indicate whether hand washing is recommended and what type of detergent should be used.


Step 3: Identify your backpack's fabric to choose the right washing method

If your backpack doesn't have a care label or the label is faded, you need to know the type of fabric your backpack is made of to choose the right washing method. Here are some common backpack fabrics and their washing instructions:


100% Nylon (Polyester)


Does not shrink or wrinkle easily.

Can be hand-washed or machine-washed.


Cotton and lining fabrics


Prone to shrinking and wrinkling.

Should be hand-washed only.

Step 4: Spot treat stains

Stubborn stains require a bit of extra attention. Apply a small amount of mild detergent directly on the stain and gently brush with a soft-bristle brush. You can also use a sponge for this step if necessary. Allow the detergent to sit on the stain for about 15 minutes before proceeding to the next step.


How to wash your backpack


Wash the backpack by hand


Fill a basin or tub with lukewarm water and add a bit of mild detergent. Submerge your backpack and gently agitate it in the water to help dislodge dirt and grime. Use a sponge to softly scrub any grimy areas, paying special attention to heavily soiled areas. Ensure that you clean inside all pockets and compartments.


Wash the backpack by washing machine

Wash the backpack by washing machine

Protection is key here. If possible, place your backpack in a mesh laundry bag to prevent straps or zippers from getting caught. Opt for a gentle detergent and select a delicate or gentle cycle on your washing machine to ensure a mild wash.

How to properly rinse and dry your backpack

Rinse your backpack thoroughly with clean water to remove any soap residue. It's important to get all the soap out to prevent any residue from attracting more dirt in the future.


If you wash by hand, gently squeeze out excess water without twisting or wringing the fabric, as this could cause damage or misshapen your bag.


Remember to reshape your backpack and lay it flat on a towel to air dry, away from direct sunlight since backpacks made from cotton, fabric, and leather can't handle the high heat of a dryer or harsh sunlight.


It's best to let your backpack air dry completely before using it again to prevent mildew growth.


Additional Tips:

  • Don't use a metal hanger to dry your backpack, as it can leave indentations.
  • Avoid stuffing your backpack with newspaper while drying, as the ink may stain the backpack.
  • Use a fan to speed up the drying process (if necessary).


Extra tips for maintaining a backpack

Here are some additional tips to ensure your backpack stays clean and intact:

  • Dryer caution: Avoid placing a backpack or bookbag in the dryer since the heat can potentially harm the fabric and elements such as zipper pulls.
  • Zipper care: Ensure all zippers are zipped up to prevent them from snagging or getting damaged.
  • Mild detergent: Use a mild detergent to prevent any harsh chemical damage to the fabric.
  • Spot test: Before applying any detergent or stain remover, perform a spot test on a small, inconspicuous area to ensure no discolouration occurs.
  • Regular cleaning: Regular light cleaning can prevent the buildup of dirt and stains, making the washing process easier when needed.
  • Don't overload your backpack: Overstuffing your backpack can put strain on the seams and zippers, potentially leading to tears or breakage. When packing your backpack, aim for even weight distribution and avoid placing heavy objects directly against your back.


Read more laundry tips here:

Experience effortless laundry with Electrolux

Experience effortless laundry with electrolux

Maintaining the cleanliness of your backpack or clothes can be straightforward and effective with the right machine. Electrolux washing machines offer a blend of gentle care and efficient cleaning, aimed at preserving the essence of your belongings.

Gentle cleaning performance

Electrolux washing machines delicately care for the fabric and structure of your backpack, ensuring a thorough clean that respects its build.

Efficiency at its core

Crafted for thorough cleansing, these machines balance effective cleaning with energy and water conservation, embodying a thoughtful approach to everyday tasks.

Simplified operation

With a user-friendly interface, selecting the right wash cycle is simplified, making the cleaning process approachable and less daunting.

Innovative features

Electrolux washing machines include a variety of innovative features such as the "Delay Start" feature that allows for scheduling the wash cycle at a later, convenient time. "Vapour Care Technology" helps reduce allergens and wrinkles, ensuring your backpack is clean and refreshed for your next use.


Frequently asked questions about washing backpacks in the washer

compare channel adviser image

Purchase In-Store

    1800 5888 99