How To Wash A Backpack Or Hiking Pack

How To Wash A Backpack Or Hiking Pack

In the realm of outdoor adventures, where every step is a stride towards untamed beauty and uncharted landscapes, the significance of a clean and well-maintained backpack cannot be understated. Beyond being a mere carrier of hiking essentials, your backpack is a silent companion that bears the weight of your adventures, safeguarding your gear and becoming an extension of your journey. In this exploration of outdoor essentials, we will explain the best ways to clean your backpack.

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What You Will Need

Cleaning your backpack requires a few basic materials to ensure a thorough and effective cleaning process. Here's a list of equipment you'll need:

  • Mild Detergent: Choose a mild detergent or a specialised backpack cleaner. Avoid harsh chemicals that could damage the fabric or coating.
  • Soft Brush or Sponge: Use a soft brush or sponge to gently scrub away dirt and stains from the exterior of your backpack. This helps avoid scratching or damaging the material.
  • Clean, Lint-Free Cloth: Have a clean, lint-free cloth on hand for wiping down surfaces and drying the backpack after cleaning.
  • Soft-Bristle Toothbrush: A soft-bristle toothbrush is useful for reaching into small crevices, seams and hard-to-reach areas that may need more detailed cleaning.
  • Pillowcase or Laundry Bag (if machine washing): If your backpack is machine washable, place it in a pillowcase or laundry bag to protect it during the washing cycle.
  • Sink or Bathtub (for hand washing): If hand washing, use a sink or bathtub to soak and clean the backpack. Ensure there's enough space for the backpack to be submerged.

How To Clean A Backpack By Hand

If your backpack or hiking pack is made from delicate materials such as leather or has decorations such as embroidery or patches, then you will want to hand wash your backpack. Simply follow these easy steps:

1: Empty Your Backpack

The first step is to make sure that your backpack is completely empty and that all visible dirt is removed. Remove all items from your backpack and open every compartment, pocket and zip. Now hold your backpack upside down and give it a good shake to make sure any loose dirt falls out. If your backpack is pretty dirty, it's a good idea to give it a quick vacuum before washing.

2: Check The Instructions Label

Before you start washing your backpack, it's a smart idea to check the instruction label first in regards to cleaning as your backpack might have specific cleaning needs. If you don't have an instructions label, you can test a small patch of fabric with 1/4 teaspoon of cleaning detergent to see how it reacts.

3: Clean Visible Stains First

You will need to first attack any visible stains you notice. You can do this by mixing roughly a teaspoon of your cleaning detergent with some lukewarm water and then gently scrubbing the visible stains with a soft sponge or brush.

4: Wash The Backpack

Start by filling up either a bathtub or sink with lukewarm water and mix in about a tablespoon of cleaning detergent. Then submerge your backpack in the water and then begin scrubbing the outside and inside of the hiking pack with a sponge or brush. You can also use a toothbrush to get into all the nooks and crannies like zippers.

5: Rinse The Backpack

Once you have finished scrubbing, submerge the backpack for a final time. Then drain out the soapy water and fill up the sink or bathtub with fresh clean water. Thoroughly rinse out your backpack in the clean water to make sure all of the detergent is removed.

How To Wash A Backpack In A Washing Machine

If you have a tough and durable backpack made from materials like canvas or nylon (remember to check that label), then you can save some time by cleaning it in a washing machine.

1: Empty Out The Backpack

Just like cleaning your backpack by hand, the first step is to completely empty out your backpack. Like before, turn your backpack upside down and make sure to give it a good shake, then ensure all the compartments, pockets and zips are fully open.

2: Read The Instructions Label

Even though your backpack is strong enough to go into the washing machine, it's still a good idea to read the instructions label first to make sure you are following the correct steps and aren't going to end up damaging your backpack.

3: Go For Visible Stains First

And again, it's a great idea to clean visible stains first. Not only will this make sure that you have fully cleaned your backpack, but it will also give your washing machine a bit of a break as well.

4: Machine Wash The Backpack

Now it is time to chuck your backpack into the washing machine (gently of course). Be sure to cut any loose threads you might see around the zippers and then put your backpack inside of either a pillowcase or a laundry bag, as this will prevent the zippers and straps from getting caught inside of the washing machine. Now add a small amount of mild detergent and then set your washing machine to a gentle cycle.

How To Clean A Backpack With Mould

How To Clean A Backpack With Mould

So maybe it's been a while since you have used your backpack and have noticed mould starting to grow on it, also known as the Aspergillus strain of fungus. Can you just chuck it in the sink or washing machine and clean it like normal? No. Instead, you are going to have to kill the mould first with these two easy steps.

How To Clean A Backpack With Mould Using Baking Soda

  1. Start by making sure your backpack is completely empty and turn it inside out.
  2. Then place it under direct sunlight for around 24 hours. This will kill the mould with Photoinactivation, which is simply a process induced by ultraviolet (UV) light, involving the absorption of photons by microbial DNA leading to the formation of thymine dimers, disrupting DNA structure and inhibiting replication, resulting in concurrent cellular damage and process disruption contributing to the inactivation or death of the mould (also known as 'sun kill mould').
  3. After this, turn the backpack back to its normal form, fill it with half a cup of baking soda and then leave it overnight.
  4. Then scrub the baking soda into the mouldy areas with a damp cloth until all the mould is gone.
  5. Finally, empty out the baking soda and then either chuck the backpack into the washing machine or wash it by hand, depending on what the instruction label says.

How To Clean A Backpack With Mould Using White Vinegar

  1. Start by emptying everything out of your backpack and then turning it inside out.
  2. Pour a few splashes of white vinegar onto a clean cloth.
  3. Begin scrubbing the backpack until all the mould is gone.
  4. Now rinse out your backpack with warm water and then either chuck the backpack into the washing machine or wash it by hand, depending on what the instruction label says.

How To Dry A Backpack

How To Dry A Backpack

Now that you have followed all these steps, you might be staring at a soaking wet backpack and thinking "what do I do now?". Fear not, as we will now walk you through how to dry your backpack - and spoiler alert: it's a very quick step.

Leave it outside to air dry.

Well, before you leave it outside to air dry, first grab a clean towel and then pat down the backpack to remove as much excess moisture as possible. You can also leave it in front of a fan to speed up the drying time. An important note is to NEVER place your backpack inside of a tumble dryer as it will damage the backpack.

Find The Best Backpacks At Anaconda Today

When it comes to having the right backpack (and how to clean it) for your next outdoor adventure, Anaconda has all of your needs covered. Before you head out though, make sure you check out our Adventure Centre for more helpful tips and exciting destinations that you can visit with your friends, family and loved ones. If you liked our guide on how to wash a hiking backpack, then you might also like some of our other articles for tips and fun destinations such as:

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