Outdoor Gear Care Tips – How to Clean a Backpack Like a Pro

By on January 29, 2019

If you’re outdoorsy, you probably have invested in a nice, durable backpack, which you treat it as a major investment. Whether you own a big backpack or daypack, backpacks need care and maintained.

The dust from the air and the sweat and oil from your skin can accumulate in the shoulder straps and hip belt. The backpacks will also have grease spots from drinks, water, and cooking splatters. All these can attract will make the backpack dirty and eventually degrade the fabric over time. In addition, excessive dirt and grit will jam the zippers, making them difficult to use. Bits of food and other particles can attract ants, flies, and critters. So, you can see there are plenty of reasons why you should maintain and keep your backpacks clean.

Things You’ll Need To Keep Your Backpacks Clean
The following includes all the items you’ll need to clean your backpack(s).

  1. A mild soap. Remember the soap should be free of fragrances or other additives. We recommend you use soaps or washing products made for technical packs and clothing.
  2. Clean sponge/washcloth
  3. Soft, nylon-bristled brush
  4. A used toothbrush

Tips for Cleaning Your Backpack
At first, check the manufacturer’s cleaning instructions for your backpack. You may find some manufacturers recommend submerging the backpack in a bathtub for cleaning, while others don’t. In general, follow these guidelines:

  1. Don’t wash the pack in a washing machine
  2. Don’t dry the backpack in a dryer.
  3. Don’t use hot water to clean the pack; always use lukewarm water.
  4. Use a soft sponge or brush to clean. This will not harm the protective coatings on the backpack.
  5. Hang the backpack to dry indoors or in the shade. Avoid exposing the pack to direct sun as the UV light can damage the fabric.
  6. Remove fine sand, dust, and other particles from the zippers for them to open and close smoothly. Refrain from scrubbing the zippers as it can remove the water-resistant coatings. Use a lubricant made for zippers, instead.

How To Light Clean A Backpack
We suggest you clean your backpack after every hike or overnight trip. Here’s how:

  1. Empty all pockets. You can shake the pack upside down—this will get rid the pack from the sand and dirt.
  2. Wipe clean the interiors using a clean sponge.
  3. Gently scrub any grease spots or stains on the exterior with a sponge and some soap.
  4. Always use clean, cool water with the cloth or sponge to rinse the soap of the pack’s exterior.

How To Deep Clean A Backpack
Most of us don’t actually clean our backpacks for years, unless if we want to get rid of the funk and camp smoke from it. Here’s how you can do it:

  1. After emptying your backpack from dust, food bits, and other stuff, lightly vacuum the seams and crevices in the pockets. Also, vacuum the inside the backpack’s main body to remove any crumbs, grit, loose dirt or sand.
  2. Take off the shoulder straps and hip belt, and wash those separately with a little soap and sponge, if your pack allows. Rinse the soap under running water.
  3. Some backpacks come with a removable metal frame. If your pack has something like that, remove it and set it aside.
  4. Fill a large sink or bathtub with about 6 inches of lukewarm water. Submerge and swish the pack strongly using a mild soap. Sponge the interiors and brush exterior spots. Be careful with the mesh pockets.
  5. Drain the dirty water, and fill the sink or bathtub with 6 inches of clean, cool water. Submerge the pack and rinse well. Repeat it until all the soap residue is removed.

Author Biography

Charles C. Johnson is a well-rounded blogger who has a wide variety of interests and specializes in doing travel. He notorious Write, Editor, Blogger. He currently is a blog for in a genuine effort to provide the best quality outdoor gear content to his readers.

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