Can I Put my Backpack in the Washer?

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Washing a backpack can be challenging, and so many users want to know whether they can put their backpacks in a washer.

With most, the answer is yes. It depends on the material, but most backpacks are made of nylon or canvas and are safe to put in the washing machine. 

There are some materials that cannot be put in the washer.

Backpacks are among the most essential and versatile products used by almost everybody in the day to day lives.

Regardless of the wide range of use, backpacks get filthy after some time and cleaning them is necessary.

There are many ways that you can use to clean your backpack. One of the ways is using a washing machine.

 But if you are a cautious person and don’t want to mess up your backpack, you must be wondering whether it will be safe to wash it in a washing machine.

To clear the air, let me first admit that you can wash your backpack in a washing machine.

However, the backpack must be machine-washable, and you must take a few precautions to avoid destroying either your bag or the washer.

Read on to find out which backpacks are machine washable and which ones are not!

Machine Washable Backpacks and Non-machine Washable Backpacks

Not all backpacks are safe to put into a washing machine. Some enter into a washing machine and come out torn and destroyed.

The only sure way to know if a backpack is machine washable is by checking on the label that comes with the backpack.

The material making your bag will also determine if your backpack will or will not go into the washing machine.

Some machine washable materials include polyester, nylon, cloth, and cotton.

Materials that you should never put into the washing machine include vinyl, leather and suede.

Any backpacks made of these materials will never come out whole when put into a washing machine. They will be torn and destroyed.

Other types of backpacks that you should never wash with a washing machine are those made of frames.

Any frames, whether internal or external, will be bent by the moving parts of the washing machine.

Bags coated with waterproof materials can go into a washing machine, but you should not wash them regularly. Twice a year is enough to keep your bag clean and strong.

How to Machine-Wash Your Backpack

Even if your backpack is machine washable, you will want to wash them in the right way. After all, backpacks can be very expensive; thus, careful handling is a must.

Below is a step-by-step guide on how to wash your backpack:

Step 1: Empty the Backpack

Before you start doing any washing, you should first ensure the bag is empty. Check all the pockets and compartments of the backpack for any plastic materials, crumps, and threads.

Ensure all the pockets are open and cut any thread hanging near zippers.

You can put all the essential items in one place so you can quickly return them to the bug when it’s clean and dry.

Step 2: Disconnect Removable Parts If There is Any

A backpack can be machine-washable, but this does not mean its accessories are machine washable.

Besides, some rigid bag accessories like frames should never go into the washing machine. If they are available and are removable, ensure to detach them before you toss your bag into the washer.

All machine washable accessories and parts should be put into a pillowcase or a laundry bag before putting them into the washer. Accessories that are not machine-washable can be washed separately by hand.

Step 3: Remove Stains

After detaching all the removable parts, it’s time to check if there are any stains in the exterior or interior of the bag.

In case of any stain, use a soft brush and a stain remover to remove them. Allow the treatment to settle for half an hour before you can proceed to the next step.

Step 4: Wash the Backpack

At this stage, you can choose to put the backpack directly into the washing machine or disinfect it first.

It all depends on what you do with your backpack. Backpacks used to carry items that may contain sweat, bacteria, and fungus should be disinfected first. Pine oil or Phenolic Disinfectant will kill all germs.

Turn your bug inside out and put it into a laundry bag or pillowcase. Toss it into the washing machine and wash it gently using mild detergents.

Step 5: Dry Your Backpack

Remove the backpack from the washer and out of the laundry bag or pillowcase. With the zippers still open, hang the bag outside and leave it to dry naturally, exposing it to direct sunlight.

Ensure your backpack is completely dry before using it again. This will help keep away bacteria and foul odors.

Bags can take up to two days to dry, depending on several factors. For instance:

During the summer, a bag will dry faster than during the winter. Other factors include the bag material and your geographical location.


Backpacks for Bushcrafting can be very expensive, and thus extra care should be taken when washing them.

If your bag is costly and you are unsure of how to machine-wash it, consider the material used or whether it’s labeled to be machine washable or not.

You can also seek help from a professional to steer clear of ruining your beautiful and expensive backpack.






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