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Comprehensive Guide on Cleaning a hiking Backpack

A backpack is a big investment that needs to be taken care of. In addition to knowing what to pack in a hiking backpack and how to put things in it, it is important to take into account how to clean it. Whether you’re wearing a small daypack or a big backpack, sweat and oil from your skin will probably get into the shoulder straps and hip belt. Spatters from cooking can leave grease spots. All of these can get dirty over time, which wears down the material. Zippers can get clogged up, which makes them hard to use. Having bits of food in your pockets can attract animals that you don’t want to see. So, you should learn how to clean a hiking backpack for many reasons. In addition, you might want to read about how to clean your hiking shoes.

how to clean a hiking backpack

Whether you’re doing a quick clean or a deep clean, you’ll need these things:

  • A mild soap is one that doesn’t have any added scents or other things. A product like castile soap or a wash made just for technical packs and clothing would work.
  • Sponge or washcloth that is clean
  • Soft, not stiff, nylon-bristled brush or an old toothbrush.

How to clean a hiking backpack 

First, follow the instructions for cleaning your pack that came with it. Some say you should put a pack in a bathtub, while others say you shouldn’t.

In general, keep these rules in mind:

  • Never use a washing machine or dryer to clean or dry a pack.
  • Use lukewarm (not hot) water and a soft sponge or brush sparingly so you don’t damage any protective coatings on the pack.
  • Hang the pack to dry out of the direct sun or in the shade (UV light can degrade the fabric).
  • Zippers need to be cleaned every so often to get rid of sand, dust, and other small particles. Be careful not to scrub the zipper, as many of them have coatings that keep water out. Use a lubricant made for zippers to help them move.

It’s a good idea to give your pack a quick once-over after a hike or overnight trip. This is how:

  • Fill up every pocket. Turn it upside down and shake it to get the sand and dirt out.
  • You don’t need soap to clean the inside with a clean sponge.
  • Use your sponge and a little soap to rub any stains or spots on the outside.
  • To get the soap off your sponge or cloth, use clean, cool water.
  • Put your Ten Essentials back in your pack when it’s dry so you’re ready for your next trip.
  • Deep Cleaning

You might not clean your pack for years, but at some point you’ll want to get the stink and camp smoke out of it. This is how:

  • After emptying your pack, gently vacuum the seams and cracks in the pockets and deep inside the main body of the pack to get rid of any crumbs, sand, or loose dirt.
  • If your pack lets you, take off the hip belt and shoulder straps. Use a sponge and a little soap to wash each one separately. Rinse well under running water.
  • Check your owner’s manual to see if your pack’s metal frame can be detached or taken off. If it can, do so and set the frame aside.
  • Fill about 6 inches of lukewarm water into a bathtub or large sink. Use the gentle soap. Put your pack in the water and swish it around a lot, using a sponge to clean the inside and a brush to clean the outside. Pay close attention to any parts that touch skin. Mesh pockets are delicate.
  • Drain. Fill with 6 inches of clean, cool water and give it a good rinse. If you need to, rinse twice to get rid of all the soap.

Backpacks and bookbags can get dirty or stained over time, whether they are full of school supplies, gear for a hike, or things you use every day. When it’s time to do a deep clean once or twice a year, you should spot clean any stains, wash gently according to the instructions on the care label, and let the item air dry properly. Follow the steps below to learn how to wash a backpack by hand or in a machine.


How to hand-wash a backpack

The safest way to clean a bookbag or backpack is to wash it by hand (the same goes for washing baseball caps). Some bags, like hiking packs, have protective coatings that could wear away in the washing machine. If your bag is made of leather, has leather trim, or has iron-on patches or embroidery, you should wash it by hand.

You will need:

  • Mild soap or detergent with no added scents or chemicals
  • Washcloth or sponge
  • Cleaning brush with soft bristles (like an old toothbrush)
  • Used towels
  • Backpack graphic

Step 1: Empty the backpack and brush off any dirt that you can see.

Open every pocket and compartment and take everything out, but don’t zip up the pockets. Shake the backpack to get rid of dust or crumbs, and brush the outside to get rid of dirt and buildup. You can also use a vacuum attachment to clean up the seams on the inside and outside. Take off any metal frames, straps, or hip belts that can be taken off.

Step 2: Read the label about how to take care of it.

Most care labels are on the inside of the backpack. Follow the directions on how to clean. If there isn’t a label, test the fabric first with about a quarter teaspoon of detergent in a less visible spot to make sure it won’t fade or get damaged.

Step 3: Treat stains on the spot

With a soft brush or sponge and a teaspoon of detergent mixed with lukewarm water, gently clean any stains that you can see.

Step 4: Wash the backpack carefully in warm water.

Put lukewarm water and a tablespoon of mild detergent in a sink, large basin, or bathtub. Check the care label to see if the backpack can be put in water. If it can, put it right in the water. Use a sponge or washcloth to scrub the inside and outside of the bag. Scrub the zippers with an old toothbrush to get rid of any buildup.

Step 5: Rinse and air dry

If you put the backpack in water, pour out the soapy water and replace it with clean, cool water to give it a good rinse. If you only used a sponge or cloth without submerging it, soak the sponge in clean water and go over the backpack to remove any detergent. Use an old towel to gently pat away any extra water, and then hang the bag up to dry in the air. Never put a backpack or bookbag in the dryer because the heat can damage the fabric and accessories like zipper pulls.

Maintenance tip: If you want to put a protective finish on your clean backpack, like a waterproofing spray, you should wait until it is completely dry.

Backpacks are a must-have for everyone. A backpack can get dirty and smelly over time from food, moisture, and normal wear and tear. Most backpacks are made to withstand normal wear and tear, and they aren’t that hard to clean. Most backpacks can be washed in a regular washing machine with detergent, but some have to be washed by hand because they are made of different materials. You can keep your bag clean and, hopefully, make it last longer with some light cleaning products and a little bit of elbow grease.

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