Can you Wash a Jansport Backpack without ruining it? Yes! How to Guide – 2023

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I’ve had my fair share of surprises left by my kids and hubby in backpacks, including some almost fermented plums. So, can you wash a Jansport backpack without ruining it?

The last thing we want to do is ruin the material’s breathability or take off a zipper by a rough tumble in the dryer on a good backpack. 

Jansports are designed to be durable and protect against light rain and unpredictable weather.

Yes!!! The aim of this article is to show you the safest and easiest ways to do it without ruining the waterproof layer or damage the pack.

Make sure to read through to the end to discover the most effective cleaning detergent solution for stubborn stains and dirt that also preserves the breathability and waterproofing layer.

Can you Wash a Jansport Backpack?

Yes, but in general try not to wash your expensive backpacks regularly.  It degrades the weather protection, but sometimes you’ve just got to do some maintenance so here’s the summary on how to wash your backpack:

Cleaning Your Jansport Backpack

✅ ❌ ❓


You can absolutely wash your Jansport backpack, but with care.  

You'll want to avoid washing it if possible as the pack is covered with a protective weather sealant that will degrade with washing.  

Your pack can withstand a lot of debris and water and may not need as much "washing" as you think. Simply dust it off after each hike to avoid having to wash it.  The biggest problem will likely be mold from food left in the bag or if you let it sit overwinter in a closed closet. 

From least to most damaging ways to wash:

1. Avoid placing on exterior walls or closets where mold will occur

2. Hand spot clean with cloth, old toothbrush

3. Hand wash with soapy water

4. Soak in tub with soapy water

5. Machine wash on gentle cycle

Never place it in the dryer.

Get it to dry completely by hanging it.

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🔥🥾 Related Reading: Hiking Advice from a Physical Therapist Hiking Addict:

Cleaning Tips for Your Jansport Backpack

Try to keep your Jansport Backpack in a well ventilated storage area and avoid the back of the closet or along an outer house wall.  

Also, try wiping down your pack the day of use with a simple wet cloth to avoid accumulation of dirt that will require it to be washed in future. 


You can wash a Jansport backpack if absolutely necessary. Start with spot cleaning it with a wet cloth. If that doesn’t work you can soak it in cold water in the bathtub and scrub it with a toothbrush. 

For really stubborn stains, you can finally try to add some mild detergent to the water.  For mold utilize a vinegar solution and exposure to natural sunlight.

Finally, if it’s really bad, use a delicate cold cycle in the washing machine at your own risk. Hang dry. 

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Different Methods to Wash a Jansport Backpack

Step by Step Instructions for Hand Washing Your Backpack

man wearing a jansport backpack

Start with Spot Cleaning Jansport Backpacks

  1. Completely empty your Jansport bag and shake out any debris
  2. Use a warm wet sponge to get all the bits of dirt and debris out of any pockets or corners
  3. Use a toothbrush to remove dirt from zippers
  4. Rinse area with warm sponge
  5. Hang dry until completely dry indoors or in shade

Not enough?  Soak and Scrub

  1. All of the above steps plus add a drop of detergent like Nikwax on the sponge if needed.

Still not enough?

  1. Fill a bathtub with warm water and submerge the backpack.
  2. Use a wet towel or sponge to scrub areas of dirt or stain.
  3. Completely rinse and hang dry indoors or in shade to air dry.

Machine Washing Your Jansport Backpack

To maintain the integrity of the backpack, the manufacturer advises against using a washing machine. However, if you must, use only the gentle cycle with cool water or lukewarm water and a slow spin cycle using a laundry bag.

Avoid using the dryer and opt for hanging the backpack to dry instead. For added protection during machine wash, place the backpack inside a mesh bag.

Before washing, remove the integrated rain cover and open the zippers to the main compartment.

girl wearing jansport backpack that needs cleaning

Cleaning a Moldy Backpack

Plain white vinegar can help you get rid of mold on your Jansport backpack.  

  • A little bit of dirt on a Jansport backpack is considered a badge of honor.
  • However, if left in a closet or near a damp wall, the backpack can grow mold and mildew.
  • Vinegar has antifungal and antibacterial properties that make it an effective treatment for many types of mold.
  • To use vinegar as a treatment, fill a spray bottle with full-strength vinegar and soak the area of infestation.
  • Let the vinegar sit for at least 1 hour and then wipe away the mold with a damp cloth.
  • Hang the backpack to dry outdoors in full sunlight if possible.

Can I Put My Jansport Backpack in The Dryer?

Absolutely do not put Jansport bags in a dryer. I repeat, Do NOT put your backpack in the dryer. If parts of your backpack refuse to get dry after a wash, try using a hairdryer on the low cool setting to get the small corners dry. 

Recommended Resources

NikWax Tech Wash is trusted by backpackers and people interested in keeping their packs for decades.  It refreshes the backpack fabric and water resistance capacity and breathability to keep you dry and comfortable. It’s a reliable stain remover.

How to Clean Your Backpack [by Brand]

Detailed Guides on How to Clean According to the Manufacturer

The North Face How to Clean a Northface Backpack
Fjällräven KankenHow to Clean a Kanken Backpack
OspreyHow To Clean an Osprey Backpack
DeuterHow to Clean a Deuter Backpack
HerschelHow to Clean a Herschel Backpack
NikeHow to Clean a Nike Backpack
CanvasHow to Clean a Canvas Backpack
Vera BradleyHow to Clean a Vera Bradley Backpack
Jack WolfskinHow to Clean a Jack Wolfskin Backpack
JansportHow to Clean a Jansport Backpack

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We hope this guide filled with interesting information about the best way to clean a Jansport backpack has given you the proper information to keep your gear in top shape.

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I hope I answered your burning question: Can you clean a jansport backpack without ruining it.