Washing a backpack – Without Ruining it!


Are you wondering what washing a backpack will do to it? Will it ruin it? As a hiking obsessed mom, I’ve had my fair share of backpack problems.

Your backpack is your lifeline when hiking and keeping it well-maintained and clean is essential for a comfortable and safe hike.

These backpacks are designed to be durable and not contribute to the issue of fast fashion and waste. So, the question is: how to wash a backpack?

how to wash deuter backpack
A little duct tape on my favorite Deuter bag keeps it going for decades.


As an avid hiker and backpacker, I know firsthand the importance of keeping gear in good condition. One essential item that often gets overlooked in terms of maintenance is the backpack. It’s easy to focus on keeping the contents organized and forget about the backpack itself.

But over time, dirt, sweat, and bacteria can build up and cause unpleasant odors or even damage the backpack material.

That’s why I’m excited to share with you some tips and tricks for washing a backpack to keep it clean, fresh, and in great condition for all your adventures.

Whether you’re trying to keep your bookbag clean or a seasoned backpacker, these techniques will help you maintain your backpack and get the most out of your outdoor experience.

Keep reading to find guides based on the specific instructions of each backpack brand.

Short on Time? Quick Links


Brand Specific Cleaning Guides

Your backpack is your trusty companion on hikes, and keeping it well-maintained and clean is essential for a comfortable and safe hike.

With these essential hiking gear tips for maintaining and cleaning your backpack, you can ensure that your gear is in top shape and ready for your next adventure.

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

Looking to clean your backpack? Learn the best practices for washing a backpack and keeping it in top condition for all your outdoor adventures.

Our step-by-step guide will show you how to properly wash and disinfect your backpack to remove dirt, stains, and bacteria.

From hand washing to machine washing, we’ll cover all the methods for cleaning your backpack and keeping it fresh and odor-free. Say goodbye to grime and hello to a clean, like-new backpack with our expert tips and tricks for washing a backpack.

Backpack Maintenance Tips

An Ounce of Prevention!

washing a packpack

Regular backpack maintenance can prevent minor problems from becoming major issues. Here are some essential backpack maintenance tips:

  • Check for damages and wear and tear: Before and after every hike, inspect your backpack for any damages, such as broken zippers, loose straps, or holes. Address minor problems before they become major issues.
  • Tighten all the straps: Loose straps can cause discomfort and affect your balance, especially when hiking on rough terrain. Check all the straps, including the hip belt, shoulder straps, and load-lifter straps, and adjust them accordingly.
  • Keep your backpack dry: A wet backpack can cause mold and mildew to grow, affecting the integrity of the fabric. After every hike, make sure to dry your backpack thoroughly, especially the interior.

Backpack Cleaning Tips

Keeping your backpack clean is crucial for its longevity and functionality. Learn how to properly wash and clean your backpack to keep it looking new and free from bacteria.

Say goodbye to dirt, stains, and bad odors with our helpful tips and tricks for backpack maintenance. Keep your backpack fresh and ready for your next adventure with our expert advice on washing a backpack.

Here are some essential backpack cleaning tips:

  • Empty your backpack and shake it out: Before cleaning your backpack, empty it out and shake it to remove any debris or dirt.
  • Spot clean with a damp cloth: For minor stains or spots, use a damp cloth and gentle soap to clean the affected area. Avoid using harsh chemicals or detergents that can damage the fabric.
  • Hand wash or machine wash: If your backpack is particularly dirty, you can hand wash it using a mild detergent and warm water. Make sure to rinse thoroughly and let it air dry. You can also machine wash your backpack on a gentle cycle, but make sure to remove any metal parts, such as buckles or zippers, before washing.
  • Apply a waterproofing spray: A waterproofing spray can protect your backpack from water damage, keeping your gear dry and safe.
  • Store your backpack properly: Store your backpack in a cool, dry place, away from direct sunlight or heat sources. Avoid storing it in a damp or humid area, as it can cause mold and mildew to grow.

Happy hiking!

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Author profile: Morgan Fielder is a physical therapist and passionate hiker who believes in exploring the world on foot with good food. Follow her journey as she shares science-based hiking tips and advocates for sustainable tourism.

I hope you enjoyed this guide to washing a backpack!