How to Wash a Polyester Backpack

How to Wash a Polyester Backpack: Easy At-Home Instructions

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It’s known that over time, your backpack is going to experience many things, and one of which is a lot of dirt.

No matter if you intend on backpacking through Europe or if you use your backpack as a laptop bag for work, you’ll start to notice its colors are duller and dustier than they were when you first bought it. 

Little do most people know that learning how to wash a polyester backpack is far easier than you’d think, and it can be done entirely at home.

The Recommended Procedure

Step 1: Inspect the Backpack

The very first thing you’re going to want to do is to take a thorough look at your backpack to figure out where most of the dirt is hidden, as this will give you an idea of whether it needs to be washed thoroughly or simply spot treated. It’s also important for you to inspect your bag as you’re going to need to know whether it’s been treated with a waterproof material or not.

The main concern with washing a waterproofed backpack is that the waterproof coating will come off in the washing machine and create a giant slimy mess. It’s also essential that you make sure there isn’t a waterproof layer in between the fabric on your travel backpack, as you’ll also want to avoid the washing machine and rely on hand washing.

The best way to tell if there’s waterproofing on your backpack is to feel if the material is smooth on the outside and rough on the inside, which typically means there’s some coating on it.

washing a waterproofed backpack

Step 2: Empty the Backpack

Before you begin, it’s crucial that you fully empty your backpack and ensure that you check every single pocket to remove as many items as possible. You wouldn’t believe how easy it is to get carried away with the idea of a freshly cleaned bag only to find that you washed your passport, old boarding passes, or other necessary documentation that cannot be repaired.

Once you’ve taken out all your valuables, it’s recommended that you shake the bag out to remove any excess crumbs or items that might be hiding in tight corners or between the lining. If you want to take it a step further, you can use the hose on your vacuum to make sure everything has been removed.

Step 3: Look for Washing Instructions

The majority of backpacks will come with a label that has some brief washing instructions on it, such as alerting you never to use bleach or notifying you to wash with cold water on a gentle cycle. It’s vital that you pay attention to these instructions, as they’ll help protect your bag over time.

If you can’t find a label with specific washing instructions, it’s recommended that you head to step six for handwashing instructions.

Step 4: Prepare the Bag for Washing

The fourth step to learning how to wash a polyester backpack is to prepare it to go into the washing machine. You’re going to want to make sure that all the zippers have been undone. This is especially important if you have a top-loading washer with an agitating bar.

You’re also going to want to make sure that if your backpack has any framing, it’s removed, as it can easily bend in the washing machine. Also, prior to putting your backpack inside of a pillowcase for added protection, pay close attention to any prevalent stains, as you’re going to want to spot treat those first before putting the bag in the wash. Once the stains have been treated, put the pillowcase on top of your backpack, as this will protect the clasps and more delicate details from being mangled in the washer.

Dry the Backpack

Step 5: Start the Washing Machine

Now, it’s time to finally start the washing machine and ensure that you’re using cold water and the gentlest cycle possible. This will help make sure that the colors on your backpack don’t fade and it will also protect the more delicate parts of the backpack, such as the interior lining, from damage and fray.

Step 6: Hand-Washing Instructions (Optional)

If you’ve decided that you’d prefer to wash your backpack by hand, it’s recommended that you use mild laundry detergent and a soft sponge. First, you’re going to want to put the backpack in a laundry room sink or bathtub, and spot treat any stains that you see.

You can then fill a bucket or your bathtub with lukewarm to cool water and add a little bit of detergent to the water, creating enough suds to get your backpack cleaned. With the help of the soft sponge and your hands, gently work your way down the backpack in a circular motion, gently wiping the dirt off until cleaned.

Step 7: Dry the Backpack

The final step to learning how to wash a polyester backpack is to make sure that you allow the backpack to dry for a sufficient amount of time, we recommend at least overnight. The most important thing to remember is that you surely don’t want to put the backpack into the dryer, as this can agitate the materials used during its construction.

Ideally, you’re going to want to hang the backpack outside or in your bathroom to where any excess water can drip out of the bag, and it can thoroughly air dry.

Final Thoughts

After your bag has been cleaned and dried, it should look brand new, and since the entire cleaning process should take less than 20 minutes at most, it’s an easy price to pay to keep your backpack in its best condition. It’s recommended that you take the time to clean your bag after every trip so that it’s fresh for your upcoming adventure.

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triptothewild0@gmail.com - July 16, 2019

Can you put a polyester backpack in the dryer at low heat or no heat setting? Or will that still harm the material?

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    Tour Signs - September 21, 2019

    Hello! I wouldn’t recommend putting a backpack in the dryer or exposing it to heat. The safest approach is to line dry the bag, preferably in the sun. Good luck!

    Reply
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