How to Clean Backpacks
What You Need
- Simple Green All-Pupose Cleaner
- Soft bristle brush or toothbrush
- Washing machine
- Laundry bag (optional)
In the daily routine of lunchboxes, science experiments, markers, pens, gum, and more, backpacks are often-overlooked cleanup jobs waiting to happen. Cleaning your kid's bag every few months will keep it looking (and smelling!) good throughout the year and beyond.
Whether you're looking for a stain remover for the outside, a deodorizer for the inside, or a little bit of both, Simple Green All-Pupose Cleaner works to clean, degrease, deodorize, and remove stains without harmful chemicals*. The clean-rinsing formula does not leave behind a residue that could cause skin irritation or damage the fabric.
Before cleaning or washing a backpack, you should make sure to take everything out of all the pockets. Remove the treasure trove of papers, notes, coins, pencils, candy, gum, and other items, and set them aside. Look for any tags that offer washing instructions, as most fabric backpacks can be either hand washed, or machine washed.
Directions for Cleaning Backpacks:
While you can put most fabric backpacks in the washing machine, some won't hold up under a washer's agitation.
- Wet stains. Dab the stain with a wet cloth or paper towel.
- Apply cleaner. Spray the stain with Simple Green All-Pupose Cleaner.
- Scrub. Use a soft bristle brush (an old toothbrush works great) to work the cleaner into the stained area.
- Rinse. Rinse the area thoroughly and air dry.
If your pack's washing instructions or care tag suggests handwashing, use the following directions:
- Fill your sink. Fill a sink with warm water (hot water can make colors bleed), and add 1/4 cup of Simple Green All-Pupose Cleaner. For larger or extremely dirty bags, add 1 cup of Simple Green.
- Scrub. Using a soft brush or cloth, scrub the backpack thoroughly, focusing on seams, the bottom of the bag, and other areas that appear particularly dirty.
- Rinse. Rinse your backpack thoroughly with warm water and allow it to air dry.
- Prepare your washing machine. Set your washer to the smallest load on cold water, gentle cycle.
- Add Simple Green. Add 1/4 cup of Simple Green All-Pupose Cleaner to the filled washer.
- Add the backpack. Put the bag in a mesh laundry bag with the pockets unzipped or turn it inside out (to avoid zippers and metal parts damaging your machine). Add it to the washing machine.
- Add your usual laundry detergent and wash.
- Remove the backpack and air dry. Do not dry the backpack in the dryer.
*Simple Green All-Pupose Cleaner is an EPA Safer Choice product. You can learn more about how EPA toxicologists have reviewed each ingredient for health, safety, and environmental compliance here.