How to Wash a Backpack & Other Back to School Tips

how to clean backpack

Wash a backpack? Yeah, that never crossed my mind either until I really started to think about it. We’ve had a few funky backpacks in this household and I’d wait for them to “air out” or  just toss them out. Not the case anymore, for those of you who make your kids use the same backpack for a few years, here’s how to wash your kid’s backpacks and keep them looking new.

Step One: Always check the label for washing instructions.

Step Two: Empty backpack, vacuum out if you so desire.
Never underestimate how many little pieces of paper or crumbs are hiding.

clean a backpack

Clearly the most important things to a teenage girl are chocolate and hair things.

Step Three: If the bag has no structural pieces, ie cardboard bottom, turn it inside out and throw in the washer on cold.

Step Two A: If your bag has leather or lights, wipe it down with a cool, mild soap solution and again with plain water to rinse.
This backpack had no tag and many structural pieces, so I used the this method.

best way to clean backpack

Step Four: Do not place backpack in dryer or it will burn, melt, shrink, or deform. Hang the backpack to dry. You get bonus points if you dry it outside in the sun.

Backpacks should be pretty durable and only need to be washed 1-2 times a year. However, there are other school items that need to be cleaned a little more often than that.


Like your remote, the dirtiest, germiest thing in your house, the calculator has probably never been wiped down. As your kids take it to school, they probably sneeze and cough on it, let their friends borrow it and other germ friendly activities. Germ covered and great for helping your kids get sick unless you wipe it down every week or so to kill whatever is living on there. To disinfect properly, allow the surface to stay wet for ten minutes.


Pencil boxes

Same concept as the calculators except this one probably has more exposure to siblings. Wipe it down and disinfect every week or every other week or so. To make it easy, you can do this the same time you clean their toys if you do that, (if not I don’t judge you, because I’m pretty sure I never did. Best. Parent. Ever.).

Notebook, Textbooks

I buy the notebooks with the plastic covers for my kids otherwise they don’t last the whole year; they have restless hand syndrome, ie always fidgeting destroying something. They also have those cool textbook covers, so it’s easy to take those off once in a while and wash them.

Lunch Boxes

Depending on how messy your child is, wipe down and dump out crumbs from their lunch box every day before packing a new lunch. If you have washable fabric lunch boxes, send them through the washer every week to get rid of food residue and stink.

These are not rules and must dos, just simply suggestions. Although, doing these few thing might help prevent a bad cold/flu season in your house. I will say that I believe germs are good for you as they help build your immune system. I still don’t like getting sick and I especially hate having sick kids.

Have you ever washed your child’s backpack?

Happy Cleaning!


Follow Angela Says on Twitter Like Angela Says on Facebook Subscribe to Angela Says RSS Follow Angela Says on Pintrest

You might also like

6 thoughts on “How to Wash a Backpack & Other Back to School Tips

    • Yup, one of the many things you can stick in the washer. I’m still wishing this one had clicked a little sooner, saving me from having to buy a few backpacks. Thanks so much for stopping by!

What are your thoughts?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s