Just because you’re celebrating your 200th flight with your bag doesn’t mean your gear has to look like it. Here’s how to clean your backpack by hand.
Backpack Cleaning Toolkit
- Soft (clean) brush or burly towel
- Clean sponge
- Detergent-free soap like Nikwax TechWash or Dr. Bronners
- An old toothbrush or microfiber towel
how To Prep Your Backpack for cleaning
To get started cleaning your backpack, remove all of your gear and empty all of the pockets. Simple, but important.
Brush Down, Shake Out
Start by shaking out your bag to get rid of loose dust, dirt and crumbs.
If you have a large, clean, soft bristle brush – like those used to clean suede shoes – gently brush the outside of your bag to knock off dust and dirt. If you don’t have a brush, dust it off with a towel. Don’t have a towel? Uh… trust in the wind?
Open your bag and pockets fully (this is much easier if your backpack opens flat 😃). If it doesn’t, you can try turning your bag inside out.
Run an old toothbrush along the seams and use it to get into the corners of the pockets to remove any loose debris. If you don’t have a spare soft-bristle toothbrush on hand, a towel wrapped around your finger will do the job. But probably not quite as effectively. I mean, imagine brushing your teeth with a towel.
You can use a vacuum instead but by time you find the right attachment and get it plugged in, it’s possible you’d already have your toothbrush back in its quiver.
how to clean the Zippers On Your Backpack
Run your trusty toothbrush along the zippers to dislodge grit, and sand. The zippers on Minaal backpacks are concealed, or ‘reversed’, to protect the zipper coils from abrasion and the elements. This will help keep them smooth for their maximum lifespan.
We don’t recommend soaping zippers or using hot water on them, as this can damage the waterproofing many manufacturers use on the surrounding fabric.
Now that all the brushing is done, give your backpack a good shake. Brush and shake, repeat as needed.
Done and Dusted
A regular brush down and shake out goes a long way. If your backpack already looks refreshed, you may be able to skip the hassle of washing and drying.
If you’ve noticed a lingering, shall we say, ‘aroma’ on the parts of your bag that come in contact with your body, like the back panel and shoulder straps, soldier on. Freshening up your bag will be appreciated by all.
How to clean Your Backpack
Still here? OK, then. It’s time to roll up your sleeves for Phase II – Washing Your Backpack.
The idea here is to spot clean the areas of your bag that need it most, rather than washing your backpack by soaking, dowsing, drowning or otherwise submerging it.
Most bags have protective coatings that warm or hot water can damage and many designs rely on materials that should never become waterlogged. That means, you never want to put your backpack in the washing machine. We recommend that you don’t submerge your Minaal Carry-on 2.0 or Minaal Daily in water.
Work from the Inside Out
Instead, dampen a sponge in cool-to-lukewarm water. Then squeeze it out thoroughly. If any dust is still clinging to the crevices of the pockets, the sponge should pick it up.
Move from pocket to pocket and compartment to compartment starting with the hardest to reach spots. Work your way from the inside out using the lightly dampened sponge to wipe away grime and touch up any stains in the interior.
How to Spot Clean Your Backpack’s Exterior
Once the inside of your backpack is sparkling clean, turn your attention to the outside of your bag. Spot clean any dirty areas you find with your sponge. If you notice a particularly persistent spot, you can add a drop of detergent-free soap to the water you dip your sponge in. Never pour soap on the bag itself.
Don’t let soap dry on your backpack. Instead, blot the area dry with a towel. Then, using a thoroughly rinsed sponge, moistened in fresh clean water, dab the area to rinse.
Never use abrasive chemicals or rub too vigorously. If a stain seems likely to stick around through one cleaning, don’t worry. Time is on your side. Repeat the process and let it dry. A few gentle spot cleanings usually take care of even the worst stains.
For areas that absorb sweat like the shoulder straps, hip pads and back panel, use a little drop of detergent-free soap in your water and follow the same process found above to rinse.
How to Dry Your Backpack
Hang your bag to air dry indoors or in a shady place. Keep in mind that sun is a nuclear fireball!(!!) Even colorfast materials will fade over time. Leaving your bag outside to bake for hours under its harmful rays isn’t a great idea.
Giving your backpack time to air out and dry should take care of any odors. Nonetheless, some seasoned road veterans swear by keeping a dryer sheet in with their dirty laundry as an ever-present funk fighter.
Never use heat or tumble dry your bag. Coatings, clips, buckles and other materials don’t like that, and neither does your dryer.
How to Clean your Accessories
Last, but not least, repeat the process to hand wash your accessories. Once everything is thoroughly dry, you’re ready for the road. Put your gear back together and get out there!
Just try extra hard to avoid dumping a lunchbox full of chili crab in your device compartment this time.
For more tips and tricks on how to pack, see the related posts below. If you’re ready to hit the road, smash this button: