How to Clean a Canvas Backpack? Detailed Guide in 2023

Clean a Canvas Backpack

Nowadays, everybody is busy with the daily affairs of life. So, whenever people are sick of their monotonous, and hectic life routine, they love to travel with a backpack.

Canvas backpacks are the best to rely on to explore Nature’s beauties. They are also suitable for sporting events and concerts as they are eco-friendly. 

Typically, people keep their smelly and sweaty gym clothes plus running shoes in backpacks. Moreover, you also use them for carrying midday snacks and school supplies. In short, it can be used to tote around everything, including cosmetics. Therefore, usually, it is a source of transferring smells from one item to the others. 

In such circumstances, there is a dire need for washing and clean your canvas backpack. No doubt, washing can extend their lifespan and duration.

So here is a completely informative, detailed piece of writing related to the cleanliness of canvas backpacks. Let’s see how you can wash and clean a canvas backpack on an urgent basis.

What are the effective means of cleaning your canvas backpack? 

Source: Youtube

Generally, you can wash things either with your hands or in the washing machine. I’ll guide you through both methods step by step. 

However, don’t forget to check the care labels on the backpack before washing it. Make sure you follow the instructions mentioned there. For instance, if they are recommended for dry cleaning, follow the guideline.

It would be best if you perform test cleaning. Wash a small part of the bag and observe the results before washing the whole.

Prep before Washing

The following preparation process is necessary before starting the washing, either by hand or in the washing machine.

  • Empty all the zippers of the backpack by removing all the items. Such as pens, inks, currency, cards, books, etc.
  • Keep those items together in a plastic bag so you may not misplace them.
  • Replace or throw the dirty things to keep your bag neat after washing it.
  • Also, remove the detachable items like buttons, key chains, straps, and additional pockets before starting washing. Wash them separately, either by hand or by using a washing machine.
  • Get rid of all the debris and dirt. You may use a vacuum cleaner for this purpose.
  • Take your bag outside and turn it inside out. A computer keyboard air blower is also used to get rid of stray hair.
  • Check your bag twice in case of any leftovers.

Spot Cleaning

Before washing the whole, spot cleaning is necessary to remove any stubborn stains.

Use a small amount of disinfecting detergent to remove stains. Use a toothbrush or fingernail brush to apply detergent to a particular portion—Wash clothes with disinfecting material to remove stains. Apply the solution for thirty minutes, and then scrub gently.

Furthermore, non-acetone nail polish removers are also suitable for removing stubborn stains. Therefore, take a neat cotton pad and apply a small amount of nail polish remover to it. Then scrub the required portion gently. Afterward, use another wet clean cotton pad for the same area.

Never use chlorine, bleach, or detergents with lighteners and fabric softeners while spot cleaning. 

Guide to washing the canvas backpack in the Washing Machine 

Source: Youtube

You may often wonder, is it okay to wash your backpack in the washing machine?

Well, the answer depends upon the material of the bags. If they are made up of nylon or canvas, then the answer is yes.

However, machine washing is not suitable for leather bags. So be careful while cleaning them.

As far as a canvas backpack is concerned, firstly put it in a laundry bag. If that’s not available, you can also use an old pillowcase. This measurement offers to keep the zippers and straps safe. Also, it helps avoid any damage to the inside walls of the washing machine.

Always prefer to use a small amount of non-bleach detergent while washing backpacks. However, try to avoid using too much hot water. Cold or lukewarm water is the best for washing bags.  

Moreover, you should wash your bags with the gentle cycle of the washing machine. This is because the spin cycle can prove harmful to the safety of the backpack.

If the bag is bunched up during washing, stop the machine immediately, take the bag out, spread it to wash it thoroughly, and avoid the device from a load.

Hand washing tips 

If you prefer manual washing over machine washing, here are a few tips and tricks for washing your backpacks. If your bag possesses any attached ornamental objects, manual washing is pretty preferable for you.  Let’s take a look at the beneficial steps you should follow for handwashing canvas backpacks. 

  • Take a white cloth and dip it in warm water. It is safe to use white ones as other colors may dye the backpack.
  • Now wash the bag smoothly with this cloth. You can also dip the cloth into a non-bleaching detergent mixed with water to improve the cleanliness process.
  • Wring the cloth properly to avoid any extra water. Then wipe down the bag smoothly without touching the attached ornaments.
  • Yet, if your bag is quite simple, then you can follow the following method of washing.
  • Fill the washbasin with water. It should be up to six inches. 
  • Then use lukewarm water instead of hot water as this water is notorious for damaging the fabric’s colors.
  • Now add a small amount of non-bleaching detergent to the water.
  • If you don’t have any washing detergent, you can also use any body soap or dishwashing soap. However, the decided soap should not be too harsh for the fabrics.
  • Now start scrubbing the bag using a soft brush or a clean mat.
  • After this, drain the dirty dishwashing basin again with clean water. 
  • Repeat the same process. Wash the bag thoroughly. 
  • You can also use a tidy towel to absorb extra water to avoid heavy handling.

Finally, do not forget to add vinegar while rinsing the bag, as it will eliminate all traces of any soap or detergent.

How to get rid of the Backpack Smell? 

If you often keep food items and sweaty stuff in your backpacks, then leaky rotten food particles and sweaty things may cause severe odor. 

Backpacks’ smell is something quite annoying and frustrating. It not only irritates you but also can be a source of headaches for others. So to avoid these unwanted situations, here are a few points to keep in mind.

To get rid of dirty patches, use an enzyme cleaner. The enzyme cleaner can break down the leftover bacteria without harsh effects.

Further, plain white vinegar is eco-friendly and budget-friendly. So you may use its dilute solutions on smelly and dirty areas. Spray the solution with a spray bottle and let it stay in the sunlighting. The vinegar smell will fade away in the washing machine later on.

Make sure you don’t ignore the straps of the backpacks. They can also get dirty and discolored. As a result, the germs may be transferred to your skin and clothes. Therefore, also spray any diluted solution of vinegar, enzyme cleaner, or detergent on the straps.

Drying Strategies for backpacks

After washing your backpacks thoroughly, here are a few tips and tricks related to the drying of your bags.

  • Unzip all the zippers.
  • Outdoors is the best for drying purposes due to sunlight. Plus, enough breeze circulation is helpful for the drying process.
  • Hang your bags opposite the day carrying position.
  • Take the bag inside out.
  • Dry all other related objects, including straps, your attached pockets, and badges separately.

Indoor drying can keep the bags moist so you should prefer outdoor drying.

However, it is perfect not to start using your bag until it is thoroughly dried. This is because there may be wrinkles after washing and drying the bag completely. 

In such a situation, you don’t need to worry, rather, spray a little amount of water on the wrinkled areas and iron them. Yet, be extra careful while ironing them because if you hold the iron on a single spot for a long time, it can damage the fabric.

Bonus Tips to Clean a Canvas Backpack

Now that you have finally learned everything about washing and drying canvas backpacks, here are some tricks for preserving your bags.

  1. If your bag has any specific shape or design, stuff tissue paper on the sides and corners of your bags to maintain their bodies while they are brand new and are not even in use. You can also use white paper bodies for this purpose.
  2. When you don’t use your bags regularly, please keep them in a cotton cover instead of plastic to avoid dust accumulation.
  3. Plus, always try to keep them in well-ventilated places to avoid any humidity.
  4. You can also spray your brand-new bags with different solutions to prevent stains and maintain their colors.


While concluding the article, it might be said confidently that backpacks are the need of the time. Everyone uses them for their tasks. Even a single canvas backpack can serve multiple purposes for several people.

By keeping their importance in mind, their cleanliness is even more critical. All these tips and tricks mentioned above are pretty helpful for washing and cleaning canvas backpacks.

Hence, any regular backpack user can follow these instructions to keep their bags neat and clean. Interestingly the plus point is that you may get rid of the sweaty and smelly odor of backpacks by cleaning them thoroughly.

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