The Secret Science Of Backpack Cleaning

student-with-backpack

School’s in session and backpacks are in motion. Classroom floors, school bus grime, forgotten gym clothes and leftover lunches can take a toll on your student’s backpack. With a little TLC, you can keep their backpack looking as good as the first day of school.

Backpacks are built to last. But all backpacks are not created equal. Most can be washed in a regular washing machine, but others need to be hand-washed depending on their material. So check the care label for instructions that are specific to your bag. You’ll usually find the care tag located inside the backpack along a side seam. If it doesn’t have a care label, test a small area of the fabric to see how it reacts to the cleaning agents you want to use.

If the backpack has waterproofing, too much washing and detergent can lessen the pack’s ability to repel or resist water. If this occurs, there are waterproofing sprays that can be used to replenish lost coating. Just be sure the backpack is clean and completely dry before using.

If the backpack says that it should not be washed, spot clean using the 1 to 1 detergent/water solution trying not to over-saturate the fabric. “Rinse” using a clean white cloth dipped in plain water. Blot until no detergent or soil is transferred. Air dry.

1. Clear It Out.

Remove all items from the backpack. Leave no zipper or pocket behind. Turn the backpack inside out and use a small vacuum to clean the hard to reach interior corners. Leave the pockets unzipped and turn it right side out.

2. Pretreat Stains.

Use a pre-treatment stain remover to target dirty spots, but avoid bleach. Use a soft brush or old toothbrush to scrub the stain, and let the treatment sit for 15-30 minutes.

3. Prep For Wash.

Use a damp rag to lightly wipe down the outside of your bag. Remove
detachable pockets and straps from the backpack, and clean separately. Cut away any loose threads or fibers close to the zipping areas.

4. Mesh & Machine It.

Insert into mesh bag to protect zippers and straps from snagging during the wash cycle. Wash on the normal cycle, selecting warm water to keep colors from bleeding. Be sure to use a gentle detergent that is free of dyes, fragrances, and chemicals that may irritate the skin.

5. Wring, Roll & Air Dry.

Promptly remove the backpack from the washing machine. Wring out and roll in large body towel to absorb excess water. Hang backpack upside down, with the pockets unzipped for ventilation while it dries.


Don’t Be Afraid To Ask For Help

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