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school backpack in the washer

Can You Clean a School Backpack in the Washer?

The new school year is fast approaching.  The team at Aviv Service Today is often asked, “Can you put a school backpack in the washer?” You can wash a backpack in a washing machine… if you do it the right way.

Before you get started, check the care tag to make sure your backpack is washable. Some fabrics, like leather or suede, require special care.

If no tag is available but you are confident the fabric is washable, then the rest is a breeze!

Clean a School Backpack in the Washer

Learn how to wash a backpack in the washer by following these simple steps.

Step #1 – Empty the Backpack

Never put a school backpack in the washer without checking all the pockets carefully. Coins, pens, hairpins, and other debris like to lurk in the small crevices inside pockets and seams. These items can get lodged in your washing machine which causes problems later.

Empty the backpack completely and place any found items in a basket to sort through later.

Step #2 – Detach Removable Pieces

Can you wash a backpack in a washing machine if it has removable parts? Yep! Just remove any detachable pieces such as straps, frame stays, or accessories.

If these items require washing, determine if they should go into the washer or if they need to be hand-cared for. For example, suede straps usually require special care whereas standard nylon straps can go in the washer.

Step #3 – Pre-Treat Stains & Soak

Inspect the backpack and detached parts. Pre-treat stains using detergent and a toothbrush dipped in water. Look inside the backpack for evidence of stuck-on residue and treat those too with a good scrubbing.

Step #4 – Place All Washable Items in Mesh Laundry Bags

Mesh laundry bags are extremely versatile and protect fabrics during the wash cycle. Additionally, laundry bags protect your washer from receiving damage due to zippers, buckles, and other embellishments banging around in the washer drum. If you have a top load washer, the bag will help keep the backpack from becoming entangled in the agitator.

Place the backpack in a large mesh laundry bag. Place other washable parts in a separate laundry bag. The bags can be washed in the same load together.

how to wash a backpack in the washer
Image from Amazon

Step #5 – Adjust Wash Cycle Settings

Set the wash cycle settings according to your backpack’s care tag instructions. If no care tag is present, set to warm water and use the gentle wash cycle. If possible, choose the extra rinse option to ensure all leftover grime and detergent residue is completely rinsed out.

Step #6 – Wash & Disinfect Backpack

Disinfecting a backpack may only be necessary for an occasional deep clean. However, if the backpack has been used to carry shoes, wet or sweaty clothes, or food and drinks, it likely contains bacteria, germs, and/or fungus that can spread to other items it touches. If this is the case, you should disinfect the school backpack in the washer.

The easiest way to disinfect a backpack is to add a pine oil disinfectant to the wash water. PineSol and Lysol Pine Action are examples of brands that contain the minimum required 80% pine oil to be effective. Follow product label recommendations for the correct amount to add to the machine when you wash the backpack.

Add your favorite detergent and the laundry bags to the washer. Run through a full wash and rinse cycle.

can you wash a backpack in a washing machine
Image from PineSol

Step #7 – Airdry

Never put a backpack in the dryer! After cleaning a school backpack in the washer, wipe the seams, crevices, and pockets with a dry towel. Then open it up and let it air dry completely.

If your washing machine is not up for the challenge, then call your local washer repair technician for service so you can finish the job!