Just imagine you want to go out for a hike this weekend, but when you see your backpack, it will ruin your whole plan if it’s not cleaned. But don’t worry, I will tell you how to clean your hiking backpack within no time.

Cleaning a hiking backpack can be a lot of hard work. It starts with getting rid of all the old food that has been left behind, then comes the process of dumping out dirt and debris from inside the pack. 

When you think it is clean enough, take some water and soap and scrub down every inch until you are satisfied with the result. If the backpack is extra dirty, it might be a good idea to pull out the cloth lining and wash it.

When you clean off all the grimy messes, give your pack at least one day to dry before storing it away or putting anything back in. This ensures that mould or mildew doesn’t grow or rot any of the fabric.

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Things Required To Clean Your Backpack

  • Rope
  • Backpack Cover
  • Water and Soap or Cleaning Solution
  • Baking Soda (Optional)
  • Oven Rack (Optional)

Tips And Tricks On How To Clean A Hiking Backpacks

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  • The first step in cleaning a hiking backpack is to dump out all of the old bits and pieces that could be collected over time. These include wrappers, snack bags, water bottles, food boxes, candy bars and anything else you would have carried on your trip.
  • The next step is to take apart any zippers or clips so you can clean them properly and get rid of any leftover dirt. Once they are taken apart, you can wipe them clean with a wet cloth rag to remove anything that might still be stuck on.
  • Depending on how dirty the backpack is, it might require a few different cleaning solutions before being scrubbed down. Mix up lukewarm water water and soap (or a specialised cleaner) and scrub away any tough dirt patches. This usually takes care of the worst stains and will make the pack look fresh again.
  • Cleaning out the interior of a backpack usually requires you to take it apart completely so that you can get into all of the nooks and crannies where things might have been hiding. Be sure to take out the cloth lining and get it clean if any liquids leaked in.
  • Once you have thoroughly cleaned your backpack, allow it to dry overnight or for at least one day so that mould doesn’t start growing inside the material. Store it away once everything is completely dry so it can be used again when you are ready.

Why It's Necessary To Clean Your Backpack

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Keeping your backpack clean and in good condition will ensure that nothing is damaged or rots inside the material where you can’t see it. This ensures that everything stays safe and intact when you are carrying it around while hiking, backpacking or camping.

What Happens If Your Backpack is Not Clean

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If you do not keep your backpack clean, then it will begin to smell over time and get dirty spots that cannot be removed. The mould or mildew can start to eat away at the pack’s fabric, which can cause holes and rips while you are out in nature. Always remember to clean your backpack after every major trip so that it stays in good condition for longer.

Methods To Clean Backpack

How To Clean Backpack With Baking Soda

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Baking soda is a great way to remove odors from your backpack. You can either put some inside the pockets and interior backpack liners or sprinkle it into the outside of the pack. Leave it for a few hours, and then shake it out over a trash bin so that you don’t leave bits of baking soda everywhere.

How To Clean A Hiking Backpacks Without Baking Soda

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If you don’t have baking soda lying around, then a good substitute is just plain white vinegar. Pour it over the part of your backpack that smells and leave it for an hour or two before rinsing it out thoroughly. Once everything has dried, you should find that the smell has pretty much vanished entirely.

How To Wash A Backpack In A Washing Machine

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Backpacks are usually too big for a standard machine washing, but you can scrub the dirtiest parts with a soft brush to get rid of most of the stains. Please don’t do this for too long because it could cause damage to the zippers and interior pockets. 

Once you have done that, turn your backpack inside out and then pop it into a normal washing machine. Add some soap and run the cycle as you would with any other load of laundry.

Clean A Hiking Backpack With Vinegar

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Vinegar is great for cutting through odours, so it can be used to remove anything that makes a pack smell sour or musty. Make a solution by mixing a cup of white vinegar with ½ teaspoon of salt and add it to 3 cups of warm water. You can use this to the backpack or put the whole thing in for a thorough cleanse.

How To Clean A Backpack With Essential Oils

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Essential oils are a great way to get rid of stains on your backpack. Usually, this will take care of any dirt or mud that might have been caked onto the surface over time. Mix a few drops of tea tree oil with ½ cup of water and one teaspoon of dishwashing soap to make a powerful deep cleaning that can be used for tough stains.

How To Clean A Backpack With Rubbing Alcohol

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Rubbing alcohol may not be the most natural cleaner, but it’s a great way to get rid of stains and kill germs simultaneously. Mix about 1 cup of water with one tablespoon of rubbing alcohol and add a few drops of liquid soap for extra cleaning power. 

Once you’ve created the cleaner, spray it onto the pack and let it sit for 10 minutes before scrubbing any particularly dirty patches.

Clean A Hiking Backpack With Hydrogen Peroxide

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Hydrogen peroxide can be used to kill all of the germs that might grow inside your backpack over time which is undoubtedly a good thing.

If you are using it to clean your pack, it’s a good idea to dilute the hydrogen peroxide with some water to prevent any accidental damage. Again, spray or wipe this onto areas that need cleaning and let it sit for 10 minutes before wiping everything down.

Clean A Hiking Backpack With Ammonia

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Ammonia is great for cutting through grease, so it’s an excellent choice if your backpack has picked up any dirt or grime over time. Mix 1 part water with 3 parts ammonia and apply this mixture to the areas of the pack that need cleaning. Scrub these areas carefully to avoid damaging the fabric, and then rinse everything off with water.

Clean A Hiking Backpack With Toothpaste

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Toothpaste is great for getting stains out of fabric softener and upholstery, so it can be used to remove dirt or mud from your backpack. Mix enough toothpaste with water to create a thick paste and scrub this into the most stubborn areas of dirt. Then, rinse everything off with water to remove the paste and dry as normal.

How To Clean A Backpack With A Hand Washing

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This washing method is perfect for spot cleaning or when using a very gentle detergent residue, and it will also be the only method that you can use if your pack is not machine wash.

Fill up the sink with cold water and add a little bit of detergent to make suds. Then, soak the backpack in this mixture for about 10 minutes before rinsing everything out and hanging it up to dry.

Final Thoughts

Maintaining your gear will ensure that it continues to function backpack properly and is safe for you to use. Don’t forget this tip, and you’ll be good to go when the time comes.

Clean pack = Clean Mind.


How often should I clean my backpack?

It is a good idea to deep clean your pack out at least once every three months, if not more, depending on how much it is used. Regular maintenance will ensure that the dirt and grime don’t build up into something unmanageable or unsafe for you to use.

What can I use to clean my backpack?

There is a wide range of different cleaning solutions that you can choose from, depending on the type of fabric or material your pack is made out of. It is always best to follow the instructions listed on whatever product was used when it was purchased as well.

How do I dry my backpack?

To dry your pack, you have a few different options. You can either leave it out in the sun to air-dry or use an oven rack and place it on there upside down, so the water runs off of it instead of into the material itself. Doing either of these will ensure that mildew or mould doesn’t form in the pack where it can damage your gear.

How should I store my backpack?

 When you aren’t using your pack, it is essential to ensure that it is backpack completely dry where any moisture or water might have been leftover from cleaning. Be sure to keep it in a cool and dark area like a closet or a corner of your room where it won’t get damaged by direct sunlight or extreme temperatures.