Clean & Deodorize Backpacks & Lunchboxes

How To Clean Backpacks

Not all backpacks are equal. Usually, they make them with similar materials, but you should check the fabric care label to determine the proper way to clean the bag. Materials have different care requirements, so be sure to pay attention to the label to avoid damaging the bag.

Pre-treat any stains ahead of time with your stain remover of choice, making sure you don’t use anything with bleach. You can make your own homemade version, or you can use any one that you like. For stains and gum, soak the bag for an hour or two in OxiClean® before washing.

Most care tags should say machine washable, in which case you can wash in cold water on a gentle cycle, using gentle detergent. If there are jewels or decals on the bag, they may come off in the wash, so you might want to consider hand washing if that is the case. Further, if there are a bunch of straps dangling off the bag, you can either remove them and wash by hand, or place the backpack in a laundry bag or pillow case to keep the straps at bay.

If you can’t machine wash the schoolbag, you can hand wash it in a basin or bathtub by using warm water and dish liquid or mild laundry detergent and clean gently with a scrub brush, which will help clean the tough material and get stains out. If the material is delicate, try using a sponge instead.

Once washed, hang the backpack to dry. Avoid placing in the dryer, only because dryer heat can ruin certain fabrics. On that note, if you can hang the bag to dry in the sun, bonus points for extra deodorizing!

How to Clean a Lunch Bag or Lunch Box

Usually, lunch bags have foamy inserts between the exterior and interior, and a gentle plastic lining. The exterior is a similar material to that of a backpack, so fairly durable and easy to clean.

Apply the same cleaning method here as you would for the backpack; check the care tag and see if it can be machine washed. Most good quality bags can. Use cold water and gentle detergent, and wash on a gentle cycle. To hand wash the bag, use the same mixture of dish liquid and warm water, and a soft sponge or cloth to wipe clean. Set your lunch bag to hang dry, again it’s best to avoid the dryer.

If you’ve got a stain in the plastic lining, you can create a paste of baking soda and water to remove it, simply apply with the sponge and wipe off, then rinse well.

To clean a lunch box, simply wash using a sponge and warm, soapy water. Leave upside down to air dry.

To deodorize a smelly lunch bag or box, simply leaving baking soda in it overnight, then dump r vacuum out and wipe clean in the morning.

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