Can You Put A Backpack In The Dryer? [A Guide To Cleaning And Drying Your Backpack]

There are many different techniques for washing a backpack. You can wash your backpack in a washing machine inside a laundry bag to protect it, or you can hand wash it. However, drying your backpack in the dryer is not recommended as it may damage the bag. Instead, it would be best to air dry the backpack and avoid any direct heat source. You can hang the bag upside down so that any excess water sitting in the pockets will drain.

What Happens When You Put A Backpack In A Dryer?

If you have a backpack made to withstand the drier’s heat, you may choose to put it in the drier. However, some backpacks may get heat damage and shrink. If the backpack is made of plastic or nylon, drying it in a dryer can be fatal as it may even cause a fire. The dryer may also damage the zipper pulls.

A backpack should be air-dried. Leave every pocket open and hang it to dry under a shade or a place with adequate air circulation. Don’t dry the backpack under direct sunlight, as it will fade fast. If your bag can handle the dryer, you should remove it while it’s still a little damp and hang it to dry. 

Useful DIY (Do It Youself) Hacks To Clean Your Backpack

Useful DIY Hacks To Clean Your Backpack

1. If you need to wash your backpack, you must learn how to do it right. To wash in the washing machine, empty the pockets and remove every essential item. If the bag has any removable attachments, such as pockets, you can also remove them and wash them separately.

2. Once you empty the pockets, remove the dust and debris from the compartments. You can use a mini handheld vacuum cleaner to remove the dust. A hose attachment will also work well. Another option is to take your backpack outside, turn it inside out then shake it thoroughly.

3. Before washing your backpack, read the care instructions carefully. The instructions are written on a tag. You can machine wash nylon and canvas backpacks, although you should first check the label. For instance, leather material cannot be machine washed. Therefore, if you have a leather backpack, you will need to spot clean it rather than using the washing machine. If your backpack is not machine washable, you can spot clean it. 

4. Do spot cleaning with a cloth or a soft brush. You can apply a non-bleach agent or a stain remover if there is a stain. Let the solution soak the stain for 30 minutes and scrub gently. Rinse off the detergent with cold water, wipe with a clean cloth, and continue with your machine-washing instructions.

Drying A Backpack

As mentioned earlier, you should avoid using a dryer to dry your backpack. Just hang it upside down and inside out in a well-ventilated area with every compartment opened to allow it to dry.

Useful Tips When Washing And Drying Your Backpack

1. It is important to adopt the habit of regularly washing your backpack using a wiper to prevent it from getting too dirty and having stains. Wiping it regularly will help you avoid harsh chemicals that may damage the bag.

2. You can use a sanitizer to clean the backpack’s inside and get rid of bad odor.

3. If the backpack has some stubborn stains, a strong detergent will help remove the stains, but you should start with a small portion to check if it will work and if it is appropriate for the material.

4. Avoid cleaning the mech pockets of your bag with a brush as it may scratch them or rip the pockets off. Clean the pockets with any soft material that you have.

5. Sometimes, the straps and loops may be caught in a washing machine when washing the backpack. You can prevent this by packing the bag in a case before cleaning. You can also turn it inside out to avoid the chances of getting caught in the machine.

6. Always run a gentle cycle when washing the bag.

7. Not every backpack is suitable for machine washing. Always check the tag before throwing it in a machine.

8. After washing your bag, don’t dry it in a dryer as it will get damaged.

9. Ensure that the inside of your backpack is dry before putting the essentials inside. Keeping your backpack moist will only increase its possibility of getting mold.

Which Fabrics Shrink In A Dryer?

Some fabrics shrink a lot when washed. Cotton shrinks a lot during the laundry process. Therefore, you need to be careful when drying anything made of cotton, including a backpack. Wool also experiences shrinkage when machine washed. Silk is another luxurious material that’s very delicate and easily shrinks or gets damaged if washed without proper care.

How To Remove Backpack Smells

If something makes your backpack smell like a leaky sports drink, your backpack may need some extra love. Smells such as mildew, sweat, and old food can make it hard for you to use the backpack daily. 

To take care of the bag, use an enzyme cleaner to treat all dirty patches. Enzymes help break down the bacteria that sweat and oil left on the backpack without harsh effects. The cleaning agent you use should be environmentally friendly, for instance, vinegar and water. 

Spray the vinegar solution on the bag using a spray bottle and allow it to sit until it dries off. The lingering vinegar smell will disappear after you wash the bag in a machine.

Remember to clean the straps of the backpack as they also get dirty and discolored, which may transfer residue to the clothes and skin. Spray the straps with the vinegar solution or any other gentle disinfectant.


Although most bags are sturdy, they sometimes get stains and dirt after usage. Therefore, you need to add some little care and maintenance to prevent damage. Avoid putting it in a drier as it could damage the backpack. Air drying is the best method of drying your backpack.


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