How to Clean a Hiking Backpack; Cleaning your hiking backpack might seem like an easy thing to do, but if you’re not careful, you could ruin your brand new pack in the process of giving it the spring cleaning it needs. In order to clean your hiking backpack without ruining it, follow these four steps carefully and you’ll be ready to hit the trails again in no time.
Step 1: Eliminate odor
If your backpack smells bad, it’s probably because it’s holding onto sweat, dirt, and bacteria. To get rid of the odor, you’ll need to clean it with a solution that will eliminate the bacteria. A 50/50 mixture of water and vinegar is a good option. Just be sure to spot test on an inconspicuous area first, as vinegar can sometimes damage nylon.
Step 2: Degrease the Stains
Stains from foods or grease can be some of the most difficult to remove from fabric. For this reason, you’ll want to degrease the stain as best as possible before proceeding with any other cleaning method.
To do so, you’ll need a mixture of 3 tablespoons white vinegar and 1 tablespoon dish soap.
Stir the mixture together in a container and then scrub it onto the dirty area with an old toothbrush. Rinse well and repeat if necessary until all traces of grease are gone.
For extreme cases where grease stains cannot be removed by degreasing, laundry detergent mixed with water may be used on small areas at a time.
Step 3: Spot Clean with Vinegar
Spot cleaning with vinegar is an effective way to clean your backpack without ruining it. You’ll need: 1 cup of water, 1/2 cup of white vinegar, and a clean cloth. Simply mix the water and vinegar together and use the cloth to scrub away any dirt or stains on your backpack. Rinse the backpack with clean water when you’re finished and allow it to air dry.
Step 4: Dry in the Sun
Once you’ve given your backpack a good wash, it’s time to dry it in the sun. Hang your backpack from a clothesline or tree branch, and let it air out for a few hours. The sun will help kill any lingering bacteria, and the fresh air will help dry out the fabric. Just be sure to keep an eye on your backpack, as the sun can cause fading and damage if it’s left out for too long.
Step 5: Repair Zippers, Pockets, and Straps
5. Zippers, pockets, and straps can all take a beating during a hike. So before you store your backpack away, make sure to inspect and repair any damage. Take care of loose ends on the zipper so they don’t catch on anything or snag. Double-check pockets for holes or tears that could lead to leaks or spills while it’s in storage. And look over the straps for any fraying that could weaken them in storage or while they’re being used again next season.
Once you’ve scrubbed away all the dirt and grime, rinse your backpack thoroughly with clean water. Hang it up to dry in a cool, well-ventilated area out of direct sunlight. Inspect all the straps and buckles, and if any are damaged, replace them before your next hike. Finally, give your backpack a good once-over to make sure you didn’t miss any spots.