How to Clean and Deodorize a Backpack

How to Clean and Deodorize a Backpack

How to Clean and Remove Odors from a Backpack

Your backpack can carry your whole life in it. Whether you use a backpack on your daily commute or a hiking back for outdoor adventures, backpacks can end up carrying a lot of musty odors. Even your kid’s backpack can come home with sweaty, funky smells from school.

Thankfully, it’s easy to clean and refresh your pack without any hassle. Backpacks tend to get smelly when moisture and bacteria accumulate over time inside its interior. So whether a backpack is transporting your kid’s lunch box, your sweaty gym clothes, water bottle, or camping gear, the end result is still the same: unpleasant, lingering odors that can last days or weeks if you don’t fight the funk now.

Ready to learn how to get smell out of backpack? Follow the simple instructions in this guide and use Fresh Wave odor eliminating products – you’ll have a refreshed, deodorized bag in no time. Let’s get started on how to clean a backpack.

How to Clean a Backpack

Step 1: Empty Your Backpack and Vacuum Any Dust or Debris

To begin, empty your backpack. Take out everything, including items, pockets, and compartments inside. Give it a thorough shake to free any dirt or dust that accumulated over time. Afterward, use a vacuum cleaner for the last step to remove any remaining debris particles – especially if your bag has been stored away for quite some time now.  

Step 2: Spot Clean Any Stains

If your backpack has any visible stains, you’ll want to spot-clean them using a damp cloth and some mild dish soap. Don’t scrub too hard; blot the stain gently until it’s gone.  

Step 3: Soak Backpack in Cleaning Solution

Should your backpack be particularly grimy, you may need a more robust cleaning solution. Ensure to choose one suitable for the material your backpack is made of. Once the solution is ready, submerge the gear and let it soak for 10-15 minutes. After this, remove the bag from the solution and rinse it with clean water.  

Step 4: Rinse and Let Dry

Finally, it’s time to rinse the backpack with fresh water. This will help eliminate any leftover cleaning solution and dirt not removed during the previous steps. Then, hang your newly-cleaned pack in a place with plenty of airflow to dry completely before you store away your essentials.  

Fresh Wave’s Odor Eliminating Travel Spray is perfect for getting rid of any lingering odors. It’s made with 100% natural ingredients, so you can use it without worrying about harsh chemicals or other unpleasant scents.   

How to Clean Certain Backpack Materials

Depending on your backpack’s material, you may need to use different cleaning methods. Here are some tips for tackling each type of fabric:  


When dealing with a nylon backpack, it’s best to stick with mild soap and lukewarm water. Avoid scrubbing too hard, as this can damage the material. Instead, use a soft cloth to blot away any stains. Once done, rinse the soapy residue thoroughly and hang it in a well-ventilated area to dry.  


If your backpack is made from canvas, you’ll want to avoid using too much water when cleaning it. This can cause the material to shrink or warp. Instead, use a damp cloth with mild soap and spot-clean any visible stains.  

To tackle particularly tough stains, soak the fabric in a mixture of lukewarm water and laundry detergent for 5-10 minutes before delicately scrubbing with a soft brush. When done, lay the backpack on an even surface until thoroughly dried.  


Special care is needed when cleaning a leather backpack. Start by wiping the material gently with a damp cloth and some mild soap, then use a soft brush to remove any tough dirt or stains that may be present. When finished, let the backpack dry in an open space away from direct sunlight. Avoid using too much water, which can cause the leather to crack or shrink.  


Keeping your mesh backpack clean is a breeze. Start by applying lukewarm water fused with mild detergent onto the fabric, and then gently brush away any dirt or debris that may be present. And when you’re done, give it some time to air dry before tucking it away.  

As you can see, no matter the material of your backpack, you should always take special care when cleaning it. For an added layer of protection and freshness, try using Fresh Wave’s Odor Removing Travel Spray to eliminate any lingering odors or bacteria. This product is made with natural ingredients and will provide a gentle scent and help keep your backpack odor-free.  

Tips to Prevent Your Backpack From Smelling

When it comes to keeping your backpack smelling fresh, prevention is key. Here are some tips to follow:  

  • Ensure you clean your backpack regularly using the steps we outlined above.  
  • Always store damp items (like bathing suits or wet shoes) in a separate bag inside your backpack, and empty them as soon as possible.  
  • Store your snacks and meals in airtight containers.  
  • Keep a small pack of Fresh Wave’s Odor Removing Travel Sprays handy for on-the-go odors, or put a Fresh Wave’s Odor Removing Gel, 7 oz., into your backpack to keep it smelling fresh.  

Following these tips can help prevent odors from building up in the first place. So, the next time you prepare for a trip, ensure your backpack is cleaned and odor-free with Fresh Wave’s safe and natural products.  

How Fresh Wave Can Help Eliminate Backpack Odors

From canvas to leather and mesh, maintaining your backpack is essential for optimal freshness. The steps outlined above will guarantee that your bag endures the test of time in its best condition. By tending to it sufficiently, you’ll ensure that your backpack looks just as good years later than when you first purchased it.  

For added protection against odors and bacteria, Fresh Wave’s natural products are always there to help. Now you should be ready to take on any adventures with an odor-free backpack. Happy packing!