Cleaning your backpack
Cleaning your backpack
Extend the lifespan of your backpack with the right care
Your backpack is your trusty companion on so many adventures. But with regular care and cleaning you can make sure that it lasts for as long as possible. So here are some practical tips on washing, drying, waterproofing and storing your backpack.
When is it time to wash your backpack?
Although backpacks are not worn against the skin like our clothes, over time and on longer hikes they will get dirty. If your pack is very dirty or sweaty, then washing it is essential. But if it’s only lightly soiled, or the dirt is superficial, like specks of mud or a dusting of pollen, then you can just spot clean it using a damp cloth. Note: It’s easier to remove dirt when it’s still fresh, straight after your hike.
Wash your backpack gently and remove any dirt
If you’ve been out hiking lots over the summer months, then it’s normal for your backpack to be dirty and sweat stained. If you want to remove dirt from your deuter backpack, there are a few things you should bear in mind: You should never wash a backpack in a washing machine. That’s because the abrasion places stress on the material (and PU coating) and can damage it in the long run. Also, there is often residue left behind from detergents, which can lead to skin irritation if you have sensitive skin. The chemical reaction that occurs between sweat, detergent residue and UV rays also speeds up the decomposition of materials.
In the washing machine? Tips on how to clean your backpack
Here’s how to wash your pack gently: Depending on the size, submerge it in a bucket or bathtub of water and wash with pH-neutral soap or shower gel. Stubborn dirt can be removed with a brush. Salt deposits on the back system can be removed by squeezing soap and lots of water through the padding by hand, over and over. Then leave to dry in a well-ventilated, dry place.
- Empty your backpack completely after each use. Get rid of any dirt with a brush and soapy water.
- Never machine-wash your backpack or put it in the dryer, as this will damage the PU coating.
- Backpack materials should not be ironed.
- Always make sure any zippers are dirt free.
Dry your backpack thoroughly and store it correctly
Drying your backpack properly is not just important after you’ve washed it, but after a long day out too. Because it will have absorbed sweat and might have even been through rain showers. And so, it’s important to air it properly.
- Open all the zippers and place your pack in a dry place or hang it up, upside down.
- Avoid placing it in direct sunlight or near a heat source, like an electric heater or open fire.
- Store your backpack in a dry place like a cupboard — avoiding damp basements — and with all buckles and straps fastened.
Do I have to reproof my backpack after washing?
A backpack is easily affected by moisture. Follow our tips for waterproofing to make sure your belongings stay dry. Your backpack fabric should remain waterproof for the first few years. Sustained downpours will however result in some moisture seeping through the zippers and seams. On alpine tours, or when climbing or ski touring, it’s best to pack the contents inside waterproof bags/dry bags inside the pack to prevent them from getting wet. The advantage of this, as opposed to a rain cover, is that all the straps remain accessible e.g. for attaching an ice axe, trekking poles or snowshoes. For hiking and trekking backpacks it’s best to use a rain cover.
But sometimes, especially after a thorough wash, your backpack may need reproofing. It’s easy to check if this is the case, by simply dropping a few water droplets onto the fabric of your backpack. If it doesn’t bead up, and penetrates the fabric, then you should waterproof your backpack. For older models, applying waterproofing agents only helps over a shorter period of time. Beware that waterproofing agents (spray or wash-in) can penetrate into the shoulder strap fabric and cause skin irritation.