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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?

While backpacks aren't worn directly against the skin like clothing, extended use and lengthy hikes can lead to dirt accumulation. If your backpack is heavily soiled or sweaty, washing becomes necessary. However, for light soiling or superficial dirt like mud specks or pollen, spot cleaning with a damp cloth suffices.

Note: Dirt is easier to remove when addressed promptly, ideally right after your hike.

Wash your backpack gently and remove any dirt

If you’ve been out enjoying summer hikes, it's common for your deuter backpack to accumulate dirt and sweat stains. However, it's essential to take proper care when cleaning it. Avoid washing your backpack in a washing machine, as the abrasion can stress the material and PU coating, leading to long-term damage. Additionally, detergent residue left behind may cause skin irritation, particularly for those with sensitive skin. The combination of sweat, detergent residue, and UV rays can also accelerate material decomposition.


Here's the gentlest way to clean your backpack: Depending on size, submerge it in a bowl or bathtub filled with water and cleanse using a pH-neutral soap or shower gel. A brush can effectively dislodge any dirt on the backpack. For salt stains on the straps, gently squeeze them out several times using soap and ample water. Ensure the backpack is thoroughly dried afterward and stored in a dry, well-ventilated area.

Please note, our backpack frames and support systems are not meant to be disassembled for cleaning. Based on our experience, attempting to remove and reinstall these components can lead to damage that may not be repairable.

After hike storage tips for your backpack

After completing your hike, ensure your backpack remains in optimal condition for future adventures by following these essential care steps:

  1. Empty the backpack completely after hiking
  2. Use a brush and soapy water (pH neutral) to remove any dirt or debris from the exterior
  3. Avoid machine-washing, drying, or ironing the backpack to prevent damage
  4. Ensure zippers are clean and free from dirt to maintain functionality
  5. Store the backpack in a dry, well-ventilated area to prevent mold and mildew growth
  6. Consider hanging it or laying it flat for storage

Incorporating these simple post-hike storage practices can extend the lifespan of your backpack, better relying on its durability and performance throughout your outdoor endeavors.

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.

  1. Open all the zippers and place your pack in a dry place or hang it up, upside down.
  2. Avoid placing it in direct sunlight or near a heat source, like an electric heater or open fire.
  3. Store your backpack in a dry place like a cupboard — avoiding damp basements — and with all buckles and straps fastened.

Does the DWR coating on the backpack need to be re-applied?

For the first few years, the material of the backpack remains sufficiently watertight. However, following long exposure to rain, water penetrates through the zips and seams. For mountain trekking, climbing and ski tours, watertight packsacks can be put inside the backpack to protect its contents from getting wet. The advantage: all attachment loops for carrying equipment, e.g. ice picks, skis, poles or snowshoes, are easily accessible. A rain cover is used for hiking and trekking backpacks. For older models, re-applying only helps over a short period of time. Applications (spray and bath impregnations) penetrate into the base layer and can cause skin irritation.

Here is a small selection of our backpacks:

Trail Running Vest: Care instructions

To ensure you enjoy your deuter trail running vest for as long as possible, follow these care instructions:

  • Rinse the flasks or your hydration bladder thoroughly before use. Then you can start your first run directly.
  • After each tour, completely empty the vest, remove dirt, and rinse the hydration vessels. Hang or lay it out to dry in a shady, dry place. If your run was particularly sweaty, you can wash the vest by hand with lukewarm water and some functional detergent beforehand.
  • Is your vest starting to smell or have stubborn stains? Hand washing with functional detergent also helps. Let the trail running vest soak in lukewarm water and then rinse it gently.
  • Only rarely should you put your trail running vest in the washing machine, as the material and fasteners can be damaged over time. Use the hand wash program without spinning at low temperature (30 degrees) and always use a laundry bag. Fabric softener, bleach, and the dryer are off-limits!
  • Store your vest in a dry place away from sunlight and heat sources.

You can also find the most important care instructions for the trail running vest on the care label sewn into the vest.


If your backpack has gotten a lot of sweat or dirt, for example after a long hike, washing is unavoidable. If you only notice light, superficial dirt such as small splashes of dirt or pollen, it is sufficient to clean the backpack directly after the tour. All you need is a damp cloth. If there is more dirt, you may have to wash the rucksack properly.

If you want to remove dirt from your backpack, please note the following: Backpacks should not be washed in the washing machine. This puts abrasive stress on the material and the PU coating and will cause damage in the long run. Also, detergent residues often remain. For sensitive skin types, this can lead to skin irritation on the shoulder straps, for example. A chemical reaction of sweat, detergent residues and UV radiation also promotes faster degradation of the materials.

Especially in the first few years, our high-quality backpack material and the DWR impregnation still keep it sufficiently waterproof. However, sometimes - especially after a thorough wash - a re-impregnation may be necessary. You can easily test this by dripping a small amount of water on the upper material of your backpack: if the water does not bead up but penetrates, you should impregnate the backpack. In heavy rain, we also recommend a rain cover to prevent water from penetrating through the zips and seams.

Take a look at all our backpacks