How To Wash A School Bag? (ULTIMATE GUIDE)

We all know the importance of keeping school bags clean.

But with all the other things on our to-do list, we often forget about the school bags.

This is a complete guide to washing school bags.

In this in-depth guide you’ll learn:

  • Useful tips to keep school bags clean and germ-free all year long
  • Plan Washing Schedules
  • Lots more

What are the school bags made up of?

Considering the fact, that these bags are meant to be used by kids or simply for schooling, they are designed using durable materials. 

Most school bags are made of sturdy fabric, such as canvas or nylon. 

The lining is usually made of a lighter-weight fabric, such as polyester. Whereas, the straps are usually made of nylon or some other strong material.

These are synthetic materials hence they are durable and easy to clean. However, some natural fibers like cotton can be used for school bags as well.

Apart from being manufactured using durable materials, they are available in several types. 

Below are some of the common types of school bags.

What are the different types of school bags?

School bags are mostly designed as messenger bags, backpacks, and duffle bags. Each type has its own way to offer comfort and has a few pros and cons. 

Types of school bags

Messenger bags

Although they are great for carrying a lot of stuff, at times it may be uncomfortable to wear them. Especially if you have to carry these bags for a longer period of time. 


These are more comfortable to wear and the weight carrying capacity is better than most bags.

Duffle bags

These bags are the most versatile option as they can be carried in multiple ways.

You can carry them as a backpack or simply as a shoulder bag.

Moreover, they’re roomy enough to fit almost everything that you may need.

Trolley bags

These are other convenient options to reduce the burden on your kid’s shoulders.

These types of bags easily slide on wheels.

trolley bags

It’s important that you choose the right type of school bag for your child depending on the load and age of your child.

So, if you need to carry a lot of stuff, you can go for a messenger or a duffle bag.

Likewise, if you want something that’s more comfortable to wear, go for a backpack.

And for a versatile option, duffle bags can become an ideal choice.

Why do you wash a school bag?

The main reason to wash a school bag is to prevent the spread of germs and to keep them clean.

Why do you wash a school bag

A dirty school bag can become a breeding ground for bacteria, which can then be easily transferred to other surfaces or people around.

Furthermore, an unclean bag for a long time may suffer from premature wear-outs.

How do they get dirty?

It is quite common for a school bag to attract dirt and stains.

They tend to get messy from the contents inside the bags such as pens, pencils, markers, or other materials that can leak.

Another common reason is that you tend to put your bag down on the ground a lot. This can especially be an issue if you live in an area with a lot of dust or pollen.

Moreover, if you use your school bag to carry any food or drinks, they can spill and leave stains on them.

How often should you wash a school bag?

While it may not seem like something that needs to be done on a regular basis, it is important to clean a school backpack as and when needed to prevent the spread of germs.

The thought of washing the school bags usually arises when the school year comes to an end.

You might wonder how often you should wash your child’s school backpack.

Here are a few tips to figure out the ideal frequency OR ideal time to wash a school bag.

Beginning and ending of the School year

This is a good time to deep clean your child’s backpack.

Wash it inside and out with soap and water to remove any built-up dirt and grime.

Every few months

It is always a good idea to wash a school backpack at least once every three months.

This will help keep it fresh and free of any bacteria that could cause illness.

wash school bags frequently

During leaves

Cleaning the school bags on leaves or on festive vacations can be a great idea.

Likewise, if your child has been home sick from school, you can wash their backpack before they resume. 

By washing them regularly you can help keep your child’s backpack clean and free of germs and bacteria.

How to Wash a School Bag?

Washing a school bag by hand is the preferred method as they need to be cleaned well inside out.

Hence if they start to look a little grungy, then probably it’s time to give them a good cleaning.

For trolley school bags you should detach the trolleys before washing them. This can be simply done with the help of a screwdriver or through a wrench if they are fixed using bolts.

Instructions to Pre-wash

For stubborn stains, you may have to pre-treat the bag before washing.

Here’s how you can pre-treat the stains on the school bags.

Step 1: Empty the School Bag

Start by emptying out your school bag and do not miss to inspect the tiny pockets or sections.

Throw away any trash and set aside any loose items such as papers or notebooks.

empty the school bag

Step 2: Use Stain Remover

Make use of a stain remover liquid or you may simply use dishwasher liquid soap.

Apply a few drops to the stains and spread them using a soft brush.

Pour some drops of water and start scrubbing the stained surface gently until the stains soften or disappears.

Step 3: Add a few drops of water

Add a few drops of water to all the stained areas and let it settle for around 5 to 10 minutes.

For excess, stains fill a basin or bucket with slightly hot water and add regular detergent.

Next, Place and submerge the school bag in solution and leave it for around 15 to 20 minutes.

Step 4: Rinse the bag

Rinse the bag and the stained area with clean water. 

Now they are ready for a deep washing process.

Instructions to Hand Wash School Bags

Step 1: Fill the Sink OR Wash Tub with water

Fill a sink or basin with clean water and add your regular detergent. Add a few drops of disinfectant to the solution and mix them well.

Step 2: Submerge your school bag

Submerge your school bag in soapy water and let it soak for a few minutes.

Step 3: Scrub the dirt

Use a soft brush or cloth to scrub away any dirt or stains. Pay special attention to areas that are prone to getting dirty, such as the handles and straps.

Step 4: Rinse the bag

Replace the dirty water in the sink with clean water.

And then, add a couple of drops of mild disinfectant and rinse your school bag well.

Step 5: Dry the bag

Make use of soft and dry towels and insert them into the larger sections of the bag. Doing this will soak excess water and speed up the drying time. Next, Hang it up to dry in a shady spot out of direct sunlight. 

Once your school bag is clean and completely dry, be sure to check the inside of the bag before you restock it with everything you need.

Instructions to Machine Wash School Bags

instructions to machine wash school bag

Step 1: Check the Care Label

The first step is to check the care label on your school bag. If it doesn’t have one, then identify if the fabric is suitable for washing as most school bags are made of durable fabrics.

Step 2: Put the bag in the washer

Next, put the bag in the washing machine.

If the bag is made of delicate fabric, use a mesh laundry bag.

Step 3: Pour the laundry detergent into the detergent dispenser.

Add some laundry detergent to the machine. For extra cleaning power, you could also add a stain remover or fabric enhancer depending on the bag’s fabric.

Step 4: Set the right wash cycle.

Set the washer to a gentle or a delicate cycle.

If you want to use the normal cycle then simply put the bag in a pillowcase or a mesh laundry bag. 

Wash the bag on a selected cycle, depending on what the care label says. If your school bag is extremely dirty, you may want to wash it on a Pre-wash cycle first.

Note – Even if your school bag is made out of heavy cotton or denim, do not use a heavy wash cycle. Instead, use a gentle cycle.

Step 5: Check if it’s cleaned properly

Once the cycle has finished, remove the school bag from the machine and check if all the dirt and stains have been removed. If not, you may need to wash it again on a different cycle.

Step 6: Dry the Schoolbag

Hang the school bag up to dry, or put it in a pillow cover to use a tumble dryer on a delicate and low heat setting. Avoid putting it in direct sunlight, as this can cause the fabric to fade.

Helpful Tips for Cleaning School Bags

  • If your school bag is made of canvas or another fabric, you can spot clean it with a damp cloth. You can also use a lint roller to remove any dirt or debris from the fabric.
  • If your school bag has any pockets, make sure to empty them out and clean them as well.
  • Always use a mild detergent and lukewarm water. Excess hot water can cause some materials to shrink or fade.
  • Avoid putting any metal parts in the washing machine, as they damage the washer. Instead, wash these by hand using soapy water.
  • Make use of tiffin or lunchbox covers or small bags before you place them in the school bags.

School Bag Drying tips

Allow the bag to air dry completely before using it again. 

Hang them for drying safely so that the straps and handles do not stretch and lose their shape.

You can simply lay them flat on a towel or surface where they can air out and dry evenly. 

If your school bag is made of canvas or another fabric that is prone to mildew, be sure to give it a thorough airing before storing it away.

This helps to prevent any musty smells from developing over time.

Final Thoughts

Washing your school bags in a proper way will help to prolong their life and keep it looking new for longer.

Regularly cleaning and disinfecting the school bags also helps to prevent the spread of germs and bacteria.

With all that said, it’s best to hand wash the school bags if you can, it does not take much time and also gives you more control in the washing process.

Frequently Asked Questions

How can I prevent my child’s school bag from becoming smelly?

Make sure to empty the bag out at the end of each day and allow it to air out overnight. This will help to prevent any odors from building up inside the bag. Do not place lunch or snack boxes directly in any compartment of the bag. Instead, put them into tiffin bags before placing them in school bags. If they are smelly then you can place a small container of baking soda inside the bag overnight to absorb any moisture and odor.

Is there a specific cleaner for school bags?

Using a specific cleaning solution depends on the type of fabric the bags are made of. You may refer to the care label of the bag and accordingly use detergent. If you are unsure about anything then simply use mild detergent suitable for delicate fabrics.

How do I clean a school bag made out of leather?

To clean a school bag made out of leather you will need to be very cautious. Gently wipe the leather surface with a damp cloth and use a leather cleaner or conditioner to protect the material and maintain its shape. Make sure to avoid wetting the leather surface as this can lead to damage to the surface.

Why should I wash my kid’s school bag?

It is always important to wash your child’s school bag on a regular basis. Doing this will prevent the spread of germs and bacteria. A dirty school bag can harbor all sorts of bad microbes which can cause illness, so it’s best to keep it clean.

Manish Singh is an expert in electrical engineering with a Diploma in the field. With over 12 years of experience, he specializes in repairing music systems, washing machines, dryers, and other laundry-related appliances. His in-depth knowledge in electrical repairs and decent knowledge about garment care makes him a trusted authority in the field of appliance repair and laundry related topics. If you have any questions or need assistance with your appliances, you can reach out to Manish through email: manish.singh (at)