How to Clean a Backpack With a Vacuum Cleaner

Backpacks are versatile and essential companions for students, travelers, hikers, and commuters alike. They carry our belongings, protect our valuables, and accompany us on various adventures. However, after countless journeys, our trusty backpacks can accumulate dirt, dust, and debris that may seem challenging to remove. Fear not! A vacuum cleaner is one effective and efficient way to restore your backpack’s cleanliness and freshness.

In this article, we will explore the step-by-step process of how to clean a backpack with a vacuum cleaner, ensuring that your cherished companion remains as good as new for your next adventure. Say goodbye to grime and hello to a spotless backpack.

Gathering Materials

Before you clean a backpack with a vacuum cleaner, it’s important to first gather all the necessary materials. Here’s a list of what you’ll need:

  1. A vacuum cleaner with attachments – Choose a vacuum cleaner that has a brush or upholstery tool attachment. This will help you effectively clean your backpack’s exterior and interior.
  2. Brush or upholstery tool – This attachment will be used to agitate the dirt and debris on the backpack’s surface, making it easier for the vacuum cleaner to pick up.
  3. Mild detergent or cleaner – You’ll need a gentle cleaning solution to spot clean any stubborn stains or spots on your backpack. Avoid using harsh chemicals that can damage the material of your backpack.
  4. Water – You’ll need water for rinsing off the detergent or cleaner during the spot-cleaning process.
  5. Clean cloth or towel – This will be used for spot cleaning and wiping away detergent or cleaner residue.

Preparing the Backpack

To prepare the backpack for cleaning, start by emptying it and removing all contents. Check for and remove any loose debris or dirt, such as food crumbs, papers, or small objects. 

Then, take the backpack outside or in a well-ventilated area and shake it out to remove loose dust and particles. This will help to loosen any dirt or debris trapped in the backpack.

Spot Cleaning

If there are any remaining stains or spots on the backpack, you can treat them with a mild detergent or cleaner. Apply the detergent or cleaner to a clean cloth or towel and gently scrub the affected areas. 

Avoid using excessive water, as it may saturate the backpack material and take longer to dry. Rinse the cloth or towel and wipe away the detergent or cleaner residue from the backpack. Make sure to remove all the detergent or cleaner residue to prevent it from damaging the backpack material.

Drying the Backpack

After cleaning, it’s important to allow the backpack to air dry in a well-ventilated area. Avoid drying it in direct sunlight or high heat, as it may cause the backpack material to fade or shrink. 

Hang the backpack or lay it flat on a clean surface, ensuring all areas are exposed to air. Check for any remaining dampness before storing or using the backpack again, as moisture can lead to mold and mildew growth.

Vacuuming the Exterior

Once your backpack is properly prepared, you can start vacuuming the exterior. Follow these steps:

  1. Attach the brush or upholstery tool to the vacuum cleaner – Depending on your vacuum cleaner, you may need to attach the brush or upholstery tool to the hose or wand. Make sure it’s securely attached.
  2. Adjust the vacuum cleaner to an appropriate setting for the backpack material – Different backpack materials may require different vacuum cleaner settings. For example, a fabric backpack may require a lower suction setting, while a leather backpack may require a higher setting. Refer to your backpack’s care instructions or the vacuum cleaner’s manual for guidance.
  3. Use the brush or upholstery tool to vacuum the exterior of the backpack thoroughly – Starting from the top of your backpack, use the brush or upholstery tool to vacuum the entire exterior surface, including seams, pockets, and straps. Pay special attention to areas that accumulate dirt, such as the bottom and corners.
  4. Remove any stubborn dirt or stains using gentle brushing or spot cleaning with a mild detergent or cleaner – If you come across any stubborn dirt or stains, gently brush them with the brush or upholstery tool. You can spot-clean the area with a mild detergent or cleaner if needed. Be sure to rinse off the detergent or cleaner residue with a clean cloth or towel.

Vacuuming the Interior

After vacuuming the exterior, it’s time to clean the interior of your backpack. Follow these steps:

  1. Empty and clean out all pockets and compartments – Take out all the pockets and compartments of your backpack and empty them. Use the brush or upholstery tool to vacuum the interior of these pockets and compartments, as well as the zippers and closures.
  2. Use the brush or upholstery tool to vacuum the interior of the backpack – Start from the top and work your way down using the brush or upholstery tool to vacuum the interior of your backpack. Pay extra attention to the bottom, corners, and edges where dirt and debris may accumulate. Also, make sure to vacuum areas that come in contact with your body, such as the shoulder straps and back padding.

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Final Touches

Once your backpack is dry, give it some final touches to ensure it’s clean and ready to use. Follow these steps:

  1. Inspect the backpack for any remaining dirt or debris – Inspect your backpack to ensure no remaining dirt or debris on the exterior or interior. If needed, use a brush or upholstery tool to do a final vacuuming.
  2. Reassemble and organize the contents of your backpack – Put back all the items you took out of your backpack during the cleaning process, and organize them neatly in their respective pockets and compartments.
  3. Check for any damages or repairs – Inspect your backpack for any damages or repairs that may be needed, such as loose stitching, broken zippers, or frayed straps. Address these issues promptly to ensure the longevity and functionality of your backpack.
  4. Store your backpack in a clean and dry place – Finally, store your clean and dry backpack in a clean and dry place away from moisture, direct sunlight, or extreme temperatures.


And there you have it! By following these steps, you can effectively clean a backpack with a vacuum cleaner and spot cleaning, making it look fresh and ready for your next adventure. Remember to always refer to your backpack’s care instructions and use gentle cleaning methods to avoid damaging the material.