I have a Thule Laptop Backpack and a Hiking Backpack. Both are more or less of the same material. How can I clean it?

I cannot put it into a machine because the hiking backpack has a frame and I am afraid I might damage the laptop bag if I do.

  • 1
    FYI - you may find better answers at outdoors.stackexchange.com - and can ask a moderator to move the question there for you if you'd like.
    – WBT
    Commented Aug 24, 2015 at 13:18
  • @WBT Thank you for the suggestion, but I specifically didn't ask it there because the bag that I am more concerned about is the Thule Laptop Bag and I am not sure if it could be washed in the same way as you would wash an outdoor hiking backpack.
    – Julia
    Commented Sep 14, 2015 at 21:39

4 Answers 4


I wash my backpacks and reusable bags once in a while to keep the fresh and clean.

Usually I turn my bags upside down to shake off all the debris that's in there or sticky roll the inside. After getting the bigger pieces of the debris out, I just fill a large container/sink with water and soap then put the bags in there. Depends on the size of your backpack, you need to make sure there's enough room for it to roll around in there.

Soak it for a bit, then just wash it like how you would hand wash clothes, except you don't want to press or bend it too hard. You need to make sure not to bend the rigid structure of your bag.

If there are stains you want to get rid off, usually for the material of backpacks, you can use a toothbrush, dip it in some soap and brush the stains off. If it's a tougher stain, you can use a more specific stain removing detergent. If a toothbrush is too small, then you can use a gentle bigger brush.

After swooshing it in water for a bit to get smaller debris out or get the dust and stains off, just rinse it a couple times and you are done.

If you don't think it will survive a drying, just hang it upside down with all zippers open to air dry.


Depending on in what way the bags are dirty, you could use a sticky roll, you know the kind that you normally uses on clothes etc. This will probably lift of any dust, crumbles etc.

Sticky rolls


Doing a search for cleaning backpack does give some suggestion indicating that either hand or machine washing is acceptable, if the care instructions (if present) allows it. One option could therefore be to remove frame before hand or machine washing it.

However, what I usually do is to use a damp cloth to wipe the backpack clean. Simply using a cloth has proven succesful for my backpacks with a variety of (semi-)waterproof fabrics. In my experience this also doesn't affect the waterproofing to any great extent.


Using an air compressor you can blast away most of the debris before resorting to dampening the material.

  • I think that you should add that it is probably best to do this while holding the backpack upside-down. That way, you aren't just blowing stuff around.
    – michaelpri
    Commented Sep 5, 2015 at 16:08
  • That should probably be filed under common sense. Commented Sep 8, 2015 at 5:37

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