How to Get a Smell Out of a Backpack?

A backpack is something that everyone uses. Whether it’s a school-issued backpack or a casual one from Coach, your trusty bag can hold and transport all kinds of stuff. However, even the best backpacks get stinky over time and no matter how many times you wash them, they never come out smelling like new. Washing simply removes the surface dirt and grime, but a bag can continue to stink after it has been cleaned. If you have a smelly backpack, try these steps to get rid of the smell for good!

Step 1: Check The Interior Of Your Backpack For Any Debris

The interior is where the majority of your stench is coming from. Dust, dirt, food remnants, etc. are all culprits of stinky bags. If you find any slime or gunk in your bag, simply scrape it out with a butter knife or spoon and then follow the instructions for washing your backpack later on down the line.

Step 2: Add Baking Soda to Your Backpack

Adding baking soda to the interior of your bag can help conquer any lingering smells. Baking soda is a natural deodorizer that breaks down odors without fading over time. While you’re taking out all of the trash, don’t forget to shake some baking soda into your backpack as well.

Step 3: Let It Sit For An Hour or Two Before You Toss Your Backpack in The Washer

Now that you’ve given your stinky bag all of the baking soda it needs, let it sit for an hour or two (or overnight if you want). Leaving baking soda inside your bag helps eliminate odors, but letting it sit for a while before you wash your bag ensures that your backpack will come out smelling as fresh as day one again. After the designated time period, put your backpack in with the rest of your dirty laundry and toss it into the washer.

Step 4: Add Laundry Detergent to Your Bag If You’re Washing in a Machine

If you’re washing your backpack inside a machine, add laundry detergent to the load. Your bag likely contains cotton, nylon, or some other fabric that is safe for washing in cold water with normal laundry soap. If you want to be extra cautious when it comes to staining and residual smells, add about 1/4 cup of vinegar to your wash cycle. The acidity in the vinegar will take care of any smells, stains, and residue without compromising the color or fabric of your bag.

Be Sure to Wash Your Backpack Frequently For Best Results

You can’t expect to eliminate all smells with one washing! You may get rid of some odors with baking soda and laundry detergent, but if your bag has been stuffed full of foul-smelling items for days at a time (like gym clothes), you’re going to need more than one washing session before it smells like new again. Wash your backpack frequently to ensure that it stays fresh after every wear.

What if the smell still won’t go away?

Odors and stains can sometimes be tough to remove from fabric (and leather). If your initial washing doesn’t do the trick, you may need an extra boost. Try soaking a rag in white vinegar and placing it inside your bag overnight. The acidity of the vinegar will kill any lingering smells and you’ll wake up to a fresh smelling bag in the morning!

How can I prevent my backpack from smelling bad?

Keeping your backpack as empty as possible is one of the best ways to keep it fresh. When there isn’t much stuffed inside, odors will have less room to grow. You should also avoid storing dirty gym clothes in your bag for longer than a day. Baggy clothing is a haven for bacteria and sweat, so keep your sweaty clothes out of your backpack to prevent smells from growing or lingering. Lastly, try washing your bag with baking soda and laundry detergent at least once every month or two to ensure that it doesn’t get stinky over time.

What should I do if the smell lingers even after washing?

If you’re sure that your bag has been washed but still smells terrible, you may need to use a leather cleaner or other detergent to completely get rid of the odor. Some backpacks are made with more expensive materials like genuine leather or suede, so it’s important to avoid using normal detergents (even ones that are safe for fabric) to ensure that you don’t damage the bag.

How do you get the smell of sunscreen out of a backpack?

Sunscreen is incredibly tough to remove from fabrics. If you have excess sunscreen staining your bag for whatever reason, try using some dish soap or laundry detergent on it before washing as normal. Use cold water for this process since hot water can set stains into fabric fibers. If you’re struggling to remove the sunscreen, try using a leather cleaner on your backpack as well.

How do you get the smell of mold out of a backpack?

You’ll likely need to use a leather cleaner or vinegar on your bag if it smells like mildew. Wash the bag with any dish soap or laundry detergent first, then soak a rag in white vinegar and place it inside overnight. The acidity from the vinegar will kill any mold, mildew, or fungus smells without compromising the backpack’s fabric.

What is the best way to get rid of old backpack smell?

The best way to get rid of an old backpack smell is by washing it on a regular basis (at least once every month) and storing it in a dry space whenever possible (like a coat closet or an empty locker). Keeping your bag as empty as possible is also helpful when it comes to keeping it fresh, so try not to store dirty gym clothes inside for longer than a day.

How do you get the smell of smoke out of a backpack?

Smoke odors can be tricky to remove from fabric without harsh chemicals. You’ll want to do a deep clean with any dish soap or laundry detergent first, and follow up by washing the backpack with baking soda and vinegar (or lemon juice). The acidity from the baking soda and lemon juice will kill any smoke smells without compromising fabric fibers, so you can have a fresh-smelling bag in just a few washes!

How do you get dog smell out of a backpack?

Try using any dish soap or laundry detergent first, then soak a rag in white vinegar and place it inside overnight. The acidity from the vinegar will kill any lingering odors on your bag without compromising fabric fibers.

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