Girl wearing blue JanSport backpack with sanitizer hooked onto zipper next to guy on bike

What You Need to Know About Sanitizing Your Backpack

Katie Nolan Mar 24, 2021


After hauling it to beach trips, afternoon hikes, sleepovers, and picnics in the park, your SuperBreak Plus might need a thorough cleaning. Normally, it feels like a hassle to hand wash something, but JanSport’s instructions for how to clean a backpack are super quick and easy to follow—so there really is no reason to dread this chore. Hot tip: Squeeze in a clean when you’re waiting for the dryer to finish on laundry day.

Here are some tips and tricks to get your JanSport backpack squeaky clean. 


Gather Your Supplies

Before embarking on your cleaning adventure, make sure you have everything you’ll need. You will want:


Step 1: Empty the Bag

First things first: This might seem obvious, but take everything out of the backpack. Everything. JanSport bags always have a few extra pockets, which is great—but that also means you might forget what’s in there. 

Give the bag a good shake to get out smaller items, along with any crumbs or dirt. We recommend doing this over an empty garbage bin or on a counter, so it’s easy to clean up the dirt but you don’t have to reach into a full trash can if spare change or something of importance falls out. 

Use a handheld vacuum to clean any last bits of dirt, sand, or crumbs from the bottom. A hose attachment on a regular vacuum cleaner works, too.


Step 2: Wipe it Down

Once you knew there weren’t any surprises inside, it’s time to wipe the bag down. JanSport’s instructions say to use cool water with a soft, damp cloth. You might think that a damp cloth isn’t nearly enough for a durable backpack—but it is! In fact, you may be amazed by how the bag absorbs the water without getting heavy and drippy like other materials.

Use the cloth to wipe the front, back, bottom, and inside, as well as the straps (don’t want to forget about those!).

For small smudges, grab the JanSport Backpack Stain Remover—the instructions state not to use bleach or harsh detergents on the bag. Spray it onto your damp cloth and scrub the spot. You can know it’s working when the stain remover gets a little sudsy. 

The bottle’s instructions recommend using a clean, dry cloth to wipe away excess moisture and dirt when you’re done.

One note: If the stain’s big, it’s probably best to use the spray prior to wiping the bag down with the damp cloth, so it doesn’t smudge across the bag or set in.

JanSport Backpack with cleaning towel JanSport Stain Remover Spray

Step 3: Air It Out

With the “hard work” over, it’s time to let the bag dry. Again, no laundry machines should be used for this part. 

You can let your bag dry outside, set it on top of a towel on a counter, or hang it from the back of my door to dry. About two hours later it should be bone-dry and good to go.


What to Avoid When Cleaning Your Backpack

This process is super easy, but there are a few things to avoid:

  • Skip the washing machine! Backpacks are not intended to be machine washed. 

  • Don’t hang to dry in the sun. UV rays can harm or discolor your backpack’s fabric. 

  • Pay attention to the zipper. You may want to use a soft toothbrush to clean any stuck-on grime, but be careful not to damage the coating. 

Cleaning your JanSport backpack couldn’t be easier. Needing only water and a cloth, it takes just a few minutes to freshen it up. (And a little patience as it dries.) There are no excuses to not make this a monthly habit—especially when it provides you with the peace of mind that you’re not carrying germs on your back or into your home.