A good pack is an essential that every biker should have in their arsenal.
When you’re out on the road for long periods of time, you need a backpack that’s going to keep your items safe and make them easy to carry.
Since it’s typically a larger investment than a traditional backpack, it’s helpful to take time to clean it regularly. Regular cleaning will help your backpack last longer and ensure that your items stay in good condition as well.
Here are some tips to help you clean your biking backpack.
Step 1: Clean Your Hydration Bladder
The most important thing you need to do when cleaning your biking backpack is clean your hydration bladder.
Since you use this while you’re on the go to stay healthy and hydrated, it’s very important that you clean it regularly. If you don’t clean your hydration bladder, it could start to harbor bacteria and reduce the quality of your water.
Here’s how to clean your hydration bladder:
- Start by emptying and rinsing the bladder. This is a good step to take after every use to prevent the buildup of mold and mildew, and to prevent any funky smells from developing. Put warm water into the bladder, swish it around, and then flush it out.
- Use a very mild soap and sponge to scrub out the interior. Repeat the rinse with warm water. You may also want to wash off the exterior if it’s gotten dirty in your bag.
- Since it’s difficult to scrub every corner of the bladder with a sponge, it’s time to use a stronger cleaning solution. Mix two tablespoons of baking soda with half a teaspoon of bleach, put it into the bladder, and then shake it up. You can also opt to add lemon juice to the solution for a fresher taste. Let sit for approximately half an hour.
- Dump the solution and then rinse with warm water again. You may want to rinse multiple times just to ensure that the entire solution has been removed.
- Air your bladder out to dry. Make sure you prop it open, as they have a tendency to stick together and this could prevent it from drying completely.
Step 2: Empty and Wash The Exterior
The next step to cleaning your backpack is removing everything from the interior.
Even if you think of yourself as a relatively organized person, you might be surprised by what you find. Go through all of the pockets, and don’t be afraid to turn it upside down and shake it out to make sure nothing is stuck in the bottom. Then, unclip any extra hooks, removable straps, or other accessories.
Now, it’s time to give the backpack a gentle wash.
If it’s machine washable…
Some backpacks are actually machine washable, and you can check the manufacturer’s instructions to find out if this is an option with your backpack. Put it in the machine by itself in a large mesh laundry bag, and be sure to put it on the most gentle cycle.
If it’s not machine washable…
If your backpack is not machine washable, you can wash it by hand with a liquid laundry detergent. Submerge the backpack in a tub or bucket of lukewarm water, and then add a small amount of laundry detergent. Let soak for 10 to 20 minutes, depending on how dirty the backpack is. Be careful if your backpack has leather on it, however, as you may need to follow a very specific cleaning regime.
If it’s not washable at all…
Some backpacks may say on the manufacturer’s instructions that they shouldn’t be washed. If this is the case with your backpack, just wet a clean cloth and gently dab at any stains or dirt.
After you have washed the backpack, wipe it down with a towel or rag, and then let it air dry.
Never put your backpack in a dryer – instead, lay it out to dry with all of the pockets open, ideally hanging upside down. While it’s helpful to dry it in a warm room, don’t place the backpack directly in the sunlight, as this could fade the fabric.
Step 3: Remove Stains
It’s quite common for biking backpacks to pick up some stains over time while you are out on the trail. Removing stains from your backpack is actually quite simple, but it needs to be done with some care and patience.
Create a mixture of water and laundry detergent, and then use a soft bristle brush to wash the stains away. Don’t scrub too hard, as this could damage the fabric. Just keep gently working at the stain until it comes out, and then rinse it down with cool water.
You can also use this strategy to clean the straps or any other part of the backpack that is made with textured fabric.
Step 4: Organize Your Items
Now that you’ve washed and cleaned your entire backpack, it’s time to get it nice and organized for the next time you use it. You want to ensure that the items are properly balanced in the pack so that they don’t pull you off your center while you are biking.
Start with the heaviest items at the bottom, and then stack to smaller items on the top. Make use of all of the extra pockets that your backpack has as well. If your backpack doesn’t have any interior pockets, you may want to invest in some small bags to organize things like snacks, pens, first aid, and other small items you like to carry around.
Taking the time to clean your biking backpack after long rides will help keep it in good condition and ultimately last longer.