can you wash a jansport backpack

Can You Wash a Jansport Backpack?

Jansport backpacks have been a familiar sight on college campuses and hiking trails for decades. Known for their durability and style, these backpacks can carry heavy loads, resist daily wear and tear, and still look good.

Over time, however, they accumulate dirt and grime from our daily adventures. This leaves many Jansport backpack owners wondering how best to clean their reliable companions without damaging them.

Yes, you can wash a Jansport backpack. The recommended methods include hand washing, machine washing on a gentle cycle, or spot cleaning for minor stains.

We have put together these three most effective methods for cleaning your Jansport backpack.

Hand Washing a Jansport Backpack

Be very careful washing a backpack with leather detail, by hand or in a washing machine. Soaking may damage the leather. Try spot cleaning first.

Does It Wash Team

Hand washing is one of the most effective ways to clean your Jansport backpack without inflicting undue wear and tear. This method is gentle on the fabric, and gives you direct control over the cleaning process, which is particularly useful when dealing with stubborn stains or sensitive materials.

  1. Prepare your backpack: Empty out every compartment of your backpack. Shake it to remove any loose debris and use a vacuum to clean the corners and tight spaces where crumbs and dust may collect. Open all zippers and check the pockets for forgotten items.
  2. Create a cleaning solution: Fill a large basin or sink with lukewarm water. Add a capful of mild laundry detergent or dish soap and stir the water to create a soapy solution. Avoid using bleach or harsh cleaners as they can damage the fabric.
  3. Submerge and scrub: Place your backpack in the water, ensuring it is completely submerged. Use a soft brush or cloth to scrub the exterior and interior surfaces, paying special attention to heavily soiled areas. Apply gentle pressure when scrubbing to avoid damaging the fabric.
  4. Rinse thoroughly: Drain the soapy water from the basin and rinse your backpack under a stream of cold water. Continue rinsing until no more soap suds appear.
  5. Deal with stubborn stains: If your backpack still has visible stains, treat these areas with a little bit of mild detergent applied directly. Rub gently with a cloth or sponge, then rinse again.
  6. Dry properly: Hang your backpack upside down in a well-ventilated area to dry. This helps prevent water from collecting in the pockets and corners of the backpack. Avoid placing it in direct sunlight as it can fade the colors and make the material brittle over time.

Following this extended method will not only thoroughly clean your Jansport backpack, but also prolong its life, ensuring you can continue to rely on its sturdy companionship for years to come.

Machine Washing a Jansport Backpack

Machine washing can be a more convenient method of cleaning your Jansport backpack, but it requires caution. Improper machine washing can lead to fading, shrinkage, and even structural damage. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to machine wash your Jansport backpack safely and effectively:

  1. Prepare your backpack: Empty your backpack of all its contents. Ensure all pockets are empty and all zippers are open. Turn your backpack inside out, which will help to protect the exterior fabric, zippers, and straps.
  2. Pre-treat stains: If there are any visible stains, pre-treat them using a small amount of mild detergent directly applied to the stain. Gently rub it in with a toothbrush or cloth.
  3. Prepare the washing machine: Set the washing machine to a gentle or delicate cycle with cold water. This will prevent your backpack from shrinking or the color from bleeding. Add a mild laundry detergent to the machine, avoiding any harsh chemicals or bleach.
  4. Protect your backpack in the machine: Place your backpack in a pillowcase or a mesh laundry bag before putting it into the machine. This provides an extra layer of protection to the straps and zippers, preventing them from getting tangled or damaged during the wash cycle.
  5. Start the wash cycle: Add your backpack to the washing machine and start the wash cycle. It’s recommended not to wash your backpack with other items, especially those with different colors, to avoid color transfer.
  6. Remove and inspect: Once the wash cycle is complete, remove the backpack from the pillowcase or mesh bag and turn it right side out. Inspect the backpack to ensure all dirt and stains have been removed.
  7. Air dry the backpack: Hang the backpack upside down in a well-ventilated area, away from direct sunlight. Never use a dryer as the intense heat can shrink or deform your Jansport backpack.

By extending a bit more effort and care in the machine washing process, you can safely and effectively clean your Jansport backpack, maintaining its durability and aesthetic appeal for years to come.

Spot Cleaning a Jansport Backpack

Spot cleaning is a perfect method when dealing with minor stains or when you want to freshen up your Jansport backpack without having to wash the entire thing. This method is particularly useful when your backpack has delicate features like leather accents or doesn’t respond well to immersion in water.

  1. Identify the stains: Before you start the cleaning process, inspect your backpack to locate all the stains. Pay attention to the bottom of the backpack and the areas near the zippers, as these spots are often the most soiled.
  2. Prepare a cleaning solution: Mix a few drops of a mild detergent in a cup of cold water. Avoid using harsh soaps or bleach as they may discolor or damage the fabric.
  3. Test the solution: Apply a small amount of your cleaning solution to an inconspicuous area of your backpack. This test will ensure it doesn’t cause any discoloration.
  4. Apply the cleaning solution: Dip a clean cloth or sponge in the solution and gently dab it on the stains. Avoid scrubbing harshly as it can damage the fabric. For stubborn stains, let the solution sit for a few minutes before blotting it away.
  5. Rinse and dry: Use a clean, damp cloth to remove any soap residue from the fabric. Once you’re sure all the soap has been removed, blot the area with a dry towel to absorb as much of the water as possible.
  6. Dry the backpack: Allow the cleaned areas to air dry completely. Avoid using a hairdryer or placing the backpack in the sun to dry, as excessive heat can cause the material to shrink or colors to fade.
  7. Repeat if necessary: If the stain persists after the first round of spot cleaning, repeat the process.

By giving individual attention to the stained areas, spot cleaning provides an effective way to maintain the cleanliness of your Jansport backpack without subjecting it to potentially damaging processes. It’s a convenient and quick solution when your backpack needs a touch-up between thorough cleanings.


Can you put a Jansport backpack in the dryer?

Putting a Jansport backpack in the dryer is not recommended. The heat and tumbling action of the dryer can cause the backpack’s fabric to shrink, warp, or fray. Just as importantly, the straps and zippers can get tangled or damaged in the process. Instead, air-drying is the safest way to dry your backpack.

Hang it upside down in a well-ventilated area, away from direct sunlight, until it is completely dry. This will preserve the backpack’s shape and quality while also preventing any potential growth of mold or mildew from moisture retention.

Can you use bleach to clean a Jansport backpack?

Bleach, while a powerful cleaning agent, is too harsh for cleaning a Jansport backpack. It can cause color fading, weaken the fabric’s durability, and may leave behind a chemical residue. Instead, opt for mild detergents or soaps when washing your backpack. These gentler cleaners can effectively remove dirt and stains without compromising the backpack’s material or color.

How often should you wash a Jansport backpack?

The frequency of washing your backpack largely depends on how often and in what manner it’s used. If you’re using it daily for school or work, it’s recommended to give it a thorough cleaning every month.

If the backpack is exposed to dirt, spills, or strong odors, immediate cleaning is necessary to prevent permanent stains or lingering smells. Remember, regular cleaning not only keeps your backpack looking fresh but also contributes to its longevity.

How do you remove stains from a Jansport backpack?

Stain removal begins with spot cleaning. Apply a mild detergent solution to the stain, gently rubbing with a cloth or soft-bristled brush. Rinse the area with cold water and blot dry with a towel. If the stain persists, you may need to wash the entire backpack using the hand washing or machine washing method. It’s crucial to treat stains as soon as possible to prevent them from setting into the fabric, which makes them harder to remove.

Can you wash a Jansport backpack with leather accents?

Yes, you can wash a Jansport backpack with leather accents, but with caution. Leather doesn’t respond well to soaking or harsh detergents. When cleaning the backpack, try to avoid the leather parts or only clean them with a damp cloth. After washing, apply a leather conditioner to these parts to prevent them from drying out and cracking.

Can you wash a Jansport backpack with zippers?

Yes, you can wash a Jansport backpack with zippers. However, care should be taken to protect the zippers from damage. If you’re machine washing, place the backpack in a pillowcase or laundry bag to prevent the zippers from catching or banging against the drum.

For both hand and machine washing, ensure that all zippers are fully zipped up to maintain their shape and function. After washing, wipe the zippers dry and periodically check them during the drying process to prevent rust.


Cleaning a Jansport backpack properly will extend its lifespan and keep it looking fresh. The three methods, hand washing, machine washing, and spot cleaning, offer flexible options depending on the level of dirt or stains present on the backpack.

Each method has its precautions, such as not using bleach, avoiding the dryer, and protecting zippers. Remember, the key to a clean and long-lasting Jansport backpack is regular care and proper cleaning techniques.