How to Keep School Book Bags Clean

We know all too well that nothing is safe from dirt in the classroom. School bags are designed to protect important work and books from the elements and whatever else children get up to, so it’s no wonder they see their fair share of mud, ink, rain, food, and so on. But keeping school bags and book bags clean is important if you want them to stay in good condition for longer and put off buying a replacement. Not to mention you want to actually see the logo on your personalised book bag

What’s the best way to keep school book bags clean? Find out here. 

Can you wash school book bags?

Putting things in the washing machine is the fastest, easiest, and most thorough way to keep soft items clean. Many school book bags can be put straight into the washing machine so check the inside label on yours to see if it's okay to machine wash. Usually, if your book bag is made from nylon or canvas, it can be put in the washing machine. 

Some book bags are reinforced with plastic, so it’s a good idea to wash them on a cool, gentle cycle to prevent the reinforcements from being warped. Your book bag might have a custom print on it, too, so a cool wash will prevent this from being lifted off the fabric and keep the design in good condition for longer. 

Don’t forget to thoroughly empty out the book bag before tossing it into the washing machine; the last thing you want is to find pieces of a washed-up certificate afterwards!

If you can’t put the book bag in the washing machine, it’s easy to wash it by hand. Here’s a step-by-step for hand washing a school book bag. 

You’ll need:

  • A stiff dry brush
  • A basin or sink filled with warm, soapy water
  • A soft brush that can get wet
  • A cloth
  1. Using the stiff brush, while the book bag is dry, brush off as much dried mud and other dirt as you can. Take care to brush around any printing on the front of the bag so it stays intact.
  2. Shake the bag thoroughly and make sure it’s completely empty. You could even use the vacuum cleaner nozzle to clean any dirt and dust from the inside.
  3. Once you’ve gotten the bag as clean as possible while dry, submerge it in the warm soapy water and leave it to soak for a few minutes. 
  4. Using the soft brush, go over all the sides of the bag, taking care to dislodge any remaining dirt. 
  5. Squeeze the excess water out of the bag and use the cloth to wipe down any reflective strips and hard edges.
  6. Leave the bag to air dry, either outside or near a radiator (but not directly on a radiator as this could affect any plastic printing or reinforcements).

Tips for Cleaning School Book Bags

  • Spot clean stains by gently scrubbing them with a toothbrush and detergent or washing up liquid. Then put the whole bag into the washing machine without rinsing to get a deeper clean in those areas. 
  • Place bags into pillowcases before putting them into the washing machine drum to prevent straps and zippers from being caught, tangled, or broken during the cycle.
  • Use a vacuum cleaner or a lint roller to remove dirt and debris from the inside of the bag.
  • Make sure all pockets and compartments are fully opened before putting the bag in the washing machine or hand washing.

Keeping school bags of any kind clean is virtually impossible, and so long as they do their job there’s no need for them to be spotless all the time! Encourage kids to use pencil cases to keep pens safely tucked away and minimise any ink spillages. It’s also a good idea to teach children to empty their lunch boxes of rubbish and leftovers they won’t be eating to reduce the chance of a food explosion. 

How to Remove Different Kinds of Stains

Ink Stains

Use rubbing alcohol to get rid of ink stains, either by dropping it into a smaller stain with a paper towel on the other side or filling a bowl and submerging a larger stain. Keep the stain immersed for about 15 minutes, and then use a paper towel or cotton wool ball to blot and soak up excess moisture. Finish with a rinse in clean water.

Oil and Grease-Based Stains

Soak up as much of the substance as possible, first by using paper towels and then by sprinkling baking soda, cornstarch, or baby powder. Use a stiff brush to brush off the powder once it’s thoroughly soaked up excess oil. Then rub detergent or washing-up liquid directly into the stain. Clean the bag as normal after this using your preferred method.

Blood Stains

Use white vinegar to get rid of blood stains. Make a solution of ⅓ vinegar and ⅔ water, then soak the stained area for ten minutes. Rinse the area and then wash as normal with your preferred method.

Paint Stains

Paint stains should be dealt with while still wet if you want to get rid of the mark completely. Soak water-based paint stains and clean them as normal with soap and water. If you’re dealing with oil-based paint, using a paint thinner like turpentine or even nail polish remover will help. 

Many children’s paints are easy to remove from fabric, and some even peel off easily once dried on.

Grass Stains

Make a solution of hydrogen peroxide, washing-up liquid, and baking soda. Soak the stained area in the solution for a few hours, then rinse and clean the bag via your preferred method.

School Book Bag Essentials from a Truster Supplier

Browse Springboard’s complete range of school book bags. We offer Primo Book Bags and Duo Book Bags which come with name card holders and reflective strips. Each bag is made with durable water-resistant material to help keep them clean and protect their contents. Each bag also has built-in handles as well as a shoulder strap for easier carrying.

Our Infant Bakpac is designed especially for little ones to carry important items to and from nursery and school and get kids accustomed to being responsible for their own belongings. Our drawstring gym bag is another essential piece of PE equipment, making it easier for students to keep their kit together and ensure they have everything they need for sports lessons.

We also support schools throughout the UK with custom printed bags. We’ll print your school logo, crest, name, year group, and any other information onto the front of your bags from the following products:

With a wide range of popular school brand colour options, we’ll also be able to match your colour branding.

Classroom resources

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