It’s about time for us to begin our Back to School shopping this year, so my brain is racing with the million back to school tasks I have to complete in the next month. There are forms to fill out, schedules to plan, lunch box notes to print and of course – shopping for school supplies and new clothes to take perfect Back to School photos in. The only thing I don’t worry about this time of year is buying a new backpack. I am a huge fan of the L.L. Bean Deluxe Backpack and if you have one yourself you probably know why.
Of course, if you’re not buying a new backpack you’re probably planning to clean your old ones. This is the way I have cleaned out L.L. Bean backpacks for years, and it always keeps them looking good and is gentle enough to avoid damaging them like machine washing will.
These instructions should work for just about any backpack – although you should always double check to make sure and be extra careful with backpacks that are screen printed, have lights or decals on them.
I am obsessed with L.L. Bean backpacks because, prior to discovering them, I would just buy a backpack wherever I was doing the back to school shopping – usually grabbing whichever character the boys were into at the moment. By November the backpack would be coming apart at the seems and I would trudge back to a store in search of any available backpack – and repeat this again in the spring, annoyed that I needed yet another backpack when school was almost done.
My son is really rough on his backpack – he tosses it on the ground when he’s playing after school and it bakes away on the hot blacktop. It gets shoved under his seat on the school bus (gross – especially in the winter when that space is also occupied by wet boots) and spends the day on the floor below the hook it should be hanging on in class. And then there’s the cleaning. I clean his backpack often because I know of all the icky places it’s been. Between his toss-it-and-forget-it attitude and my need to sanitize things, a backpack goes through quite a bit in our house.
I bought his L.L. Bean backpack at the beginning of second grade. He’s now going into sixth grade and will still be using that same exact backpack. I considered buying a new one this year, but after washing his and thoroughly checking it over – there’s no reason he won’t get another year out of it!
Cleaning the backpack is simple – I do this outside in the spring, but the bathtub works just as well! All you need is a large bowl, soapy water, a clean rag and running water for rinsing.
First I empty the backpack entirely. Make sure to shake it out over the garbage to get rid of any crumbs or bits of paper that may be in the bottom. I also use this time to carefully inspect the backpack for broken zippers, holes or any other major damage.
Then I fill a bowl with warm, soapy water. Using a rag, I scrub the backpack inside and out with the soapy water, paying extra attention to the straps and seams.
Next I rinse the backpack thoroughly in warm water and hang it to dry.
You can see the huge difference a quick cleaning has made for these backpacks!
Now we’re ready to pack our backpacks full of new school supplies and take some great photos with our favorite Back To School Printable Chalkboard Signs!
How often do you buy new school backpacks?