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How to Properly Clean a Duffel Bag for Beginners

duffel bag for cleaning

One thing’s for sure; duffle bags are easy to use but also easy to get dirty. They are widely used because they cost less than suitcases but are also more compact.

They’re great for on-the-go people and are easy to store away. Still, most duffle bags are porous. Trapping odors and dirt, a bag like this takes some time to clean.

Another reason for this is the fact that a duffle bag isn’t as sturdy as a suitcase. This means it’s often tumbled and thrown around.

If you own a bag like this, you probably love it for its compaction and portability. There’s also no doubt you’ve noticed its dirty and smelly downside.

Luckily, there is a way to clean a duffle bag. Before we move on, here are some things you should know before washing your bag:

  • Don’t soak it

Soaking your bag in water isn’t a good idea simply because it’s no way to clean the bag. Soaking it in water won’t take out any stains and dirt. Focus on actually cleaning the fabric.

  • Avoid machine-washing

Though it would be the easiest way, washing your bag in a washing machine is a bad idea. Some polyester bags can handle machine-washing, but only on a gentle cycle.

You shouldn’t ever wash a canvas bag in a washing machine. This is because most canvas bags have some kind of waterproof treatment to it which could be compromised if washed in a machine. The fabric could also wrinkle beyond repair.

  • Clean the whole thing

Is there a big stain? Since you’re already going to put time and effort into it, you might as well clean the whole bag. As I said, these bags get dirty quite easily, so there are probably other stains you didn’t notice. Plus, why wouldn’t you freshen it up a bit as opposed to just cleaning the obvious stain?

Here’s the simplest way to clean a dirty duffle bag:

  1. Get rid of all the bits and pieces

Flip your bag inside out and shake off all the pieces of dirt you might find there. Most the time, the inside of your bag contains dust, dirt, pieces of paper, and all kinds of mess. Empty that so that further cleaning is easier to do. Remember to empty all the side pockets, too.

  1. Carefully clean the inside
  • Ballistic nylon – use antibacterial soap and a sponge to clean this type of bag. In most cases, bags made of ballistic nylon repel odor and dirt on their own, so you should only wipe it down a bit. Make sure to avoid all chemical-based cleansers because those easily damage the material.
  • Canvas – simply was the inside of the bag with soap and water as this should get the most dirt out. Still, if some stains remained, spot-clean them with laundry detergent.
  1. Take care of the hardware

All bags have some type of hardware, if nothing, at least zippers. These, of course, need a little extra attention. After you clean your bag, make sure to blow dry the hardware. You see, if you’d simply let it air dry, it would rust and possibly decolorate.

  1. Eliminate the odor

Even when clean, duffle bags tend to smell funny, especially those made of nylon. To eliminate this, spray the inside with an air freshener of your choice. Again, don’t use anything that’s got any harsh chemicals in it. Chemical fragrance will most certainly damage the fabric.

The resistance properties of polyester and nylon usually wear off over time. What you can do is spray the bag with solutions that strengthen those properties.

For canvas, choose protection sprays such as Scotch Guard to protect the fabric from future odors and stains.

These are a few tips and tricks on how to clean your duffle bag. A quality duffle bag is durable but will last you even longer if you take good care of it. Washing it in a wrong way can dramatically shorten its life.

However, there are many different bags on the market, and some require a special type of cleaning. I suggest you always check the declaration that usually contains cleaning and drying guidelines. You can usually find those on a small tag somewhere inside your bag.