How to Wash Backpacks + Lunch Boxes

My kiddos head back to school in a little over a week.  That means we’re getting ready for the new school year with lots of prepping of our systems, getting school supplies, and just trying to get ready for the new routine.  One of the things we’re doing this week is to check backpacks and give them a wash.  Typically I would have done this back in June but we went on vacation the day after school got out and I guess we just kind of forgot 🙂

Most fabric backpacks and soft lunch boxes CAN be washed – here’s how to do just that.  (I’ve washed numerous backpacks and lunch boxes this way over the years and have never lost one :))

Empty the backpack and/or lunch box completely – open all the pockets and compartments and make sure that there isn’t anything hiding.

Place in your washing machine and wash on gentle with a gentle detergent.  I use (and love) Molly’s Suds.

Leave all the pockets open and hang to dry or place outside to dry in the sun.

We keep backpacks and lunch boxes in our mudroom in this giant basket.  When the kids come home from school, they empty their lunch boxes and take out homework.  The backpacks and lunch boxes are easy for them to access and they have a ‘spot’.  Making sure that everything has a place makes it easy for kids to take responsibility for their own things.


Check out this post for some of my best ‘mom shortcuts’ – perfect for back to school!


  1. It is pretty gross when you think about all the places the back pack goes! It’s always on the floor or germy hands touching it! We use Molly’s Suds as well! I love the basket idea! Setting up systems like this makes everything run smoother when it’s time to get out the door! Thank you for sharing!


  2. This is timely! My kids started back to school today and I was washing book bags yesterday. I had to soak my daughter’s in oxiclean. Her bag is light blue and was looking rough. Now it looks brand new!

  3. What about a lunchbox that has the silver insulted lining. Can those still go in the washer?

  4. This is also an excellent idea for grown up’s cycling and hiking ‘Camelbacks’ and back packs as well! These can get pretty grungy over time!

  5. Kathlyne Raymundo says:

    i usually hang them up side down to make sure all the water escapes.

Speak Your Mind


Overwhelmed? Find success in your homekeeping with my latest book, Simply Clean! Dismiss