How to Clean and Care for Your Herschel Backpack

14 March 2024

When shopping for a backpack, you want to make sure you choose one that’s not only suited to your style, but that is also durable and will stand the test of time. Besides the normal wear and tear every day associated with using your backpack every day, other issues that go missed that aren’t accounted for is the sodium created from our oils and sweat that can seep into the materials, especially from your shoulders and back. If you’re an avid hiker, or camp regularly, the elements and nature can not only cause your backpack to become dirty, but mud and gunk can get into the zipper; or you may even spill food and drink inside.

Little America Backpack

It’s inevitable that your backpack will get dirty, but that doesn’t mean it’s the end for it. We’ve created a step by step guide on how to care for and clean your backpack and as it is an investment piece, let’s keep it looking its best!



- Soap. A pure, natural soap that does not contain fragrances or additives, much like a castile soap, that you can find at a health food store; or you can opt for a washing product specifically made for clothing and materials.

- Sponge (washcloth, flannel, or tea towel)

- Soft nylon-bristled brush (or something like an old toothbrush)

Best cleaning practice first and foremost is to check what the manufacturer has recommended; however, this can also cause confusion. Some may say to completely submerge your backpack into water while others advise against it.


We suggest following these basic guidelines:

Do not machine wash or tumble dry.

- Cold or lukewarm water is always best. Hot water may shrink materials.

- Use a light hand when using any brush to clean, as you do not want to risk removing any protective coating the material may have. This includes zippers as they often have a water-resistant coating.

- When drying, keep out of direct sunlight. We suggest hanging to dry inside or in the shade.

Retreat Backpack

To stay on top of things, give your bag a quick once over after activities such as camping or hiking. Light cleaning doesn’t have to be a difficult task. Here’s how:  

- Make sure the main area and all pockets are empty and give it shake upside to get out any debris or crumbs.

- Use your sponge or cloth of choice from above to wipe out the inside. You do not need to use soap for this part.

- With a little bit of soap and a light hand, use your sponge/cloth to scrub away any stains or spots on the outside.

- To rinse off any soap, use cold and clean water.

Classic Backpack

While lightly cleaning your bag after any outings, like hiking or overnight trips, helps in the short term, a big deep clean will no doubt help the durability of your backpack, not to mention the aesthetics!

- Same as above, empty out the main area and any pockets.

- Use a vacuum, or substitute, to remove any dirt, sand, or crumbs, with a focus on seams and crevices.

- If you’re able to, remove shoulder straps and any hip belts, and wash separately with your sponge/cloth and rinse well under water.

- Fill a sink or bathtub with 6 inches of cold or lukewarm water. With your soap, use your sponge/cloth to remove any stains or spots from the outside and inside the main area and pockets. Remember, pay attention to any part of the backpack that may come into contact with skin. If any of the material is mesh, use an extra light hand as not to rip or tear.

- After draining the sink or bathtub, fill up with 6 inches of clean water to rinse off any remaining soap (you may need to repeat rinsing until the water is clean).

We hope our step by step guide on cleaning and caring for you backpack has helped answer any questions you may have had.  

Show off your freshly cleaned Herschel backpack by tagging us on Instagram @herschelaustralia