Step-by-Step Guide: How to Wash Your North Face Backpack

Outdoor enthusiasts know that an essential part of their gear is their backpack. Whenever I plan a trip that involves camping, hiking, biking, or any other outdoor activity, the first thing I think about is what to pack in my backpack. But you do not need any backpack - you need the best one, and this is where a company called North Face comes into the conversation!

North Face is a company that has existed for decades, and its excellent outdoor gear is what made them so famous. It is safe to say that all outdoor enthusiasts know this company, but not everyone can afford it. North Face’s gear may come at a specific price, but it is worth every penny if you consider the quality that you get.


Besides all types of clothes, tents, technical gear, and what else not, they offer a wide variety of backpacks that you can choose from. They come in all sizes, colors, with different designs for men, women, and children, and so on. It is safe to assume that whatever you are looking for in a backpack - they have it!

Once you buy a North Face backpack and you start to take it everywhere with you, there will be a time when you will need to learn how to clean it. You must know how dirty and sweaty the rest of the gear can get, so you can expect to see the same effect on the backpack as well.

This is not something to get worked up about, as cleaning the backpack can be very easy. In this guide, you will learn all about cleaning a backpack, what to use for that purpose, and what to avoid. Read the guide to the end, and I promise you that you will make your backpack spotless without causing it any harm!

North Face Outdoor

How do I wash my North Face backpack (Step-By-Step Guide)

When you get your first great backpack, you will want to keep it in the best shape possible for as long as you can. To do that, you will need to learn how to clean it and what products to use.

But before you get to the cleaning, I want to suggest that you check the instructions on your backpack to see if the manufacturing company recommends cleaning. If it does, check what kind of cleaning it suggests. Usually, North Face backpacks are suitable for various types of washing or cleaning.

If your backpack is suitable for washing, you can choose between three different washing options. You can try spot cleaning, soaking and scrubbing, or washing the backpack with some detergent. I recommend the first one because it is the easiest and it makes it impossible for you to damage your backpack when cleaning it.

North Face Backpack cleaning

Spot cleaning method

Here are the steps that this method includes:

Step 1 - Empty your backpack

Before you start cleaning the backpack with water or detergent, always check to see if there is anything in it that you have left behind. Open all compartments and unzip the entire backpack, making sure that it is empty before moving further.

Step 2 - Shake it out

Once you see that the backpack is empty, you should try to turn it over as much as possible. This step will help you remove the larger chunks of garbage or dirt from the smaller pockets and the large compartment.

Step 3 - Brush and wipe all spots

This step is the most important step of the cleaning process, so make sure to read it with the utmost attention!

Using a clean cloth damped with lukewarm water, go over the dirty spots of the backpack. Try to be as gentle as possible and not use too much force if the dirt does not come out. If water does not remove the dirt, you can add a few drops of cleaning detergent to the cloth. Then, go over the spots again.

It would help if you were looking for a mild detergent and does not contain any bleach. Whenever there is a part of the backpack you want to clean with detergent, make sure that you mix it with water first. Using detergent should be your last resort, and you should use it only on the dirtiest spots.

If there are any unreachable parts in the backpack's interior where you see that dirt has accumulated, you can try cleaning them up with an old damp toothbrush. Again, be as careful as possible with the toothbrush! Make sure that you clean every part of the backpack before moving on to the next step.

Step 4 - Rinse and dry

Finally, when you have cleaned up the entire backpack, take a clean cloth and wipe it over again. This will help you remove any dirt that has been left behind. Then, let it air dry for no less than 24 hours.

At this point, you should not use a hairdryer to dry the backpack. The heat from it will only damage the fabric and melt the plastic parts. If you can, try to put the backpack in a place with constant airflow and or hang it upside down. It will dry in no time!

large north face backpack

Further cleaning information

The fact that I recommend the spot cleaning method does not mean you have to use it. Here is some information on the other two ways that might come in handy:

Soak and Scrub method

The soaking method that I mentioned can also help you clean your backpack, but I do not recommend it. This method includes putting the entire backpack in a tub of water, soaking, scrubbing it, which can lead to it getting completely soaked.

As for the scrubbing part, you can use an old toothbrush. Be as gentle as possible and try not to get into the spot that much because you can damage the fabric. Try rubbing the place with your fingers only or with a gentle cloth.

It will take a lot of time to dry the backpack afterward, while some of the water might get into the fabric and lead to damage over time. If you want to keep your backpack intact for longer, I would not recommend using this technique too often.

Detergent cleaning

You can clean the backpack with detergent, but this method is also not recommended for regular use. The reason for this is the fact that detergents are strong and they can lead to fabric damage.

If you must use detergent to take out a more challenging stain or spot, make sure that it is bleach-free and that you mix it with water. Use only a couple of drops of the detergent. Then, wipe the backpack and make sure there is none of the detergent left on the fabric to cause it harm.

North Face Backpack

Can you wash a North Face backpack in the washing machine?

Most backpacks from North Face are suitable for washing in a washing machine. Before anything else, you should check the instructions and see what the company recommends.

To be safe, I would recommend going with the spot cleaning method that can protect that fabric. Placing the backpack in a washing machine with all that tumbling and heat will not do it any good.

If you are not up for spot cleaning, you can always try soaking the backpack. You can also clean it in the tub with some detergent. Still, backpacks do not get that dirty that often so you should try to steer clear of those harsh cleaning methods as much as possible!

Do North Face backpacks get dirty easily?

How dirty your North Face backpack gets depends on where you take it and how often you go out with it. Generally, backpacks from this company do not get dirty easily because they are made from high-quality waterproof fabric that does not contain any contaminants.

Regular clean-ups of the backpack can save you a lot of trouble. Whenever you take it somewhere, please give it a little wiping at the end of the trip before you store it. This will help you avoid those big clean-ups that take a lot of time and effort.


North Face is an awesome company that you have to consider when looking for any piece of gear - not only backpacks! Their products might come at a price, but the quality that you get is something you cannot find elsewhere.

I recommend that you get one of their backpacks and enjoy the benefits. Their backpacks are lightweight, waterproof, anatomic, and have great suspension. They come in so many designs and colors that you will find the perfect one for you.

Still, once you get the backpack, do not forget to clean it using one of the methods I mentioned above! If you know any other cleaning methods or you have some tips you would like to share, please do so in the comments. I cannot wait to read them all!

Andrew Mullen

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