As every parent of school-aged children knows, preparing for kids to go back to school can be really expensive! In addition to getting them registered and getting their school books, they’ll also need school supplies, clothes, shoes, maybe a haircut, and more! But there’s one thing you can cross off your Back-to-School shopping list, and that’s a new backpack!
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Obviously a backpack that has seen one or two school years is going to look a little worse for the wear. But the good news is that most backpacks are built to last, so there’s really no reason to get a new one each school year when you can give a facelift to the perfectly good one your child used last year! With a little TLC, that backpack will be looking as good as new and will serve your child just as well as a new one during the coming school year.
The first step to cleaning a backpack is emptying it out completely. Crumpled old papers, gum wrappers, crumbs, etc. should all be removed or shaken out.
Next, assess the damage. Is the entire bag dirty, or are there just a few spots that need attention? If there are only one or two dirty spots, spot treating with warm, soapy water should be enough to get it clean. Make sure to wipe the area clean with a clean rag afterwards.
If the bag needs more heavy-duty help, you can pre-treat the worst spots with a stain remover like my homemade “Shout“, or let it soak in the sink for few hours in warm water and some oxygen bleach.
If the bag doesn’t have any structural components that shouldn’t get wet (such as cardboard backing or reinforcement), you can wash the bag in your laundry machine on the delicate or handwash cycle. To make sure the straps don’t get tangled or caught on something while it’s washing, put the backpack in a spare pillowcase and tie a knot at the top before throwing it into the wash.
If you do wash a backpack in your washing machine (or in the sink), never put it in the dryer. Instead, let it airdry (outside is best), with a few towels stuffed inside the bag to absorb moisture and help the bag retain its shape.
Even the grimiest of backpacks can get a new lease on life with a little effort! It’s an easy way to save money during an expensive time of the year.