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My children’s school bags are looking very soiled and crummy after using for a year. However, the ba

Certainly! Washing your backpack once or twice a year and you will help keep your bag clean and hopefully extend its lifespan. Most bags are usually machine-washable, but do check and refer to the fabric care label in the bag beforehand. If the school bag is small enough to go into the washing machine, you may wash it in a gentle cycle (selected washing machine has the “Woollen Fabric” or the “Handwash” cycle programmed).

However, this is how I usually wash my children’s school bags:

i. Remove all items in the school bags. Do empty the very tiny pockets and small compartments in the bags. Yes! It is a wonder how biscuits crumbs can leak from the lunch box; loose staple bullets and tiny bits of erasers are commonly found inside the base of the bag. It is also not uncommon to find extremely mouldy unconsumed kaya bread being squashed by the books at the bottom of the bag. Instead of turning the bag upside down to remove all the little scraps and crumbs, I use a portable vacuum cleaner to remove them to save the hassle of cleaning the floor.

ii. Next, as the school bags tend to be big and may not fit in the usual pail size, you may soak them in a bath, filling the bath up with water and adding half a tablespoon of gentle detergent or laundry washing powder for 2 bags. I recycled the plastic bath tub that my children used when they were infants and toddlers, to soak the school bags now. Soak the bags for at least 15min and then give them a good scrub to those stubborn stains before rinsing (gentle reminder, lots of water is used to soak and rinse, consider recycling the water for scrubbing and cleaning the toilet, etc).

iii. To dry the bags, hang them upside down under the sun but it may take more than a day if there is not enough sun on that day. Henceforth, if your fabric care label indicates it is alright to tumble dry, it is so much faster to let the washing machine spin dry (I usually choose the spin dry mode for delicate fabric just to be safe) then dry the bags in the sun.

The entire washing process is less than 1 hour (not including drying time) and what is most satisfying is to see a gleaming, clean school bag as good as new ready to be used again.

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