How to Clean a Biking Backpack in 3 Steps

Every serious biker that rides a commuter bike has at least one or two backpacks. The biking backpack is an essential item to have whenever you hit the road for a long ride. It keeps your stuff safe and easier to carry.

However, if you want to extend the life of your backpack and share even more cycling adventures with it, you need to take good care. Keep in mind that the biking backpack is a more expensive investment than regular backpacks so give it the attention and care that it deserves.

In this post, I’ll tell you how to clean a biking backpack and ensure that your faithful riding companion always stays in perfect condition.

Cleaning Your Biking Backpack

Cleaning your biking backpack is a fairly easy process but you need to set aside enough time to ensure that everything is done properly.

All you need to do is to follow these simple steps of our step-by-step guide on how to clean a cycling backpack.

1. Start with the Hydration Bladder

The hydration bladder is one of the most important components of your motorcycle riding backpack. It keeps you hydrated and healthy when you’re on the road.

It’s, therefore, important to ensure that your hydration bladder stays clean all the time. Failure to clean the hydration bladder properly can lead to the accumulation of bacteria in the bladder and affect the quality of your water. The last thing you need is to get sick in the middle of a long ride.

So, take time to clean your hydration bladder by following these simple steps:

  • The first thing you should do is to empty and rinse the hydration bladder. You should always do this to eliminate mold and mildew and to ensure that the bladder doesn’t develop foul smells. Start by emptying the hydration bladder then put in warm water and swish it around for a few minutes before pouring out the warm water.
  • Get a soft sponge and mild soap to clean out the interior part of the hydration bladder. Then rinse it again with warm water. It’s also advised to clean the exterior part of the bladder with mild soap and a sponge.
  • It’s not easy to scrub every corner of the bladder using a sponge. You’ll need a stronger cleaning solution. You can easily create one by mixing half a teaspoon of bleach with two tablespoons of baking soda. Put the mixture into the bladder swish a bit and let it rest for half an hour. To give it a pressure test you can also add a little lemon juice to the cleaning solution.
  • After around 30 minutes, rinse again using warm water. Brings it over and over again until you’re sure that the cleaning solution is completely removed.
  • You can then prop open the bladder and let it air to dry. Make sure it stays open because their material tends to stick together and may not dry completely. 

2. Clean the Biking Backpack’s Exterior 

Next, you’ll need to clean the exterior of your cycling backpack. Start by removing everything from inside by emptying all pockets and even shaking it out to ensure that nothing remains stuck inside. Remember to unclip hooks, straps, and other accessories. After you have completely emptied the waterproof backpack you can then start cleaning it.

There are two ways of cleaning a biking backpack depending on whether it’s machine washable or not. In this guide on how to clean a biking backpack we look at how you can wash both machine washable and non-machine washable backpacks.

You can easily tell if your backpack is machine washable by checking the manufacturer’s instructions. If this option is available simply put the backpack into the washing machine inside a large mesh laundry bag. Make sure to put it on a gentle washing cycle.

If the biking backpack isn’t machine-washable you may have to wash it by hand using liquid laundry detergent. Simply put it in a tub or bucket of warm water, add a little detergent, and leave it to soak for 10 minutes. You may need to let it soak for up to 20 minutes depending on how dirty it is. 

Most backpacks like bicycle camera bags come with leather parts so be careful when cleaning it to avoid damaging the leather parts. You can use a soft sponge to wash every part of the backpack. Then rinse it and air it to dry. 

There are some backpacks that aren’t washable at all. Such backpacks come with instructions from the manufacturer stating that they shouldn’t be washed at all. If your backpack falls in this category gently remove dirt and stains using a piece of wet clean cloth. Just dab gently on the dirty or stained sections of the bag. Then wipe it down with a towel and air it to dry.

Whichever method you choose to clean your backpack, keep in mind that you should never put it in a dryer. Always leave it to dry out in the open. Just hang it upside down with all pockets open. Don’t dry the backpack directly in the sunlight because the sun’s UV rays can easily fade the fabric and affect the durability and look of your biking backpack.

3. Remove Tough Stains

Another important thing to consider in this guide on how to clean a biking backpack is those tough stains that your backpack picks when you’re out on the road.

You can easily remove tough stains using a mixture of water and laundry detergent. Wash away the stains using a soft bristle brush and rinse the backpack with cool water.

Remember to remove all stains in the straps and other textured fabric parts. Scrub gently to avoid damaging the fabric.


With the right care, your backpack will last longer in perfect condition. It’s recommended to clean it after every long ride.

Remember the longer you go without cleaning sensitive parts such as the backpack’s hydration bladder, the more you expose yourself to bacterial infections.

It’s, therefore, important to know how to clean a biking backpack. We hope this quick guide has been helpful. Ride on!

Shailen Vandeyar

A proud Indian origin Kiwi who loves to plant trees and play with my pet bunny when not out doing about every kind of biking and experiencing the occasional tumble. Ready to share the ride with you.

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