Back to school season means moms everywhere are taking inventory of what is still in good condition from last year and budgeting and shopping for what the new school year calls for.
My kids are notoriously rough on things and I was nervous to make the investment in these Pottery Barn Kids backpacks. But, I got them on sale and have always heard good things about their quality. Plus, the patterns are just too cute! However, after a year of part time use, I can say I’m really impressed and it was a wise investment. If my kids haven’t found a way to break them, they are quite possibly indestructible. However, their backpacks were majorly due for a good cleaning.
Nolan’s backpack was in a little better shape, but only because it is such a dark color. Isla’s backpack is much lighter colored and hasn’t faired so well against kid grime. I forgot to take a before picture, but I’m sure you can use your imagination at just how dirty a light colored backpack could be.
I knew there had to be a way to wash these backpacks, but I was nervous I’d screw it up more. So, I did what every millennial mom would do- I took to the internet.
Now that I’ve successfully gone through the process, I thought I’d combine all the information I found in my research, as well as share some of the things you shared with me when I talked about this on Instagram Stories, just in case you have a dirty Pottery Barn Kids backpack laying around too. And while I can only speak to this brand, I’m sure this process would work with any kind of backpack.
How To Clean A Pottery Barn Kids Backpack
- Pretreat any stains. The bottom of the backpack was where most of the stains were concentrated, so I dissolved some OxyClean in warm water in a sink and set the backpack in for about 6 hours.
- Before putting the backpack in the washing machine, I sprayed it with Shout. This is my spray treatment of choice, because those are the kinds of things you have in your 30s, but I’m sure whichever one you prefer would work too.
- Put a tiny amount of detergent in the washing machine. I have a tray where I pour the detergent, and I did just enough to cover the bottom of the tray. You don’t want to overdo it because then the backpack will stay sudsy. I also added more OxyClean to the drum.
- For the first time, I put the washing machine on the gentle cycle. I recommend doing that the first time just to see how the backpack holds up.
- Don’t forget to double rinse! I think this is especially important if you are washing it on its own. As you’ll read below, I also washed it in on a regular setting with one rinse and it was fine.
- Air dry the backpack. Since it’s summer, mine was dry after a few hours in the backyard. But, if you’re doing this in winter, be sure to account for dry time. This might not be the task for a Sunday evening in February.
Tips & Tricks To Clean a Pottery Barn Kids Backpack
- I put a few towels in to help balance out my washing machine. You may not need to do that depending on how your washing machine works.
- Don’t skip the pretreating step. I did the first time and I had to wash it twice.
- Many of you told me that you just throw the backpack in with the regular wash and it comes out just fine. The silver lining of washing it twice was that the second time I just threw it in with a regular load on a regular setting (on your advice) and it turned out just fine!
- I haven’t tried this, but many of you tell me you do the same regularly with Pottery Barn Kids lunchboxes. This washes so easily, I’m totally a believer and plan to pick one of those up too. But, I’ll definitely be steering Isla towards a dark colored one because lunchboxes take a beating.
The bottom was definitely the dirtiest part. You can see in the pictures above, it cleaned up pretty well for the most part. The picture below shows one corner that is still dirty. But, it’s such an improvement overall, I’m counting this as a success!
Cleaning a Pottery Barn Lunch Box
After my success with the backpack, I tried my luck with the lunch box. I followed the same steps as above and had the same results. I was so relieved since the lunch box typically takes more of a beating than the backpack. You can read more about my lunch box essentials here.
Have you ever washed your kids’ backpacks? Or lunchboxes? Tell me what you use or how you do it in the comments!