School supplies add up quick, and I had some sticker shock when looking at backpacks.
Then I realized Mr R already had a backpack. A cool backpack, the kind with a brand name and straps for his skateboard. (Not the Dora one. That belongs to the 6 year old.) And I’m more than happy to send the kids off with a free school backpack- one less thing to have to spend my hard earned cash on.
The problem? It was from last year and looked like it had been dragged all over a middle school for a year. Still, it was in good shape. The zippers worked and there weren’t any major holes.
So, we washed it.
Washing a backpack will save money and even if your kids get new ones for school, you can use old backpacks for all kinds of things. They can be emergency kits for cars, store extra supplies, be taken on hikes or picnics, or serve as a diaper bag.
Knowing how to wash a backpack is helpful if you have children who forget about their snack. Ewww.
Washing a backpack is easy! Sometimes they will have a care tag inside, but most of my kids’ school type backpack didn’t have one. However, they are all basically made out of plastic and polyester or cotton canvas. (Note: do not put leather or unwashable materials in the washing machine! Use common sense, please.)
First, check ALL the pockets. Make sure it is completely empty. Dump it upside down and shake all the crumbs out of it. Make sure there’s not a red marker in the little pencil pocket. Take off any doodads, buckles, clips, or keyrings.
If you have a top loading washer, put it in a pillowcase so the straps don’t wrap around the agitator. I have an HE front loader, so I just threw it in as is.
Since most backpacks have plastic liners and buckles, use cold water and use the delicates cycle. Wash a couple at once or throw in some towels with it to keep your load even.
Use regular laundry soap, but use just a little bit. I use about 1 tbs. of my homemade laundry detergent for our HE washer. If your backpack is heavily stained, Oxiclean might help. You can also pretreat any particularly dirty areas with stain pretreater or just rub a wet bar of soap on them.
Do NOT put it in the dryer. When your backpack is finished washing, turn it inside out and lay flat or hang dry. When the interior is thoroughly dry, flip it and dry the outside.
Yes, we homeschool most of the children but we still use backpacks for all kinds of things- packing for trips, diaper bags, hikes, and extracurricular activities. And Mr X is headed off to public kindergarten this year, I’m glad I was able to clean up an old pack just for him!
So. Go forth. Reduce, reuse, recycle and save some money, too!
Are you reusing anything this school year?