Can You Put A Duffel Bag In The Washer? (Find Out Now!)

Matthew Mountain
by Matthew Mountain

Duffel bags are versatile and convenient, and they can be made of leather, fabric, or synthetic material. Duffle bags serve well as gym, travel, and sports bags, and they’re also used by non-commissioned personnel in the military.

Those who use duffel bags understand that these bags can get dirty after awhile, and such is why knowing how to properly clean a duffel bag is important. But can duffle bags be put in the washing machine? Such is the question this article answers.

Some duffel bags are washer-safe whereas others aren’t. Before you put your duffel bag in the washer, you must check its care tag to see whether or not its material is machine washable. Duffel bags that are made out of nylon and polyester are machine washable, whereas cotton, canvas, vinyl, acrylic, and linen bags should be washed by hand.

Which Duffle Bag Materials Can Be Washed?

Before you attempt to wash your duffle bag, you must first make sure that the material is washable. In other words, if your duffel bag is made of leather or suede, you’ll want to ensure the bag doesn’t get wet, as water can damage these materials, often irrevocably.

But most duffel bag materials are washable, and some common washable duffel bag materials are listed below:

  • Cotton
  • Canvas
  • Nylon
  • Polyester
  • Vinyl
  • Acrylic
  • Linen

While all these materials are washable, each one has its own washing process. For example, cotton duffel bags detail washing instructions on their care labels, whereas canvas duffel bags must only be washed by hand. To ensure an attempt at cleaning doesn’t ruin your bag, look up which cleaning method is best before you reach for the soap and scrub brush.

Which Duffle Bags Are Safe for the Washing Machine?

Some duffle bags will hold up well in the washing machine, but most won’t. Those that are made of nylon and polyester can go in the washing machine.

And to ensure the zippers and buckles stay intact throughout the wash cycle, you should put your duffel bag in a pillowcase before putting it in the washing machine. You should also make sure that the washing machine is on gentle and that the water is cool. For a cleaning agent, use a mild detergent.

Tips To Consider Before Washing a Duffel Bag in the Washing Machine

Before you put your duffel bag in the washing machine, you should turn it inside out. Doing so ensures the duffle bag gets thoroughly cleaned.

You should also avoid using bleach when cleaning the duffel bag, as this can discolor the bag and even ruin its appearance completely.

The duffel bag should be washed with a load of towels, bedding, or another kind of thick linen. You shouldn’t wash a duffle bag with delicate items or normal clothes, as it may damage these items. And washing a duffle bag by itself is a huge waste of water.

When the rinse cycle has concluded, reshape your duffel bag and then let it dry out naturally.

While putting a duffel bag in the washer is undoubtedly the fastest way to thoroughly clean this item, using the washer is likely to damage the duffel bag if its material is not washer-safe. For this reason, you must check the bag’s care tag before putting it in the washer. If the tag is absent, and therefore you don’t know whether the bag is washer-safe or not, then you should play it safe and gently wash the bag by hand.

How to Properly Wash a Duffle Bag

If you’re unable to use the washing machine—and you need to get your duffel bag cleaned—you can wash it by hand, provided you have a bathtub, mild detergent, a scrub brush, and access to plenty of cool water. Below are the steps you’ll need to follow to thoroughly clean your duffel bag by hand. Keep in mind that this is a time-consuming cleaning process, and once you get started you shouldn’t quit until the cleaning process is complete.

Step One: Clean the Duffle Bag in a Bathtub

When it’s time to clean your duffle bag, head to the nearest bathtub, as this fixture provides plenty of space for cleaning. Just make sure the tub is empty, as you don’t want the bag to be over saturated with water. If you have a deep sink, this can also be used, but most sinks aren’t big enough to accommodate a duffel bag.

Step Two: Creating Your Cleaning Solution

Mix a quarter cup of mild detergent with cool water in a bucket. This will be your cleaning solution.

Step Three: Start Scrubbing

Dip your scrub brush in the bucket and then use this soapy brush to clean the exterior of the duffel bag; don’t forget about the straps. Once you clean the exterior, scrub the interior by turning the bag inside out.

Step Four: Rinse

Using the shower head, rinse away the suds. Remember the duffel bag shouldn’t get too wet, or else it may take forever to dry. The water pressure should be low as well. If you don’t have a shower head, grab a cup of water and use this to rinse off the bag.

Step Five: Let the Bag Dry for an Hour

After the duffel bag has been scrubbed and rinsed, you should dry it out for one hour. Set a towel down and put the duffel bag on it so the bottom of the bag doesn’t get dirty or create puddles.

Step Six: Wiping the Bag Down

Once the bag has had ample time to dry, grab some sanitizing wipes and wipe down the bag’s interior and exterior.

Step Seven: Removing Stubborn Stains

If you notice stubborn stains on the outside of the bag, grab a stain-remover and apply this to the stain. Now repeat the rinsing process. You can also try white vinegar, as this is good at removing stains.

Step Eight: Final Dry

After the stain-removal process is complete, turn your bag inside out and hang it up to dry. It shouldn’t be that wet at this point, so natural air drying will do the rest. When you dry a duffle bag naturally, you don’t have to worry about shrinkage or damage.

Matthew Mountain
Matthew Mountain

Matt loves everything DIY. He has been learning and practicing different trades since he was a kid, and he's often the first one called when a friend or family member needs a helping hand at home. Matt loves to work with wood and stone, and landscaping is by far his most favorite pastime.

More by Matthew Mountain