How to Wash a Duffel Bag? A Complete Guide

How to Wash a Duffel Bag? A Complete Guide

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Are you wondering how to wash a duffel bag properly? If you are a regular traveler or are in the habit of going to the gym frequently, then you must be well accustomed to using a duffel bag. What’s more is that you also know that they get smelly and dirty pretty soon.

Duffel bags require regular cleaning, In this article, allow us to share with you exactly how it is done properly. Ready for your life to change? Then keep on reading!

Is it Important to Wash Duffel Bags?

Duffel bags are porous in nature, and thus, they have a tendency to trap dust and foul smells. Moreover, since they are often dropped on the floor, they can easily pick up more dirt.

If you take your duffel bag to workout sessions regularly, you must be carrying a lot of stuff including anywhere from dirty clothes and shoes to wet towels and post-workout snacks. Therefore, your bag can become extremely grimy quickly, effusing a sharp stench that is not only disgusting for one’s temperament but also incredibly unhygienic.

For this reason, it is highly essential that you give your duffel bag a good cleaning every once in a while. Now, before you get around to washing your duffel bag, it is important to understand that duffel bags can vary in terms of the material they’re a made up of.

How to Wash a Duffel Bag?

Different kinds of duffel bags have to be cleaned accordingly. There are mainly two types of duffel bags, both of which we will discuss today.

Washing Canvas Duffel Bags

Below are the simple steps for washing a canvas duffel bag:

  1. Wash the bag with antibacterial solution/soap and water. Make sure that you do not drench the bag in water completely, as doing so can spoil the fabric of the bag.
  2. Next, use laundry detergent to spot-clean any remaining stains.
  3. Blow dry any moist hardware (e.g., zippers and hinges) to ensure that no rusting or discoloration occurs.
  4. Once the bag is completely dry, turn it inside out, and spray with Febreze, or any other preferred air freshener. This will further douse any remaining dirty smells.
  5. Avoid using a highly chemical fragrance, as it may damage the material of the bag.
  6. Over time, the bag might once again retain its initial grimy condition. Thus, in order to prevent future stains and odors, it is best to spray the bag with Scotch Guard as well.

Washing Ballistic Nylon Duffel Bags

When it comes to cleaning a duffel bag that is made up of ballistic nylon, follow the steps below.

  1. Clean the bag carefully using antibacterial soap, mild water, and a sponge or a supple rag.
  2. Normally, it is characteristic of nylon to repel dirt and dust on its own. Thus, you will only need to wipe the bag. Make sure that you wipe the entire bag and not just the visible grimy areas as there may be dirt settled in the tiny nooks.
  3. Again, it is highly important to make sure that you avoid all chemical-based cleansers because those can easily damage the material of the bag.

Important Tips When Washing a Duffel Bag

Here are some important reminders that you want to keep in mind when washing duffel bags.

  • Remove all bits and pieces before washing

Before you begin wiping your bag with a wet towel or cloth, make sure that you get rid of all tiny pieces and bits of dirt by turning your bag upside down. It is best that you initially wipe the bag clean with a dry cloth and then, move towards washing it with soap.

  • Do not soak your bag in water

If you think that simply drenching your bag in water will cause it to become immaculate, then you couldn’t be more mistaken. Placing it under running water won’t do the trick. It is necessary that you cleanse it with detergent or antibacterial soap to ensure that no germs are left behind.

  • Avoid machine-washing in all cases

Even though it sounds like a much less laborious task, washing your canvas duffel bag in a washing machine is probably the worst idea that’d ever cross your mind. This is mainly because most canvas duffel bags are made up of waterproof materials, which would be compromised if washed in a machine.

Moreover, the fabric might also soften and wrinkle beyond repair. Dry-cleaning your duffel bag might melt the fabric too, and spoil the bag in the process. Therefore, avoid it at all costs.

  • Check the instructions on the label

There are different sorts of duffel bags available in the market that are made up of various types of materials. Before you begin cleaning your duffel bag, remember to have a careful look at the label first.

Most duffel bags have cleaning and drying instructions properly mentioned on the label. It is best that you follow those, as they are specifically designed for the particular duffel bag material.

How to Prevent Your Duffel Bag from Becoming Excessively Dirty Again

Learning about how to wash a duffel bag is not enough, you also need to learn how to keep it clean. Here are some useful tips to help you keep it clean for a long time.

  • Do not put your dirty workout joggers directly inside your bag. Slip a tea bag into each jogger to absorb bad odor and freshen their smell. Then, wrap each jogger in a shower cap to ensure that the dirt particles stuck on the soles don’t get loose in the bag.
  • It is common for people to spill their shampoo or any other liquid substance in their duffel bag. In this case, you can use baby wipes to scrub the specific regions.
  • In order to completely remove all dirt remnants from your bag, give the inside of the bag a thorough wipe with a lint roller, focusing on the seams and corners of the bag. The roller will be able to reach into the nooks and crannies and remove most of the smut.
  • It is not unusual for your duffel bag to develop a bad smell within days. To combat the stench, you can try tossing a fresh dryer sheet in the bag.


Your duffel bag must be in regular use if you carry it to the gym almost every day. In this case, it is bound to get smelly. The vile smell of long-kept workout shoes and sweaty clothes can be severely discomforting. Thus, it is important that you clean it frequently, and in the right way.

Though duffel bags can be very reliable travel or gym companions, it is quite evident that they require regular maintenance. However, you don’t need to buy a new duffel bag every so often. A duffel bag can be easily scrubbed and well-cleansed at home.

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