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Why (and how) you should wash your backpack this weekend

Join the rest of the RiutBag users and share your location on Instagram and Twitter with hashtag #livingoutofariutbag whether you're away on business or for pleasure.

Hot summer days. Going to work every day. Heading on holiday to an even warmer place. Whether we like it or not, our backpacks take in a lot of sweat and dust during the summer months. Sweat breaks down the fibres in the backpack materials in the long run. And, for those of us who want a smart looking backpack, Cordura nylon backpacks come out of the washing machine looking like new. 

So, why should you wash your backpack? The point of washing your backpack is to lengthen its lifetime and keep it looking at its best. That's particularly important if you've invested in a high quality backpack. But you've got to wash it in the right way to avoid causing them more harm than good.

3 Simple rules of washing a backpack to lengthen its life time

Rule 1: do not use detergent

I make RiutBags. They are made from waterproof Cordura, high quality 1000D nylon, which is compounded with EVA and there's a TPU base. These are complex plastics that are waterproof. They respond really well to being washed but their waterproofing is broken down by detergent. To wash the backpack but make sure its waterproofing lasts for years and years, wash without adding washing powder or soap.

Rule 2: keep the temperature at 40 degrees centigrade

Whilst the individual materials can handle higher temperatures, some backpacks use adhesives, printing or compounded materials inside. Our goal is to maintain the rucksack over time and keep it at its best. So washing your backpack once or twice a year at 40 degrees will wash it thoroughly without breaking down plastics or glues with high temperatures.

Rule 3: dry naturally

You've come this far, the final step is crucial. Don't put your backpack in the tumble dryer. The short term high heat can, again, break down the waterproofing or the other glues and plastics in your rucksack. Let your backpack dry naturally.How to wash and dry a backpack or RiutBag Lie it as open as possible in the shower or bath. If your backpack is a RiutBag, open it suitcase style for the quickest drying method. Depending on the time of year, temperature and humidity, it might take 12-24 hours to dry. If you have a Monday to Friday job, put it in the wash on the Friday night so it's dry for Monday morning.

Bonus tip: 

So you don't use a whole washing load for one backpack, throw in your trainers and other backpacks in the house hold that haven't been washed in a while. They will all benefit from being washed without detergent, at 40 degrees and dried naturally too. To help dry your trainers quicker, stuff newspaper inside too.


RiutBag is secure backwards backpack. When you wear it, it has no zips accessible to anyone else because all the zips are against your back. It was designed by Sarah Giblin to help you commute or travel with peace of mind, confidence and calm anywhere in the world. She crowdfunded the idea on Kickstarter, builds new designs with user feedback and checks every RiutBag individually at the factory before it is shipped to you. Choose your RiutBag at

Join the rest of the RiutBag users and share your location on Instagram and Twitter with hashtag #livingoutofariutbag whether you're away on business or for pleasure.