Skip links
Duffel Bag

Duffel Bag Care: Wash & Maintain Every Material Type

Have you ever wondered how to keep your trusty duffel bag looking fresh and clean? You’re not alone. Duffel bags, whether used for gym workouts or weekend getaways, often take a beating and can quickly become dirty and smelly. In this guide, we’ll also cover how to remove odors from your duffel bag, ensuring it not only looks clean but also smells fresh.

In this article, we’ll guide you through the process of washing your duffel bag. We’ll share top tips and tricks to ensure your bag stays in tip-top shape, extending its life and keeping it as good as new. Your role in this process is crucial. So, if you’re ready to roll up your sleeves and give your bag the TLC it deserves, let’s dive right in.

Understanding Your Duffel Bag’s Material

Firstly, it’s crucial to comprehend the material of your duffel bag. This knowledge empowers you to use the proper cleaning techniques, ensuring your bag’s longevity. Duffel bags generally come in three primary materials: leather, canvas, and synthetic fibers—like nylon or polyester. Let’s delve into each of these:

  1. Leather: Acknowledged for their durability and elegance, leather bags often require special handling. A gentle washcloth with warm, soapy water is a safe option for cleaning leather. Still, avoid full immersion in water, ruling out the washing machine route.
  2. Canvas: Canvas bags, praised for their sturdiness, allow for a more thorough clean. Depending on the bag’s care label, you’d stick with warm, soapy water or even a delicate cycle in the washer.
  3. Synthetic Fibers: Bags from synthetic materials such as nylon or polyester are the most durable and water-resistant, according to the Cornell University Library. They can be machine-washed, conditional on their care label approval.

Moreover, understanding your bag’s interior fabric proves equally essential. Lining materials such as cotton or synthetic blends don’t respond well to harsh cleaning techniques. Thus, handwashing becomes the preferred method.

Lastly, always remember to review the bag’s care label. It provides the manufacturer’s specific instructions for cleaning. So, observing these guidelines is paramount in maintaining your bag’s quality and lifespan. Not following these instructions could lead to color fading, fabric damage, or even the bag losing its shape.

After grasping your bag’s material composition, you’d be better equipped to wash it appropriately. Our next section, “Cleaning Preparations,” will guide you through the preparations for the washing process in light of your bag’s make-up.

Preparing Your Duffel Bag for Washing

Emphasizing on preparation becomes crucial when you’re about to wash a duffel bag. Consider these steps to get your duffel bag ready for washing, thereby maintaining the shape integrity and the fabric quality. This includes ensuring the bag is not overstuffed, using a gentle washing cycle, and avoiding excessive agitation during the washing process.

1. Empty Your Bag: Ensure it’s free of contents. Shake your bag upside down to retrieve small items specifically. This practice optimizes the washing process; the bag not only gets a thorough cleaning but also prevents damage to small objects that you might find misplaced, such as keys or coins.

2. Check for Stains: Stains become remarkably stubborn if not treated immediately. Before a complete wash, attempt to remove such stains, if there are any, manually. This could entail the use of a soft brush and gentle detergent. Upon inspection, focus on spots like the bottom of the bag and inside pockets where stains often occur.

3. Unzip All Zippers: Every compartment, main or auxiliary, must remain open during the washing process. Closed zips hamper the cleaning of inside pockets. Plus, keeping zipper heads at the ‘open’ position mitigates the risk of damage during machine washing. Additionally, you can clean the zippers and other hardware of your bag using a soft brush and mild soap solution, ensuring they remain functional and free from dirt or grime.

4. Remove Detachable Parts: Some duffel bags feature removable shoulder straps or name tags. If yours is one of them, remove such detachable parts before washing. By doing so, you’re saving these components from potential washing-related damages.

5. Turn the Bag Inside Out: This action encourages a thorough cleanse. It allows soap or detergent to penetrate the interior fabric effectively, ensuring a comprehensive cleaning approach.

Making these small but significant steps a part of your bag-washing routine contributes to preserving your bag’s quality and lifespan. Thus, preparing your duffel bag prior to washing shouldn’t be an overlooked task, rather it’s a testament to your bag’s prolonged usability. Additionally, storing your duffel bag in a cool, dry place, away from direct sunlight and extreme temperatures, can further extend its lifespan.

The Washing Process

Upon completing the preliminary steps, your most fundamental task, washing the duffel bag, comes into play. First, opt for handwashing when cleaning a duffel bag, especially when it’s made from sensitive materials, such as leather and canvas. Use mild, non-bleach detergent, mixing one teaspoon with four cups of warm (not hot!) water. Avoid harsh chemicals because they could fade or damage the fabric’s color.

Immerse your bag into the soapy solution. Rub its surface gently with your hands or a soft sponge and tackle tough stains. Remember to pay extra attention to soiled areas, washing them thoroughly with care. After cleaning, drain the soapy water from the bucket or sink and refill it with fresh water. Rinse your bag until any traces of soapsuds disappear.

Second, when washing a machine-friendly duffel bag, choose a gentle cycle. Combining cold water with a small amount of gentle laundry detergent helps keep the integrity of the bag’s threads and colors intact. Take precious note not to add bleach or fabric softener, for these ingredients wreak havoc on specific fabrics.

Once the washing cycle concludes, visually check the bag. If any soap residue remains, go for an extra rinse. An imperative checkpoint is to confirm that you’ve rinsed the detergent to avert potential fabric damage.

Post-washing, avoid wringing or twisting your bag. Instead, blot it with a dry towel to extract excess water. Then, air-dry the bag. This method is preferred over using a dryer as it helps maintain the bag’s shape and prevents potential heat damage. Ensure it’s completely dry before storing it to prevent molding or a foul smell.

Following these specific washing procedures offers an effective clean for your duffel bags without jeopardizing their appearances or durability. Rest assured, stick to these techniques, and you’ll keep your bag in optimal condition for all future adventures.

Drying Your Washed Duffel Bag

After meticulously washing your bag, the drying process starts. This stage requires careful attention, as it significantly impacts the durability and overall condition of your duffel bag.

Start with pat-drying, which means gently pressing the towel against the bag’s surface, not wringing, after washing. Use a dry, absorbent towel to blot out excess water gently. Do this methodically to retain the bag shape and prevent distortion, especially with bags made of sensitive materials.

Position the duffel bag in a well-ventilated area for air drying, the best method for drying your bag entirely. Air drying maintains the bag’s shape, fabric integrity, and color vibrancy. Exposing your bag to harsh sunlight may lead to color fading and fabric premature aging, so it is better to place it in a shaded but airy location.

Ensure all the bag’s compartments are adequately opened. Compartments, like pockets or side pouches, need to be kept open to allow maximum air circulation. Simply stuffing crumpled papers inside smaller pockets helps maintain their shape while drying.

Be patient and allow ample time for your bag to dry completely. The drying time often ranges from 24 to 48 hours, depending on your bag’s material and the drying area’s conditions. Rushing the drying process through artificial means—like using a hairdryer or a heater—may cause fabric shrinkage or hardening, damaging your bag’s durability and aesthetic.

If odors remain even after cleaning, consider using odor eliminators. Put a few drops of essential oils or sprinkle baking soda inside your bag, ensuring a fresh and clean scent.

Remember, routine care prolongs your bag’s life. Hence, regular cleaning, proper drying, and observance of the advice above increase the longevity of your duffel bag, maintaining its functionality and appearance for years.

Tips to Maintain Your Duffel Bag Post-Washing

Post-washing and proper maintenance are essential factors to your duffel bag’s longevity and functionality. The following are robust post-washing practices to ensure your bag remains in excellent shape for years.

Regularly inspect your bag. Look for any weak points in the stitching, zippers malfunctioning, or strap wear and tear over time. After the washing process, early detection of damages ensures you promptly schedule repairs without exacerbating the situation.

Ensure proper storage. Store your duffel bag in a dry, ventilated space to prolong its life. This keeps away dampness and curbs the growth of mold, bacteria, and offensive smells that might taint your bag after the washing process.

Avoid overpacking. Regularly overloading your bag strains its fabric and might cause stitch tears. While your bag might accommodate more items, remember to balance the quantity and the durability of the bag.

Inflammatory substances like paints, markers, or sharp objects like scissors should be stored separately. They may tear or stain your bag, and the stains might be tough to remove during the washing process, leading to the deterioration of the bag’s aesthetics.

Use fabric protection sprays. Protection sprays safeguard your bag from water damage or stains, ensuring it maintains its quality even after washing. However, verify the manufacturer’s instructions before spraying the bag’s material.

Avoid practical exposure to harsh elements. As the bag is prone to wear and tear, exposing your duffel to extreme heat, harsh chemicals, or direct sunlight fades the color and degenerates the material, especially after washing.

Ultimately, the post-washing care for your duffel bag is significant in its durability, functionality, and aesthetic preservation. The above practices ensure your bag remains in an optimum state, extending its useful life.


So, you’ve got all the tips and tricks to keep your duffel bag looking its best. Whether leather, canvas, or synthetic, the proper cleaning and maintenance techniques can make a difference. Remember to prep your bag before washing, choose the correct cleaning method, and avoid damaging substances. Don’t forget about post-washing care—it’s just as important. Regular checks for damage, proper storage, and sensible packing will ensure your bag stays in top shape for years. And remember, a well-maintained duffel bag isn’t just about aesthetics—it’s about durability and functionality, too. With the proper care, your duffel bag won’t just look good. It’ll last longer and serve you better. So go ahead and give your duffel bag the care it deserves. You’ll be glad you did.

For those who prefer professional laundry care, Clotheslyne provides an ideal solution. Through the app, you can hire Clotheslyners for expert laundry services, including washing, drying, and folding of clothes and bulky items.

Choosing Clotheslyne ensures your laundry is handled with care and expertise. It’s convenient for those who value their time and prefer professional laundry services.

To use Clotheslyne, download the iOS Apple App or Google Play Store Android app to schedule your laundry pick up.

You can also schedule your laundry pick up through our web portal.

Fill up a tall kitchen bag full of clothes. A Clotheslyner in your community will pick it up and deliver it back to you washed, dried, and folded in 48 hours. It’s that simple.

Got a question for us? Head over to our contact us page and make a custom request by email or by phone! We’re here to help.

FREE pickup and delivery laundry services for less than drop-off at your local laundromat!