Can I Wash A Duffel Bag In The Washing Machine?

Duffel bags are great to bring on a short overnight or weekend trip. However, since duffel bags are typically made of fabric, they can get dirty pretty quickly. If you've asked yourself if you can throw your duffel in the washing machine, you're in luck! We've got the answers for you.

Duffel bags that are made from nylon or polyester material can be washed in the washing machine. Other duffel bags made of canvas or cotton have different cleaning methods and you should not put them in the washing machine.

It might be a little surprising to know that there are specific care methods for duffel bags, but these will definitely make them last longer. Keep reading because we will be giving advice on how to wash duffel bags and how to keep them clean and odor free.

A young woman putting laundry on the washing machine, Can I Wash A Duffel Bag In The Washing Machine?

Can I Wash A Duffel Bag In The Washing Machine?

If you are planning to go on a quick overnight or weekend trip, there is no need to pull out your trusty suitcase. For short vacations such as these, you can use the classic duffel bag—a bag that is spacious enough for your clothes yet easy to bring around with you.

Grey duffel gym bag for sport and fitness

There are many duffel bags available on the market today. Originally, duffel bags were only common in gyms and exercise places. However, more people have been using duffel bags for travel because of their practicality and easy carriage. They are also very sturdy, which is great for traveling.

Unfortunately, one of the problems of owning a duffel bag is its ability to get dirty pretty easily. Duffel bags typically have a fabric exterior. Just like most fabrics, duffel bags can easily get dirty from dirt, water exposure, and other elements.

They are also always in contact with the floor which makes them easier to get dirty. Fortunately, despite the fact that it's easy to get a duffel bag dirty, washing it is just as easy.

For bags made of nylon or polyester material, you can throw them in the washing machine. Use a gentle cycle to wash them and hang them to dry. However, duffel bags made of leather or canvas must be cleaned or washed by hand to avoid damaging the material.

How Do I Wash A Duffel Bag?

Washing a duffel bag can be done either by using the washing machine or by hand. Always remember to check the materials of your bag before washing to make sure that you will be using the right cleaning materials.

Most duffel bags can be washed in the washing machine, particularly those made from nylon, polyester, acrylic, vinyl, or linen. Some canvas or cotton duffel bags may be washed in the same manner, but make sure to check the label first.

To wash a duffel bag, you must always use a mild detergent for cleaning. This will prevent discoloration or other adverse effects on the fabric of your bags. Never use bleach on your detergent. There are other ways to disinfect or remove the odor from the duffel bags.

Get this mild detergent on Amazon.

Washing machine method

  1. Remove everything that is inside the duffel bag. Unlatch the straps if they are removable.
  2. Put the duffel bag inside a pillowcase to prevent the zippers and other hardware from scratching the inside of your washing machine.
  3. Set your machine to a gentle cycle using cold water. Use a mild detergent when you run the load.
  4. When the wash is complete, shake the bag to remove excess water.
  5. Turn your bag inside out and hang the duffel bag on the line to dry.

Hand wash method

  1. Put your empty duffel bag in the bathtub.
  2. Mix 1/4 ounces of mild detergent in a bucket of cold water. Mix thoroughly.
  3. Using a brush, thoroughly work the soap into the bag to deep clean it.
  4. Rinse off all the soap using the showerhead and let it air dry for about an hour.
  5. Vacuum the inside of the duffel bag to remove small debris.
  6. Wipe the insides with disinfecting wipes to remove the odor.
  7. Spot clean the exterior of the bag using a stain remover if you find tough stains.
  8. Turn the bag inside out and let hang to air dry completely.

Is There A Way To Remove Odor From Duffel Bags?

Young man packing sports bag on table

Duffel bags can get a little stinky, especially if you've left items inside that can cause the odors to linger. Items like food, dirty clothes, sweaty items, or moisture from spills can cause odors in your bag. Most bags will smell fresh after a wash, but some bags need extra help.

Air out the bags

Sometimes, the quickest way to get rid of the odor is to let the air wash away the smell. Open up those stinky bags and leave them out in the open to allow the air to circulate. If you can, leave it out in the sun to dry out any possible wet spots on the bag. The heat also helps in deodorizing your bag.

Use a homemade vinegar solution

Baking soda lemon vinegar

Although vinegar may smell a little too funky on its own, a homemade solution with vinegar is great at deodorizing items. A quick wipe using a damp rag with this solution can easily remove the smelly odors from the inside of your bag.

To make the solution, mix 1 part of warm water with 1 part of white vinegar. Add a drop of dish soap and shake it to create some suds. Dampen the rag with the solution and wipe the inside of the duffel bag completely. Make sure to wipe all the insides and leave it out to air dry.

Use baking soda

Baking soda is very popular for neutralizing odors inside refrigerators to smelly bags. Just sprinkle some baking soda inside your duffel bag to remove the odor and vacuum it after a few hours. Alternatively, you can use baking soda pods for deodorizing refrigerators or drawers on your bags.

Check out these baking soda pods on Amazon.

Spray on a deodorizer

Deo spray

Deodorizing sprays or odor eliminators are great at instantly removing these smells from the bags. All you need to do is to spray the insides thoroughly and let the product work. This option is also great if you need to deodorize your bag even while you are traveling.

Grab this odor eliminator on Amazon.

Another option would be to use some disinfecting wipes and clean the insides of the bag. These wipes often have very strong disinfectants that can kill the odor-causing bacteria. Make sure that you wipe the insides properly when using them.

Check out these disinfecting wipes on Amazon.

Pack some kitty litter

It's not just your kitten's business that kitty litter can deodorize, but it can also help absorb the odors from your bag as well. Most kitty litters have deodorizing properties that are great for very stinky bags. Leave some kitty litter inside an open container and seal the bag for a week to deodorize them.

Grab this kitty litter on Amazon.

Leave a dryer sheet

Box of laundry dryer sheets

Aside from keeping your linens clean, dryer sheets are also great at deodorizing and keeping the insides of your bag smelling fresh. Most dryer sheets have a strong lingering scent so you can use them to mask the odors in the bag. Leave a sheet inside and seal the bag to keep the scent in.

If you are storing your bags, you can also leave a dryer sheet inside to give them a fresh scent. Simply replace the sheets every once in a while so your bags stay smelling nice and clean.

Check out these dryer sheets on Amazon.

Get some activated charcoal

Charcoal on a wooden spoon

Another great way to keep bags smelling nice and clean is to use activated charcoal. Get some odor-absorbing activated charcoal bags to deodorize the insides of your duffels. You can keep the duffel bags open to allow air to pass, but you can also leave it inside your bags while storing them.

See these activated charcoal bags on Amazon.

Final Thoughts

Duffel bags are great travel bags that you can take with you on short trips. If you end up with a dirty bag after your vacation, don't worry because they are really easy to clean. Just a quick spin in the washing machine and they'll be good as new. Don't forget to sanitize them, and you'll be ready for a new adventure.