My kids head back to school this week and that means we’ve been getting ready for the new school year with lots of prepping of our systems, getting school supplies, and just trying to get ready for the new routine. One of the things we’ve been doing the last few week is to check backpacks and lunchboxes and give them a good cleaning. This can be done at the end of the school year too, we’re just doing it now since I realized how bad my little guys backpack was – oops. I also try to clean them during the year at the end of each quarter.

Backpacks and lunch boxes CAN be cleaned – here’s how:

Empty the backpack and/or lunch box completely – open all the pockets and compartments and make sure that there isn’t anything hiding. Check the tags to double check that your item can be laundered in the washing machine. If it can’t follow the directions at the bottom of the post.

Place in your washing machine and wash on gentle with your favorite detergent. I use Clean Mama Laundry Detergent Spray – it works great on any laundry, including backpacks and lunchboxes. I used it to pre-treat a couple stained spots – my little guy has been using his backpack for fishing this summer and I didn’t wash it at the end of the school year. Remind me to never buy a white backpack again.

Add 1-2 scoops Clean Mama Oxygen Whitener (I added 2 large scoops to combat all the stains).

I washed this on the stain cycle to give it a little extra time to soak in the detergent, Oxygen Whitener and warm water.

Leave all the pockets open and hang to dry or place outside to dry in the sun. Check out this before and after! The bottom has a couple stains left but that side pocket is clean and the backpack is ready for another year.

Lunchboxes can be wiped out regularly (weekly or monthly) with a non-toxic all-purpose cleaner or a 50:50 water/white vinegar spray. This will keep the lunchbox clean and free from food spills and other lunch table germs. If your lunchbox is washable, you can launder it the same way you launder backpacks.

Looking for more back to school content? Head to this post for 3 Things to Organize Before Going Back to School.