Can You Wash a North Face Backpack? 

 May 7, 2022

By  Diane Wuthrich

The North Face backpacks are designed for adventure while resisting wear and tear. However, it’s inevitable for them to get dirty, so many people wonder if it’s possible to wash them.

The best way to wash a North Face Backpack is through spot cleaning using a cloth dampened in water only, wiping through the dirty or affected areas. If this isn’t enough, you can use a wet cloth soaked in a mild detergent for deeper cleaning. Never submerge the bag fully in water.

The North Face backpacks are made with specially-designed fabrics, so utmost care should be taken when washing them. Read on below to learn more about properly washing your backpack.

How to Wash a North Face Backpack

All North Face backpacks are made with fabrics that have been engineered to be either waterproof or water resistant.

These include:

-   The North Face Women’s Jester Backpack
-   The North Face Borealis Backpack
-   The North Face Daypack

While you can wash these backpacks that are meant to withstand harsh conditions and climates, care must be taken when doing so. Traditional washing methods of soaking a bag in water and soap, or putting them through the washing machine should not be done with North Face backpacks because it can damage the very fabric that makes them durable, and either water repellent or waterproof.

In addition, if a North Face backpack has been ruined because of improper washing, this can void the warranty that they come with.

According to the North Face Product Care page, spot cleaning using a damp cloth is the best way to clean their backpacks. They also state that they advise against completely submerging the backpacks in water, which means that washing machines should not be used.

So what should you do if you need to wash your backpack?

What You’ll Need

Here’s a list of materials you will need for cleaning North Face backpacks; these are inexpensive and can readily be found on Amazon (note: we earn a small commission from Amazon for items purchased):

Damp Cloth

A damp cloth, though microfiber cloths are the most effective at absorbing dirty and stains


A toothbrush for gentle yet thorough cleaning in the zipper, seams, and other solid components of the backpack

Bleach Free Detergent

3. A gentle, bleach-free detergent. Nikwax products are created especially for fabrics that have been treated with DWR (durable water resistant) coating, such as many of the North Face backpacks though other mild cleansers are good alternatives such as these:

The Process

Spot Cleaning

If your North Face backpack has just a few stains inside, outside, or both, dampen the cloth with some water and run it through the affected areas. For stubborn stains on the fabric, dampen the cloth in a solution of the gentle cleansers mentioned above and water, or follow the Nikwax instructions then wipe it on the affected area.

The backpack’s solid components such as the zipper and buckles can be cleaned using a combination of the brush and cloth.

Cleaning The Backpack’s Interior

If you’ve taken your backpack to a few trips and see that its insides have seen better days, open the backpack inside out to give it a good wipe down with the cloth and cleaner. Be sure that all the compartments and pockets have been emptied out so that you can pay close attention to these small areas while cleaning. Use a dry microfiber towel to soak up any excess water, then let it air dry.

Cleaning The Backpack’s Exterior

If your backpack exterior is extremely dirty or muddy, it requires a thorough wipe down. Soak the cloth in the detergent solution and wring it dry as you gently go through the entire exterior. When reusing the towel, be sure that you have washed out dirt from the previous wipe to ensure you are always applying a clean towel after a re-soak in the solution.

Use a clean, dry microfiber cloth to wipe it down and get rid of excess soap and water. Allow the bag to air dry for a few hours.


Place the backpack in an area where it can slowly dry away from the heat of the sun. Don’t hang it outside but rather leave it in a dry place, such as your garage or patio, and under the shade.

Never put your North Face backpack in a dryer or force it into any other quick-drying method. This can seriously damage the fabric or even result in shrinkage.

Important: Remember to only use detergent or Nikwash when you have encountered stains that are stubborn to remove.


Washing your North Face backpack is an essential way to keep your investment looking and performing well for the adventures you’ll be needing it for. Just be sure to clean it gently using the steps mentioned above, and avoid submerging it in water or using a washing machine.

About the author

Diane is our head writer and researcher for our backpack informational content. Her everyday carry is a Herschel.

{"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}