Camera bags are utility items made to be used out in the field. They are designed to be taken into all sorts of environments, encountering all kinds of terrain and conditions experiencing their fair share of wear and tear.
Over the course of its lifetime, your camera bag will become dirty, stained and maybe even smell a little funky! Yes, like everything, your bag is going to need the occasional clean. The good news is caring for and washing your camera bag is easy, and doing so will prolong the life of your bag.
4 Steps For Washing A Camera Bag
Washing your camera bag isn’t as simple as throwing it in the machine; you need to take care to avoid damaging materials, zips and internal features. Follow these four steps, and your camera bag will not only be clean, it will also be refreshed and ready to go on your next adventure!
Step 1 Empty The Bag
It sounds obvious, but the first step for cleaning your camera bag is to empty it completely. Take out all of the items and any dividers or inserts that are inside the bag. Having an empty bag will make the cleaning process much more manageable.
Step 2 Clean The Inside Of The Bag
Most camera bags have a foam padded interior lined with a soft fabric. This fabric can be quite delicate, which in turn requires delicate handling. Use a soft brush or a cloth and gently work out any dirty or stained areas. Warm soapy water will dislodge most grime from your bag.
Avoid the use of any type of vacuum cleaner or harsh bristled brush when cleaning the inside of the bag. If you have a lot of dirt or dust and must use a vacuum cleaner, use this on a low suction setting – just enough power to pick up the dust and dirt, but not enough to damage any of the interior.
Step 3 Clean The Outside Of The Bag
The exterior of your camera bag is the most likely area to become dirty simply because it’s exposed to the environment wherever you go. Bags take a beating when on photographic adventures; they are left on the ground, dragged through the undergrowth and much worse!
Again, warm soapy water and a soft cloth is the best and most gentle option for cleaning the exterior of your bag including the buckles, straps and any other bag hardware.
Step 4 Air It Out
Lastly, you can now air your bag out. Leave it wide open with all zips and pockets left undone. This will help dry the bag, and it will also help to deodorize the bag as well. If you leave the bag in direct sunlight, the UV rays will help disinfect it, but be aware that this may also lead to some minor fading.
Cleaning Your Camera Bag – Frequently Asked Questions
There are often a lot of questions around washing camera bags and avoiding damaging their internal and external fabrics and materials so we put together this handy list of frequently asked questions to avoid any misunderstandings.
What Cleaning Products Should I Use To Wash A Camera Bag?
Warm soapy water will take care of 99% of your camera bag cleaning needs. However, for super stubborn stains and cleaning requirements, we recommend using Grangers Gear Cleaner (or similar products).
Can I Put A Camera Bag In The Washing Machine?
No, never put your camera bag in a washing machine, even on a delicate or hand wash setting. Washing machines are far too aggressive when it comes to cleaning items like camera bags.
Can I Put A Camera Bag In A Tumble Dryer?
No, never use a tumble dryer to dry your bag, even on a low or delicate setting. The heat generated by a tumble dryer and the harsh rotating and tumbling action may damage your bag.
Can A Camera Bag Be Dry Cleaned?
No, dry cleaning your camera bag is not recommended. The dry-cleaning process is not suitable for technical bags and may damage the bag.
How Do I Dry A Camera Bag Once I’ve Washed It?
The best way to dry your nicely washed camera bag is to line dry it. Open up all the zips and compartments to aid airflow, and this will decrease the time it takes to dry. Never dry your bag by exposing it to high heat sources such as fireplaces or radiators; these high heats can damage the materials the bag is made from.
How Do I Dry A Camera Bag Once I’ve Washed It?
Has your bag developed a bit of a stink? The good news is it is possible to rid camera bags of bad odours. The above cleaning process is a good start, but you may need to do more to eradicate stubborn doors. Febreze Fabric Refresher or laundry dryer sheets can do the trick but keep in mind if using a spray, be sure to let your bag air-dry entirely before using it.
How Do I Prevent My Camera Bag From Getting Dirty?
The ultimate solution for having a clean camera bag is preventing it from getting dirty in the first place.
- Take Care When Putting Your Camera Bag Down. Place your bag in a clean and dry area when you take it off.
- Don’t Transport Food In Your Bag. Unless it’s stored in an airtight container.
- Use A Rain Cover. As well as protection from rain, this will also protect your bag from windy, snowy and sandy environments.