Can You Wash A Duffel Bag? [Effective How-To Guide]

Questions are often raised as to whether it’s okay to wash a duffel bag or not. Well, yes, you can wash a duffel bag.

Regardless, wouldn’t you like to know the right way to go about it, so you don’t damage the material?

I’ll share some cleaning tips below that you can use on even the dirtiest and smelly duffel bag. Read on to find out.

What is a duffel bag?

can you wash a duffel bag

A duffel bag is a large, cylindrical bag used for storing and transporting sports equipment, personal items, and other necessities.

The word “duffel” comes from the Belgian town of Duffel, where the bags were first made.

These bags come from durable materials such as canvas or nylon and have a zippered closure to ensure nothing falls out. Some duffel bags also have wheels and a handle, which makes them easier to transport.

They are a popular choice among travelers because they are lightweight and easy to move around. They also have enough space for storing various items, with extra pockets for keeping clean clothes and shoes.

Can you wash a duffel bag?

Yes, you can. 

Just make sure to read the care instructions first. If the bag is made of a delicate fabric, such as suede, you may want to take it to a professional cleaner.

Otherwise, you can wash it in your washing machine using the gentle cycle and cool water. Then, let the bag air dry completely before using it again.

SEE: Does Cotton Shrink When Washed In Cold Water?

How do you wash a duffel bag?

There are two ways to go about it. There’s the machine wash and hand wash routine. I’ll discuss them in good detail below:

Machine wash routine

  • Check the care tag first and foremost. You don’t want to ruin your duffel bag by washing it in the machine when the care tag says not to.
  • If the care tag gives a green light, then put your duffel bag in a mesh laundry bag to protect it from getting tangled up with other clothes in the washer.
  • Use a mild detergent and set your machine on a delicate or gentle cycle. Hot water can damage the fabric of your duffel bag, so make sure to use cold water instead.
  • Once the cycle is done, take your duffel bag out of the washer immediately. Don’t let it sit in wet as that can lead to mold and mildew growth.
  • Let your duffel bag air dry, or put it in the dryer in a low heat setting.

SEE: Does Dry Cleaning Remove Stains?

Hand wash routine

  • Check the care tag to see if hand washing is recommended over machine washing. If not, use your hands.
  • If hand washing is an option, fill a sink or basin with cool water and add a mild detergent.
  • Submerge your duffel bag in the soapy water and let it soak for 15-20 minutes.
  • After soaking, use your hands to gently scrub the fabric of the bag.
  • Rinse the duffel bag thoroughly with cool water to remove all the soap.
  • Let your duffel bag air dry, or put it in the dryer in a low heat setting.

I’m certain you’ll find these tips helpful. So, try it on your next wash.

Are duffel bags safe to wash in a dryer?

Yes, they are.

To be on the safe side, use the lowest heat setting. If the bag is made of delicate materials, such as suede or leather, it is best to air dry it.

Can you wash a duffel bag with wheels?

Yes, you can.

Duffel bags with wheels are best hand-washed because of their rollers; they wouldn’t tumble in a washing machine and dryer. To wash a duffel bag with wheels, follow this guide below.

  • First, empty the bag and remove any loose dirt or debris.
  • Next, unzip all compartments and pockets. Then, place the bag in your sink or bathtub and fill it with warm water and mild detergent.
  • Gently agitate the water to create suds, then use a soft brush to clean the fabric. Rinse the bag with clean water and allow it to air dry.
  • To wash the wheels, you’ll need to take a few extra steps to clean them. First, use a brush or cloth to remove dirt and debris from the wheels.
  • Next, mix a solution of warm water and dish soap. Dip a cloth in the solution and use it to scrub the wheels clean.
  • Finally, rinse the wheels with clean water and allow them to air dry.


Why does your duffel bag smell?

There are a few possible reasons.

It’s either you haven’t cleaned it in a while, allowing it to accumulate dirt and grime. Or, you’ve been using it to transport sweaty gym clothes or wet swimsuits.

Can you get a musty smell out of a duffel bag?

Yes, you can.

There are a few ways to do this. Put the duffel bag in a plastic bag and leave it in the sun for a few hours. This will help to kill the mold and mildew causing the musty smell.

Another way is to put the duffel bag in the washing machine and wash it on a gentle cycle. You can also add a cup of vinegar to the wash cycle to help remove the musty smell. 

Are duffel bags still in style?

Yes, they are.

Duffel bags have been around since the 17th century, and they’re showing no signs of becoming outdated.

SEE: Best Evergreen Gift Ideas for Women


You see, washing a duffel bag is easy and possible if you know how to go about it. Most duffel bags are made of durable materials that can withstand a washing machine cycle. But it’s always best to check the care label first.

If you’ll rather handwash your bag, you’ll also find the tips in this guide useful.

So, go ahead and give your duffel bag a clean wash.

Thanks for reading.

Need more laundry care articles? Find them here on Africana Fashion.