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How to Clean A Waterproof Backpack

Close up of Breakwater Supply Fogland Lite 15L Waterproof Backpack Floating in River

Whether you use your waterproof backpack on a daily basis or you take it out once a year for that river tubing trip, cleaning your Breakwater Supply Waterproof Backpack will prolong its life and restore how it looks. We’ve put together a 3-step process to remove dirt and mud, surface marks – and even dreaded sunscreen stains!

Removing Stains (Including Sunscreen)

  • Hose it down! Remember, you’re working with a waterproof backpack. For any mud, seaweed, sand, or dirt caked on the bag, stay outside, grab a hose, and go to work. You can scrub the exterior off with a rag or towel to help loosen dirt. All Breakwater Supply waterproof backpacks feature fast-drying neoprene shoulder padding as well as non-absorbent back padding. This means when you’re done hosing it off, you can hang it by the top handle and it will dry within a reasonable timeframe (anywhere from 15 mins to a couple hours, depending on conditions).
  • Windex. After you’ve taken care of the loose stuff and your backpack’s dried off, it’s time to restore it. Apply Windex or glass cleaner to a rag or directly to the surface, and wipe, applying pressure to areas of dirt or smudging. Since our Hydrowall exterior is non-absorbent, Windex is very effective at removing marks in the same way it lifts stains from non-absorbent surfaces such as glass and metal. It has just the right amount of cleaning strength to make the job easy.
  • Degreaser. To take it up a notch and for stubborn, oily stains including sunscreen, as well as adhesive marks from stickers or tape, apply a very small amount of kitchen degreaser and wipe with a rag. Keep in mind that degreaser is a highly concentrated chemical, so use caution when applying. Follow advice on the degreaser label and avoid contact with skin.
Cleaning a waterproof backpack
Clean your Breakwater Supply waterproof backpack with Windex and a wet cloth

Removing Creases, Wrinkles, and Folds

The best way to remove creases, wrinkles, and folds from the Fogland and Explorer Backpacks built with Hydrowall TPU is by applying low heat from a hair dryer and waving the dryer near the area until the crease or wrinkle is released. Set your hair dryer on low and motion it near the crease, wrinkle, or fold for roughly 5-10 seconds until the wrinkle has appeared to smooth out. To ensure the crease is gone permanently, keep the surface flat until it has cooled.

Use a hair dryer to remove creases from a TPU backpack
Using a hair dryer to remove creases from the Fogland Backpack

Keep in mind this is a delicate process and we do not recommend high heat, as some hair dryers operate at high temperatures that can damage or even melt synthetic textiles. Use caution and patience at low heat so you’re comfortable with the process, and you’ll see the creases come out.

Applying Zipper Glide Lubricant to Airtight Zippers

Both the Fogland Backpack and Explorer Backpack come with a stick of Breakwater Supply Zipper Glide protective lubricant. This lubricant should be applied seasonally and before the backpack is being stored for extended time. With the zipper fully open, apply a thin coating of Zipper Glide along the zipper teeth and away from both ends of the zipper track (avoiding the ends will prevent the glide from gunking up at those points). After applying, slide the zipper head back and forth several times to spread the coating along the zipper track.

Applying Breakwater Supply Zipper Glide zipper lubricant
Applying Breakwater Supply Zipper Glide

What’s in the lubricant? Our Zipper Glide is made from a formula that’s also used as kid’s lip balm (meaning it’s 100% safe), but is slightly harder, incorporating a combination of petroleum, moisturizers (emollients), and soft waxes. By applying the lubricant, the zipper remains flexible and protected from dirt and debris, while gliding easier along contact points. You can purchase Breakwater Supply Zipper Glide here.

You’ve now restored your Breakwater Supply Waterproof Backpack, and you can repeat this process as necessary. If you have any questions, you can click here to contact us about maintenance and care of your Breakwater Supply product.

The content in this post was taken from our Waterproof Backpack Care Instructions page.