Treklean Dry Bag

The Ultimate Guide: How to Clean a Dry Bag for Maximum Lifespan

Dry bags are a must-have for outdoor enthusiasts, ensuring your gear stays dry during your adventures. But did you know that maintaining and cleaning your dry bag is crucial for its longevity and effectiveness? In this comprehensive guide, we will share expert tips and techniques on how to clean a dry bag, as well as maintaining, repairing, and storing it properly to avoid damage and mold growth.

From the proper hand washing technique to maintaining the waterproof features, dealing with odors and mold, and repairing tears and damages, this is your ultimate guide on how to clean a dry bag and maximize its lifespan. Stay ahead of wear and tear to keep your belongings safe and dry in any weather.

Key Takeaways

  • Hand washing with mild soap and warm water is the recommended method to clean a dry bag.

  • Regular inspection and proper care are essential for maintaining waterproof features, while lemon juice can be used to eliminate odors or mold.

  • Proper storage in a cool, dry environment prevents damage and maintains optimal condition for future use.

Proper Dry Bag Cleaning Techniques

The longevity and maintenance of your dry bag’s waterproof features rely heavily on regular cleaning. Regular cleaning helps prevent the growth of mildew and ensures that your gear remains free from dirt and debris.

Before we delve into hand washing and brush usage specifics, understanding the need to avoid certain damaging cleaning methods and materials for your dry bag is crucial.

Hand Wash with Mild Soap

To prevent damage to the waterproof material, the recommended method involves hand washing your dry bag with a mild soap and warm water. To do this, follow these steps:

  1. Fill a basin or sink with lukewarm water and add a small amount of mild dishwashing soap.

  2. Submerge the bag in the soapy water and gently scrub it using a soft brush or cloth, paying extra attention to any stains or heavily soiled areas.

  3. Rinse the bag thoroughly with clean water to remove all soap residue.

  4. Squeeze out any excess water and hang the bag to air dry in a well-ventilated area, away from direct sunlight.

Avoid using harsh detergents or bug spray on your dry bag, as they can damage the material, strip away the waterproof coating, weaken the fabric, or cause discoloration. Instead, opt for a gentle soap or detergent designed for delicate fabrics to keep your dry bag clean and damage-free.

Soft Cloth and Brush Usage

Cleaning your dry bag:

  1. Use a soft cloth and brush gently to remove dirt, debris, and fine grain sand without harming the bag’s fabric.

  2. Use a soft cloth or sponge dampened with warm water and a mild, non-detergent soap to clean the bag.

  3. Avoid using detergent residue or fabric softeners, as they can compromise the coating of the dry bag.

When it comes to cleaning your dry bag, follow these steps:

  1. Opt for a soft-bristled scrub brush to avoid damaging the fabric of the bag.

  2. Use gentle cleaning methods to remove dirt and stains.

  3. Rinse the bag thoroughly with clean water.

  4. Allow the bag to air dry completely before storing it. By following these steps and practicing proper maintenance, you can ensure that your dry bag remains in optimal condition and provides the best protection for your gear.

Maintaining Your Dry Bag's Waterproof Features

The waterproof features of your dry bag are what makes it indispensable for outdoor enthusiasts. Ensuring the waterproofing of your dry bag is maintained requires regular inspection and proper care.

This section explores seam tape inspection and waterproof coating care, both vital for ensuring your dry bag performs optimally.

Seam Tape Inspection

Seam tape, by sealing the stitched seams and preventing water entry, plays a pivotal role in the waterproofing of your dry bag. Regular inspection of the seam tape is essential to ensure its integrity and the overall effectiveness of the bag. To inspect the seam tape, follow these steps:

  1. Clean both sides of the fabric around the seam tape with isopropyl alcohol.

  2. Adhere a piece of masking tape to the outside of the dry bag, covering the seam tape.

  3. Turn the dry bag inside out.

  4. Inspect the seam tape for any signs of peeling, cracking, or damage.

By regularly inspecting the seam tape, you can ensure that your dry bag remains waterproof and in good condition.

If any issues are identified, repair the seam tape with a product like Seam Grip +WP or Aquasure, following the manufacturer’s instructions and recommendations. Consistent seam tape inspection and maintenance will help extend the lifespan of your dry bag and keep your belongings dry in the most challenging conditions.

Waterproof Coating Care

Serving as a protective layer, the waterproof coating on your dry bag keeps your belongings dry even in wet conditions by preventing water entry. Taking care of this coating is crucial for the bag’s performance and durability. Avoid using harsh chemicals and excessive scrubbing when cleaning the dry bag, as these can damage the waterproof coating.

To clean your dry bag without harming the waterproof coating, follow these steps:

  1. Use a mild antibacterial soap or detergent like Dawn dish soap.

  2. Combine the soap with lukewarm water.

  3. Use a soft sponge or brush to gently scrub the bag.

  4. Rinse the bag thoroughly with clean water.

  5. Air dry the bag completely before storing or using it again.

By taking care of your coated fabric dry bag’s waterproof coating, you can ensure that it continues to protect your gear for years to come.

Dealing with Odors and Mold

Besides maintaining its waterproof features and durability, cleaning your dry bag is also integral for managing odors and mold.

This section will discuss eliminating unpleasant smells and tackling mold growth using a natural lemon juice solution coupled with correct air drying techniques.

Lemon Juice Solution

Lemon juice is a powerful natural cleaner that can effectively eliminate odors and kill mold spores in your dry bag. To prepare a lemon juice solution for cleaning your dry bag, follow these steps:

  1. Mix hot water, lemon juice, and table salt in a container.

  2. Soak your dry bag in the mixture for an hour or two.

  3. After soaking, wring out the bag and hang it out to dry in direct sunlight.

The lemon juice’s natural cleaning properties will help break down and neutralize odors and mold.

It’s important that the lemon juice solution does not compromise the bag’s waterproof features. Testing the solution on a small, inconspicuous area of the bag and monitoring for any adverse effects is recommended before applying it to the entire bag.

Air Drying and Ventilation

To prevent mold growth in your dry bag, thorough air drying and adequate ventilation are crucial. After cleaning your dry bag, hang it up to air dry in a well-ventilated area, away from direct sunlight. Ensure that the bag is completely dry before storing it to avoid moisture accumulation and subsequent mold growth.

By maintaining proper air circulation and reducing moisture, you can effectively prevent mold and mildew growth in your dry bag. Consistent air drying and adequate ventilation are essential steps in keeping your bag clean, fresh, and ready for your next adventure.

Repairing Tears and Damages

Even the most rugged dry bag can experience tears and damages, accidents do happen. This section discusses how to mend small tears in your dry bag using a waterproof repair kit or adhesive tape, and replacing broken hardware to ensure your bag remains functional and reliable.

Patching Small Tears

Small tears in your dry bag can be easily patched with a waterproof repair kit or adhesive tape, such as Gear Aid Seam Grip +WP, strong jaws tough tape, or Tear-Aid patch. To ensure that the patch is watertight, first clean the area around the tear or hole with mild detergent and water, then rough up the surrounding area with sandpaper to promote better adhesion. Apply the adhesive to both the patch and the damaged area, ensuring they are evenly coated. Press the patch firmly onto the tear, removing any air bubbles, and allow the adhesive to dry completely before using the dry bag.

Patching small tears in your dry bag extends its lifespan and helps maintain its performance in keeping your belongings, including stuff sacks, dry and safeguarded.

Replacing Broken Hardware

Your dry bag’s functionality can be compromised by broken hardware like buckles and straps. To maintain the bag’s performance and ensure your gear remains secure and dry, replacing broken hardware is necessary. To replace the buckles on your dry bag, follow these steps:

  1. Unscrew the pins on the female and male buckle pieces.

  2. Insert the new buckles into the sewn webbing straps on the dry bag.

  3. Screw the pins back into place to secure the new buckles.

Replacement hardware for dry bags can be acquired from Outdoor Products, Nelson Rigg, and Crossobags. By replacing broken hardware, you can keep your dry bag in top condition and continue to rely on it for your outdoor adventures.

Storing Your Dry Bag Properly

To prevent damage and maintain its shape, proper storage of your dry bag is essential. This section discusses the importance of storing your dry bag in a dry, cool environment to prevent mold and mildew growth, along with the decision on whether to roll or fold your dry bag for storage, contingent on its material and design.

Dry and Cool Storage

To prevent mold and mildew growth, it’s crucial to store your dry bag in a dry, cool environment. Here are some tips to follow:

  1. Ensure that your dry bag is clean and completely dry before storing it.

  2. To further prevent moisture accumulation and mold growth, place desiccators or moisture-absorbing packets in the storage container.

  3. Keep the storage area dry and well-ventilated.

By following these tips, you can keep your dry bag in good condition and prevent mold and mildew growth.

By storing your dry bag and stuff sack in a dry and cool environment, you can avoid moisture-related damage and ensure that your bags remain in optimal condition for your next adventure.

Rolling vs. Folding

You may be contemplating whether to roll or fold your dry bag for storage. The choice between rolling and folding depends on the closure mechanism of the dry bag, such as a roll-top closure, and the material of the bag. Rolling your dry bag can provide a secure closure, maximizing storage space through compression and ensuring the contents remain dry. However, frequent rolling can cause wear and tear on the fabric over time.

Folding your dry bag provides a secure closure and conserves space when storing the bag. However, folding the bag while it is still wet can lead to mildew formation. Ultimately, the choice between rolling and folding comes down to personal preference and the specific design of your dry bag.


In conclusion, taking proper care of your dry bag is essential for its longevity, effectiveness, and the protection of your gear. By following the tips and techniques discussed in this guide, you can ensure that your dry bag remains in top condition and continues to provide reliable protection from the elements.

Whether it’s hand washing with mild soap, maintaining waterproof features, dealing with odors and mold, repairing tears and damages, or properly storing your dry bag, every step counts in maximizing its lifespan. So, go ahead, keep your dry bag clean and well-maintained, and enjoy your outdoor adventures with confidence, knowing that your belongings are safe and dry.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can dry bags be washed?

Dry bags can be washed by hand with warm water and mild soap, and then air dried thoroughly before storing in a dry place.

How do you get stains out of a dry bag?

To remove stains from a dry bag, start by hosing it out with water. For tougher stains, use mild soap like Wilderness Wash and gently scrub the area. Finally, make sure to air-dry the bag standing up in an area with good air flow.

How do you clean an Osprey dry bag?

To clean your Osprey dry bag, simply hose it out or if more stubborn stains are present, hand wash with a mild soap like Wilderness Wash, and air-dry afterwards.

Can I fold my dry bag for storage instead of rolling it?

Yes, you can fold your dry bag for storage depending on its material and design. Ensure the bag is completely dry beforehand to avoid mildew formation.

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