How to Clean Your Diaper Bag So That It’s Like Brand New

How to Clean Your Diaper Bag So That It’s Like Brand New

Spilled milk, snot, drool, poo, juice, smushed fruit snacks—you name it, there’s so many things that can dirty up your diaper bag!

It’s so important that you maintain your investment!

After all, your diaper bag doubles as your purse, and it holds pretty much your entire life when you’re away from home so it’s essential that you keep it in tip top shape.

How to Choose the Best Diaper Bag

A diaper bag is a life-saver, and one product you're going to take with you everywhere you go. Read up on how to find the right diaper bag for you!

Read on to learn how to clean your diaper bag, from front to back, and every nook and cranny in between without the help of a professional cleaner.

Consider the Material

Certain materials require certain maintenance and cleaning products. The majority of diaper bags are composed of one of:

  • Leather
  • Nylon
  • Canvas
  • Cotton blends

So, a one size fits all cleaning approach doesn’t always work!

In order to keep the outside looking shiny and new, read on to learn how to treat each material!


In order to clean leather on the outside of your bag, the first step in keeping it fresh and new looking is to condition it every few months.

This keeps the leather’s natural oils looking healthy and shiny.

You can find lots of leather conditioners on the market. Or, you could try making your own.

All you need is a mixture of warm water (about a quart), a tablespoon of soap, and a couple drops of vinegar.

Use a cloth, like you would with your purchased, bottled conditioner and wring it out to make sure it’s not too wet.

Wipe down your surface and voila!

You have a brand new looking baby bag!

Be sure to test a small area first and also let it fully air dry.


To clean the outside of a nylon bag or diaper backpack, you just need a little warm water, dish soap, and a toothbrush (or baby brush).

Simply dip the brush into the soapy mixture and gently scrub the surface.

This helps target stains, water marks, and other forms of deterioration over time.

Don’t want to whip up your own solution?

There are lots of nylon cleaners on the market to purchase.


When it comes to cleaning the exterior of your canvas bag, it’s important to remember to not fully submerge the bag in water.

This can cause color bleeding and staining throughout.

Your fabric can also lose its shape. So, spot clean the bag with a damp sponge and a special detergent (that you can find in any old grocery store) that is designated for hand washing fine fabrics.

Cotton Blend

You can generally toss cotton blend bags into the washer.

Be sure to use warm water and just a small amount of detergent.

If your bag is heavily stained or soiled, pre-treat it as you would with stained clothing items. Let the bag dry flat!

5 Tips for Cleaning Your Diaper Bag

So, now that you’ve conquered the outside of your bag, let’s focus on the inside!

I’ve gained so many helpful tips and tricks over the years, they’re too good to not share.

Keep Baking Soda in Your Bag

You know how you keep a box open in the back of your fridge?

Why not keep your bag smelling fresh by sprinkling a little in a baggie and keeping it in a pocket of your bag?

Get Your Vacuum Involved

When snacks get spilled in my diaper bag, I often turn to my vacuum for help.

Using the hose feature (and high suction setting), get to work diminishing crumbs and chunks of food!

All You Need is Dish Soap

Dish soap is very gentle but powerful. So, when you’re ready to clean the inside of your bag, most linings can handle being blotted or brushed with a warm, soapy mixture.

If you have a tough stain or two, keep a bleach pen on hand in your bag. You can apply it right away to hold you over until you can get home to treat it.

Wipes Suffice for a Quick Clean

If you notice a spill, a stain, or some stickiness forming, don’t wait until you get home to take action.

In addition to cleaning up boogers, dirty faces, dirty hands, and miscellaneous marks from markers, pen, and glue, baby wipes are great to have on hand. They can combat problems before they start and can simply be tossed in the trash when finished.

Open Up All Pockets

Pockets can get the dirtiest and trap bacteria, causing odor and releasing germs on those who utilize the bag. When cleaning the interior, unzip every nook and cranny.

Vacuum each part out before tossing it in the washer or using a circular motion with a tool of your choice. This way, you’ll be sure each pocket and compartment won’t be overlooked and it will also be able to dry out properly as well.

Additional Things to Keep in Mind

Here's a quick checklist of more tips you can follow to keep your diaper bag looking like new!

  • Check tags. Some bags spell it out for you. You should or should not use certain things on or in your bag to clean it! Always reference what the cleaning procedure is before doing anything.
  • Test areas. You never know how your fabric will react to certain cleansers, so always test a small corner first.
  • Use a mesh laundry bag. If your bag is able to go in the washer, save yourself a lot of time and hassle by using a mesh bag. The bag will go around your diaper bag and will protect it from being tossed around in your washing machine.
  • Don’t use disinfectant wipes on your leather bag. Or anything else “chemical” for that matter. There are very specific guidelines you need to follow when cleaning a leather bag.
  • Make sure you empty pockets. Before washing a bag in the laundry machine, be sure to get all wrappers, tissues, and food trinkets/crumbs out of the compartments and pockets.
  • Deodorizing spray is a quick fix. I used to carry mini bottles of deodorizing spray in one of my side pockets. If I had to tote a dirty diaper around for a short amount of time, or had soiled clothes in a wet bag, I’d give the interior a few spritz and sprays to mask any yucky smells!
  • Keep your toddler’s snacks in an additional ziplock sandwich bag. Annoying and another thing to open? Maybe. But, does it save you from constantly cleaning? Probably.
  • Keep juice and bottles in a cooler compartment. Again, if you’re going to deal with leaks and spills, at least you can keep it consolidated to one small area, rather than putting your entire bag in harm’s way.
  • Keep your bag in the shade. Sunlight is powerful. To keep your bag from fading over time, always keep it in the shade or in the bottom portion of your stroller, away from direct sunlight.
  • Keep your bag off the ground! How tempting is it to toss your bag just any old place? Pretty tempting. But, you’ll find that when you plunk your bag down on the ground, you’re more susceptible to germs, stickiness, stains, and who know what else! Keep a hook on hand so you can hang it off a table, on the back of your stroller, on a blanket, or even stow it on a chair.
  • Remove additional straps. These straps have to get by hand. If you leave them attached to your bag and you place your bag in the washer you may take a chance of them ripping, scratching, or causing fraying to the bag.

Wrapping Up

Cleaning your diaper bag can be a process, but it’s an important one.

Many moms invest hundreds of dollar on their bag and use it countless times throughout the day.

Keep your investment looking pretty and pristine, but treating your material accordingly, and keeping the inside clean.

Your bag will last you for years and you can make sure of that by eliminating odors, stains, and helping it keep its color and shape!


Hi there, I'm Kate! I started Maternity Glow to be a place for new and expecting moms to come to for practical pregnancy advice, parenting tips, and baby care tricks.

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