Mid Year Backpack and Lunchbox Cleaning
Getting them completely clean isn't hard. It only takes a small amount of time with a big payoff - longer lasting equipment for continued use. You can wash your pencil bags and any other fabric containers and cases in the same way. You can make a notation in your planner or calendar to remind you to do the cleaning. I recommend completing it at least twice a year - once after the end of the school year and once halfway through the school year.
First, you will need to empty them of everything. Feel free to spot clean any areas that might need it. Double and triple check to make sure EVERYTHING is out of the backpacks, especially.
Next, you will place them in your washing machine. Wash it on your gentle cycle using your gentle detergent. Once the cycle is done, remove your bags quickly. You can either hang them outside on a clothesline or around your laundry room, in the sun. Do NOT place them in the dryer. You will ruin them.
Any of the plastic pencil holders, or plastic ware or holders used in backpacks or lunchboxes can be washed through the dishwasher - just don't wash them on your heavy duty or pots and pans cycle. Let them air dry - do not run them on the heat dry cycle.
One way to keep your backpacks and lunchboxes in great condition is to train your children (and the adults who use them) to empty them as soon as they get home and place them in the same spot every day. You can use a tub or bucket in your pantry or your mudroom to catch the lunchboxes when they arrive home. Hanging backpacks will keep them in good condition longer. If you have the space a cubby is a great place to keep all things SCHOOL RELATED -childrens backpacks, school papers, etc. This can save you time cleaning and keeping things clean - especially if your cubby can be placed in a non-company area.
Make it a great one!
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