When was the last time you cleaned your camera bag? A camera bag may seem unimportant, but it’s vital for protecting your valuable cameras and lenses. A good camera bag will be glued to a photographer’s hip on every trip, making their life easier and more manageable.
But what happens when the edges start to fray, the smell starts to build and the dust starts to accumulate? This is not only unpleasant, but also has the potential to damage your equipment. And that’s why you need to be cleaning your camera bag.
Ideally, you should do regular small cleans, and a deep clean every few months. In this blog we’ll quickly run through the best ways to do this.
We see a lot of bags as dusty as this one!
Regular small cleans
First, it’s important to note that anytime you spill something on your bag, you should make sure to give it a quick wipe with a chemical-free and fragrance-free wet wipe or cloth. This will only take a few seconds, and will save you a lot more hassle later on by preventing the stain from settling in.
It’s up to you how often you do a small clean. It depends how often you’re using your bag, where you’re taking it and what kind of surroundings it’s being left in. If you’re doing daily trips to a sandy beach then it will probably need to be cleaned more often than if you’re going to the studio once a week. But we would recommend once every couple of outings.
First, remove everything from your bag (including the partitions!) and place all the contents in a safe space. We wouldn’t want that camera or lenses to be damaged on their adventure out of the bag.
Grab the vacuum cleaner and give the bag a good hoover all over, getting right into those dark and dusty corners. A lot of dust may have gathered in different pockets, so remember to open up any zippers and compartments and hoover inside those too.
If you don’t have a suitable hoover, then you can use a dry cleaning brush to dislodge any dirt and tip it out into a bin.
Your bag is now looking suitable for its next outing!
The big clean
As mentioned earlier, it’s optimal to do the deep clean of a bag every few months – maybe more often if you make frequent trips. But how best to go about deep cleaning your camera bag?
You may have heard that dumping your camera bag in the washing machine may do the job. But be careful! This may have a detrimental effect on your bag, or simply take forever to dry. It depends on the material of your bag. If a bag takes too long to dry, it increases the possibility of mould starting to form. If that happens, you’ll definitely be shopping for a new bag!
Specifics of cleaning can depend on the material – a nylon or cotton bag will need to be cleaned differently from a leather bag, for instance. However, a universally safe option – one that isn’t too strong and won’t do any damage – is to use warm, soapy water.
Again, do your quick clean. Empty your bag and vacuum the inside, use a cloth to brush away the dirt on the outside.
Mix some soap and warm water. Using a small cleaning brush (alternatively, a clean toothbrush), slowly go around the inside and outside of your bag, coating it with the soapy water mixture. Make sure to give extra attention to any stains or blemishes, and don’t forget to give any zippers a good clean too.
The next step is to use some clean warm water to wash away the soap. So repeat the previous step but with clean water. Clean any straps, handles and partitions with the same method.
When this is done, leave your camera bag in a safe, open place to air dry. Leave it open to prevent mustiness or any mould building up inside. Once it’s fully dry you can place the partitions back inside. That’s your deep clean done!
Lastly, here are a few bonus tips. Make sure you keep on top of trimming any loose threads! Not only do these look untidy, but they can also caught in the zippers. Also, get a rain cover for your bag! This won’t help in just protecting it from the rain, but may also protect it slightly from becoming dirty.
- Regularly wipe the outside and vacuum the inside of your camera bag.
- Brush away the dirt on the outside of your bag with a cloth.
- Use soapy water and clean warm water to give your bag a deep clean.
- Remember to clean the zippers and trim any loose threads to keep your bag in good condition.
- Put your bag in the washing machine!
- Use any strong detergent.
- Soak your bag.