Now that the end of summer vacation is drawing near it’s time to clean those back-to-school essentials to prepare for the school year ahead.

The backpack

The most important item all students’ cherish is their backpack! Your child’s backpack is bound to get dirty, whether it’s dropped at the bus stop, in the school yard or simply placed in their locker. What’s great about backpacks is that most are machine washable. Before you place the backpack into the washing machine make sure to check the label for washing instructions. If the backpack is machine washable, empty its contents completely and place the backpack into a pillow case, knotting the top. This will ensure that the straps on the backpack do not get ruined in the wash. The backpack should always be washed in cold water on a gentle cycle, as hot water can cause the colours to bleed. Hang the backpack to dry thereafter. If the backpack is not machine washable, we recommend a simple spot cleaning it with soap, water and a stiff bristled brush.  Combine dish soap and water into a spray bottle and shake gently to mix the solution. Spray the solution directly onto the stain and use a stiff bristled brush to scrub the area gently. Dab the area with a damp microfibre cloth thereafter.

The lunch bag

Your child’s lunch bag is also an essential part of their day, and therefore, it’s important to keep it clean and in pristine condition. Just like the backpack, most lunch bags are also machine washable, however it is important to check the label to make sure. Place the lunch bag into the washing machine and wash it in cold water on a gentle cycle. Hang the lunch bag to dry completely. If the lunch bag is not machine washable, we recommend using baking soda, water and an old toothbrush to remove tough stains. Place some baking soda into the small bowl, adding a little bit of water until it makes a paste. Dip the toothbrush into the paste and apply it to the stain. Scrub the stain gently. Once removed, use a damp microfibre cloth to wipe the area clean. You can also deodorize the lunch bag by sprinkling some baking soda inside and letting it stand overnight.

The water bottle

Reusable water bottles are a great item to incorporate in your children’s back-to-school arsenal. They are fantastic for the environment and help encourage your children to stay hydrated throughout the day. Over time, it’s a good idea to give your reusable water bottles a good clean. To disinfect a reusable water bottle, all you need is water, white vinegar and a bottle brush. Add a solution of 1-2 tablespoons of vinegar and 1 cup of water into the reusable water bottle. Let the solution stand for approximately 15 minutes. Next, dip the bottle brush into the solution and clean the inside and outside of your water bottle. Make sure to clean the mouth piece well. (You do not have to demo the rinsing part, make sure to mention it though) Once finished, empty the water bottle and rinse it out with soap and water. If you’re not too fond of the smell of vinegar, you can also use baking soda and water to create a paste to clean the interior and exterior of your water bottle.