How to Properly Wash Your Urban Outfitters Tote Bag

Tote bags are a popular and versatile accessory that can be used for everything from carrying groceries to books to a trip to the beach. Urban Outfitters offers a wide selection of stylish and affordable tote bags in different fabrics. But after heavy use, you’ll inevitably need to wash your Urban Outfitters tote bag at some point to keep it looking its best.

Washing and caring for your tote bag properly ensures it will hold up well over time. Follow this guide to learn the best practices for hand washing or machine washing your Urban Outfitters tote, how to spot clean it if needed, what detergent is ideal, and tips for proper drying and storage when not in use. We’ll also cover common questions and mistakes to avoid with washing your Urban Outfitters tote bag.

How to Wash Urban Outfitters Tote Bag

How to Spot Clean Your Urban Outfitters Tote Bag

Spot cleaning lets you target stains or dirt on your tote bag quickly. It’s ideal for minor marks in between full washings.

Supplies Needed

  • Mild liquid soap or detergent
  • Warm water
  • Soft sponge or cloth
  • Stain removal brush
  • Towel


  1. Apply a small amount of mild soap or detergent directly to the stain.
  2. Lightly brush the area with a stain remover brush or sponge. Avoid vigorous scrubbing.
  3. Rinse thoroughly with warm water and pat dry with a towel.
  4. Allow spot to fully air dry before using the bag.
  5. Repeat if needed for tough stains.
  6. Fully hand wash the bag if many spots require cleaning.

Should You Hand Wash or Machine Wash Your Tote Bag?

The easiest and most effective way to clean your Urban Outfitters tote bag is usually to hand wash it. This allows you to thoroughly clean the bag while being gentle. It also gives you more control over the process.

However, if your tote bag is made of durable canvas, cotton or other sturdy materials, you may be able to safely machine wash it. Check the fabric care tag to see the manufacturer’s washing recommendations.

Hand washing is best for bags made of more delicate materials like leather, suede or fabrics prone to shrinking. It also helps retain the bag’s shape and minimizes wear and tear over time.

Here are some pros and cons of each washing method:

Hand Washing


  • More gentle cleaning for delicate fabrics
  • Maintains the bag’s shape and structure
  • Less chance of damage from machine agitation
  • Can target problem spots effectively
  • Faster drying time


  • More time and labour intensive
  • Harder to fully sanitize bag

Machine Washing


  • Quick and convenient
  • Cleans the entire bag thoroughly
  • Can disinfect and sanitize the fabric


  • Agitation can damage fragile fabrics
  • Heat from dryer can ruin some materials
  • May distort shape if incorrectly loaded
  • Longer drying time

Step-By-Step Instructions for Hand Washing a Urban Outfitters Tote Bag

Hand washing your Urban Outfitters tote allows a deep clean while being gentle on the bag’s fabric and construction. Here is a step-by-step guide:

Supplies Needed

  • Mild liquid detergent or delicate wash
  • Large basin, sink or bathtub
  • Soft bristle brush or washcloth
  • Clean towel
  • Drying rack or clothesline


  1. Fill your sink or tub with cool water and add a small amount of mild detergent. Don’t use hot water as this can damage fabrics.
  2. Submerge your tote bag fully underwater. Let it soak for 5-10 minutes so the detergent can penetrate the fabric.
  3. Gently scrub the inside and outside of the bag with a soft bristle brush or washcloth. Pay extra attention to stained or dirty areas.
  4. Drain the water and refill the basin with cool, clean water for rinsing. Rinse the bag thoroughly to remove all soap.
  5. Drain again and gently press—don’t wring!—excess water from the bag with a towel.
  6. Shape the bag to retain its natural form as it dries. Stuff it lightly with towels if needed.
  7. Lay flat or hang on a drying rack, out of direct sunlight. Allow to fully air dry.

Step-By-Step Machine Washing Instructions

If your Urban Outfitters tote bag has a fabric content suitable for the washer, here are the steps to follow:

Supplies Needed

  • Mild liquid or powder detergent
  • Mesh laundry bag (optional)
  • Clean towel


  1. Check that all zippers are fully closed so metal teeth don’t snag other items.
  2. Turn the bag inside out to protect embellishments and minimize wear.
  3. Place in a mesh laundry bag and zip closed if desired. This prevents friction damage.
  4. Wash on the gentle or delicate cycle in cool water with mild detergent.
  5. Use an extra spin cycle to remove excess water if needed.
  6. Lay flat on a towel and reshape the bag while still damp. Allow to fully air dry.
  7. For bags prone to wrinkling, tumble dry low once almost dry. Remove immediately.

What Kind of Detergent Should You Use?

Choosing the right laundry detergent helps ensure your Urban Outfitters tote gets clean while protecting the fabric. Here are the best options:

  • Mild liquid detergents – Great for hand washing and the gentle cycle. Won’t fade colors.
  • Liquid for delicates – Extra gentle. Ideal for silks or fabrics prone to shrinking.
  • Powder detergents – Dissolve easily for machine washing. Look for non-toxic formulas.
  • Natural soap – Made from plant oils. Biodegradable but may need extra rinses.
  • Mild laundry bar – Can be grated to lather well. Need to avoid residue.
  • Specialty bag wash – Products made just for washing bags gently.

Avoid regular powder detergents as they can contain bleaching agents. Also skip fabric softener and dryer sheets when machine washing bags.

Getting Your Tote Bag Dry and Storing It Properly

After washing your Urban Outfitters tote, it’s important to let it fully dry to prevent mold growth. Here are tips for drying and storage:

  • Lay flat or hang to dry out of direct sunlight. Totes dry best when shaped while damp.
  • Stuff the bag lightly with towels while drying to retain shape.
  • Speed up hand wash drying by using a fan or dehumidifier nearby.
  • Before storing, check that the bag is completely dry.
  • Store in a cool, dry spot away from direct sun to prevent fading.
  • If bag will be unused for a while, stuff with tissue paper or cotton towels before storing to hold shape.
  • Avoid hanging tote bags as the weight can distort the shape over time.
  • Store leather and suede bags with a desiccant pack to prevent moisture damage.

Proper drying and storage keeps your bag looking great for years. Be sure no moisture or stains remain before putting it away.

You can also read on: Stores similar to Urban Outfitters

Avoid These Common Tote Washing Mistakes

Follow these tips to prevent damaging your Urban Outfitters tote during washing:

  • Don’t machine wash without checking care tag recommendations first.
  • Avoid hot water temperatures that can cause fabric damage or bleeding.
  • Don’t overload washing machine or force a bulky bag in.
  • Don’t let bags sit wet; wash, rinse and dry promptly after use.
  • Never dry clean, iron or bleach a tote bag.
  • Don’t machine dry on high heat or leave in dryer once finished.
  • Don’t scrub vigorous when hand washing; be gentle.
  • Don’t twist, wring or bunch up the bag when wet.
  • Don’t spot clean leather, suede or silk bags.

Being mindful when washing and drying will let you enjoy your Urban Outfitters tote bag for many wears to come!


Properly caring for your Urban Outfitters tote bag will keep it looking stylish for a long time. Check the care tag and opt to hand wash delicate fabrics gently with mild detergent, reshaping and air drying the bag flat. Machine washing is OK for durable cotton canvas, nylon or polyester bags, but avoid high heat drying. With some basic care and maintenance, your Urban Outfitters tote will hold up well for countless uses and remain one of your favourite accessories. Implement these tips next time your tote needs washing so you can carry it in style anywhere you go.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best way to wash an Urban Outfitters tote bag?

The best method is usually hand washing the tote gently with a mild detergent and cool water. This allows you to thoroughly clean the bag while being gentle on more delicate fabrics.

Can I put my Urban Outfitters tote bag in the washing machine?

You can machine wash it if the fabric is durable like cotton canvas. Use the gentle cycle and a wash bag. Avoid machine drying. Check the fabric care tag for specific instructions.

How should I dry my Urban Outfitters tote after washing?

Lay the tote flat or hang it to air dry fully out of direct sunlight. Reshape the bag while still slightly damp and stuff it with towels to retain the shape as it dries. Avoid drying it in the machine.

How do I clean stained areas on my Urban Outfitters tote bag?

Use spot cleaning between full washes. Gently apply mild detergent to stains, lightly brush, and rinse thoroughly. Let air dry fully. Avoid over-saturating the fabric.

Can I use any type of laundry detergent on my tote bag?

It’s best to use gentle liquid detergents made for delicates. Avoid regular powder detergents or anything with bleach. Woolite or specialty bag wash are good options.

How can I store my tote bag to keep it looking nice?

Once fully dry after washing, store your tote in a cool, dry place out of direct sunlight. Stuff it lightly with tissue or towels to help retain its shape.

How often should I wash my Urban Outfitters tote?

Aim to wash it every 2-3 months if used regularly. But always wash whenever it becomes stained, dirty or has an odor. Spot clean minor marks between full washes.

What are some mistakes to avoid when washing my tote?

Don’t use hot water, aggressively scrub, machine dry, or wring out excess water. Also avoid overloading it in the washer or letting it sit wet for long periods.

How can I get rid of odours from my tote bag?

Hand wash using baking soda or vinegar mixed with detergent to help remove odors, then rinse thoroughly. Leaving bags in direct sunlight also helps disinfect and deodorize them.

Can I wash a nylon or canvas tote bag in my machine?

Yes, durable fabrics like nylon and cotton canvas can be machine washed on gentle cycle. Avoid machine drying. Check the care tag to confirm. Hand wash for very delicate materials.

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