Can You Put A Guitar Case In the Washing Machine

Can You Put A Guitar Case In the Washing Machine? Yes, But Not All!

Guitar cases protect your guitars from dust and damage. These bags come in different shapes, sizes, and materials. As they are much thicker than regular clothing, washing them in the machine creates confusion.

So, can you put a guitar case in the washing machine? Yes, you can put a soft guitar bag in the washing machine if the manufacturer instructs you to do so. Otherwise, hand washing the bag is better. And you can never put hard cases in the washing machine.

Let’s get into the nooks and crannies of guitar cases and find out if they can be washed in a machine.

Can You Put a Guitar Case In the Washing Machine?

The answer depends on several factors. I will put light on each of them to come to a conclusive decision.

Case Type

Guitar cases are commonly of two types. One is the hard cases that are made of wood, plastic, or hardboard. There can also be leather or suede layers in such cases. These bags are usually too big to put in a washing machine. As you can’t fold them, there is no way to wash them in the machine.

But soft guitar cases or guitar bags are foldable. They are usually made of synthetic material with layers of padding. These cases are generally machine washable.

Case Size

If a case is too big, regardless of the type, you shouldn’t put it into the washing machine. Folding the bag for a long time can cause creases on the bag. It will ruin the outlook of the case. So, you should hand wash large guitar cases.

Small guitar cases, such as travel guitar cases, can be easily put into the washing machine.

So, it comes down to the bag waiting for a wash. If the bag fits in the machine and its material isn’t harmed by a machine wash, go ahead. That is only applicable to soft guitar cases. Hard cases should never be put in a washing machine.

Risks of Washing Guitar Cases In the Washing Machine

Even though soft guitar cases or gig bags may be machine washable, they can face some risks. I wanted to make you aware of them before you face the hassle.

1. The Case May Be Damaged

Openings of washing machines are usually smaller than guitar cases. If you want to put a guitar case into the machine, you must fold it in half. Sometimes, you might need to fold more to accommodate the case. Folding guitar cases will cause additional stress on the material.

Depending on the wash cycle length, the case may be folded for a long time. So, the creases on the bag will be permanent. They will at least have some marks. The guitar case might not look as good as before if you wash it in a machine.

2. Detergent May Get Trapped

Guitar cases usually have deep crevices and multiple pockets. When you put such a case in the machine and use powder detergents, the detergent might enter the crevices and get trapped. The same happens when detergents get into the pockets.

It is difficult to get detergent particles out of the crevices or pockets. When the wash is complete and the case is dried, the detergent will still be inside the bag. They can even harm the case material.

3. The Washing Machine May Get Damaged

Even the soft guitar cases are tougher than your regular laundry. The outer layer of guitar cases is often made of tough polymers to make the case more protective. When you put the case in a washing machine, the bag may damage the agitator or other components.

The possibility of a washing machine getting damaged by a guitar case is low but why would you take the unnecessary risk?

How to Wash a Guitar Case In the Washing Machine?

Knowing the above risks, if you are still determined to wash the guitar case in the machine, check the given right ways. Remember not to bring your hard cases around. I will only show it for soft cases.

Step 1: Remove All Dirt and Debris

If the case isn’t washed for a long time, you’ll see a lot of dirt and debris on and inside the case. You should give the case a few shakes to remove the loose dirt and debris. Open the zips and do this for the inside too.

Step 2: Spot Clean Large Stains

This step isn’t for all cases. If there are large stains anywhere on the bag, it is better to hand wash the stain. Take one part baking soda and one part vinegar in a small bowl and mix them well. Then, apply the vinegar and baking soda mixture onto the stain using a toothbrush.

Let the mixture sit for about 10-15 minutes. Then, scrub it well until the stain fades away. You might need to repeat this step one or two times if the stain is stubborn. Then, wipe the spot with a wet cloth.

Step 3: Remove Everything from the Bag

Guitar players usually keep their picks, capos, or other accessories inside the gig bags. Before putting the case into the machine, check the whole bag once again to confirm there are no loose accessories inside.

Step 4: Put the Case In a Mesh Bag

Directly putting a guitar case into the washing machine might not be a good idea for the machine and other laundry. So, you should put the bag inside a large garment bag and then place it into the machine.

Step 5: Use Mild Detergent and Choose Gentle Wash Cycle

You should never use powdered detergent to wash guitar cases. Always use liquid detergent so that the cleaning agent doesn’t get trapped inside the case. Select warm water for the wash and rinse. The wash cycle should be medium or gentle.

Step 6: Air Dry the Case

Guitar cases usually have thick padding for protection. If the padding isn’t dried properly, there can be mold or mildew growth inside. After washing the bag, hand it in a place with no direct sunlight. Let the bag dry completely before using it.

Alternative Ways to Wash a Guitar Case

If you choose not to put a guitar case in the machine, there are some more ways you can use to wash the case. Let me tell you about them.

Using a Vacuum Cleaner

  1. Guitar cases with no wet stains should not be washed in a machine. If there is only dirt and debris on the bag, you can use a vacuum cleaner to clean it.
  2. Use a narrow nozzle on the vacuum cleaner to pull out dirt or debris from the crevices. Then, wipe the bag off with a clean and dry cloth.

Using a Lint Roller or Tape

  1. If there is visible lint on the case, using a vacuum cleaner might not be enough. You need to use a lint roller or lint tapes.
  2. Run the lint roller over the bag to collect all the lint. Or apply some lint tape to the target area and pull it off to get rid of the dirt.

Frequently Asked Questions

These answers to some common questions might help you.

Q: Can I use baking soda to clean a guitar case in the washing machine?

If the guitar case has an odor, you can use some baking soda for its antibacterial properties. But there should be no other clothes inside.

Q: Is there any special detergent for guitar cases?

There are a variety of solutions for cleaning guitar cases. But I recommend you stick to mild liquid detergent.

Q: Are guitar cases waterproof?

Some cases may have water resistance, but they won’t be completely waterproof. If you put it in a washing machine, the inside will get wet.


Keeping the guitar case clean shows how caring a guitarist is for their equipment. As an easy way out, many of them consider putting the guitar case in a washing machine without giving it a second thought. So, can you put a guitar case in the washing machine?

We found, yes, you can if the case is soft or foldable and the material is suitable for a machine wash. Hard cases can’t be put in the washing machine. If there are large stains on the cases, it is better to pre-clean them before putting the case in the machine.

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