Top Tips for How to Clean a Golf Bag

featured image of golf bag

Written by Mark

I've been advising on golf related topics for for just over ten years now, staying on top of game improvement methods, the latest technologies and news.

February 12, 2021

Are you wondering how to clean a golf bag, following weeks (or even months!) of neglect? If so, then stay put as I have put a quick, but detailed, guide which also talks about the different material types for that ‘good as new’ finish.

Many golfers, myself included, spend lots of time cleaning their golf clubs. Some even do it after every shot by rubbing the club off with a towel or scraping it with a brush.

However few actually clean their golf bag, that’s right, the bag not the clubs. I’ll be honest, I was one of those few for a long time until I got tired that the white on my blue and white bag had slowly deteriorated to brown from wear and tear.

In this article I will walk you through my ‘How to clean a golf bag’ step by step guide. This includes the detailed process, but more importantly it includes the best items that will help bring your bag back to life.

There’s not a one process fits all, unfortunately. This is because all materials need a little tweak in process but also in the materials you may need, so I’ll cover them off today too.

Get ready to have a clean bag in no time!

How to Clean a Golf Bag

The Ultimate Step-by-Step Guide

Whilst reviewing for the best golf grips for sweaty hands, there has been some technical terminology used. I’ve taken some time to explain more about these below, as it’s very important you know a bit more about what to look out for before you go ahead and make your purchase.

Let us explore these now.

Step 1:  Empty Your Bag

First things first, you must completely empty your bag! Removing the clubs may be obvious, but make sure you clean everything out of the pockets as well.

This also includes any extra golf towels or membership tags on the outside of your bag.

Step 2:  Spray Your Bag

The next step is spraying your golf bag lightly with water. This will generally lighten up the bag by making it softer to be cleaned. However it depends on the material, so this is an appropriate method for nylon and canvas bags. Although for leather bags use any leather cleaner instead.

Step 3: Gather the Right Equipment

After that you should begin washing and rinsing the bag. Keep in mind that just like the spray step, different materials need different clothes or soap to wash the bag properly instead of damaging it. So before you even begin washing your bag you must first understand the material and gather the right tools.

As mentioned earlier the three most common material types for golf bags are nylon, canvas, and leather. Nylon is the most popular option of the three so we will discuss that first. Luckily, nylon is also the easiest option to fix since it is very similar to washing your clothes.

Step 4: Washing Your Bag

To wash nylon all you will need is the standard water and soap. You will also need some soft washcloths so as to not rough up the material and ruin it. If you would like you could heat up the water, but either way soap and water will suffice for nylon.

Cleaning Canvas

Now canvas is a little more tricky since it is not a normal material, and a more fragile or luxurious material. To achieve the deepest clean the water you use needs to be warm. Instead of using just regular soap I recommend using bleach instead for the best cleaning.

You must be careful with bleach though as it can easily damage your skin or if it gets into your eyes there can be even larger consequences. Make sure that you dilute this bleach in water rather than just pouring it onto your bag.

Cleaning Leather

Finally there is leather, which is certainly the hardest to clean of the three. Leather and water do not make a good pair naturally, which is why you cannot even spray water onto the bag. When wet leather dries, it can become stiff and hard which causes it to lose its texture.

When using the soap and water you need to wring out the cloth after each time you put it in the water. The cloth needs to be damp, but not dripping wet since the leather and water don’t mix. You could also try to make a cleaning mixture of one half water and one half vinegar.

If you do not want to mess with all of this hassle with the leather, you can simply buy a leather cleaning product off of Amazon. I recommend the Leather Cleaner by Leather Honey which is ranked very highly in both the United States and the United Kingdom.

Don’t just take my word for it, there are thousands of reviews that also support this product! One user wrote about how this product rejuvenated their couches that had been around for fifteen years and four dogs, so imagine what it could do for your golf bag!

Now that you know exactly what equipment you need to use based on the material of your bag, let’s dive back into the actual process of cleaning the bag. Also, to be clear any washcloths will do for all of the different materials as long as they are soft.

Scrubbing Your Bag

With all the equipment you need and an empty golf bag you can finally begin scrubbing the outside of the bag. Keep in mind that you will need to scrub the bag very gently. If you scrub too hard you can cause damage to your bag, and nobody wants that.

Now from here you can either go one of two ways. The first being you rinse down the outside of your bag and let it dry, saving the inside for later. Or you can scrub down the inside and do it all in one shot. I recommend doing the outside entirely first.

So for the purposes of this article we will assume that you followed my recommendation and are completing the outside of the bag in its entirety prior to scrubbing down the inside. You will see why this is beneficial shortly.

Step 5: Rinsing the Bag

After scrubbing the bag down, you will want to use a hose to rinse down the outside of your bag if it is a nylon or canvas material. The process is more tedious for leather as you need to retrace your steps and wipe everything with the damp cloth (without soap).

Now that the rinse is done, comes the drying portion which is actually the most important step of the process. You definitely do not want to leave your golf bag directly out in the sun to dry as that will damage your bag regardless of its material.

Step 6: Drying the Bag

Instead place the bag down in a shaded area, possibly underneath a porch. A slight breeze would be good to slowly draw the water out of the bag rather than a quick process. Expect your bag to take a day or more before completely drying.

Step 7: Cleaning the Interior of the Bag

Now that the outside of your bag is finally clean, you can now move onto the interior. This process can be much more of a pain than the outside of the bag. The overall equipment based on the materials of your bag remains the same for the interior as it was for the exterior.

Step 8: Vacuum the Interior

With those materials and assuming the bag is still empty, my recommendation is to first vacuum the inside of your bag. This will suck up any excess dirt that you will most likely not be able to reach whenever you are cleaning the bag.

To be clear, you will not be able to reach down to the bottom part of the bag which holds your clubs. So, these steps are geared towards cleaning the pockets of your bag rather than the large section in the middle.

The process is quite similar to that of the exterior, but it does not include two main steps. You will not need to spray the inside of each pocket with water, and you will not need to hose down all of the pockets either.

Step 9: Washing the Interior of the Bag

With that in mind, gather the appropriate equipment based on the materials in the exterior and get to work. You can use those cloths, soap, and water to scrub down the inside pockets just as you did the exterior of the bag.

Step 10: Drying the Interior

Now there are two methods to drying the interior of your bag. The first being pulling out all the pockets and letting it dry in the shade similar to the exterior. Or instead of waiting even more days, you could dry the bag by hand.

In order to dry the bag by hand, you will need to grab a few extra dry cloths. This process is really just using the power of friction to heat up the material and dry it. You will still want to be careful as to not rip any holes in the pockets.

Step 11: Refill the Bag

Of course the last step is refilling your golf bag with all of your equipment. I highly recommend that you also clean all of your other equipment in the process so the bag seems brand new whenever you put everything back in.

I trust that you know how to clean golf clubs, but it is simply using soap and water to clean all the dirt out. You can also use a groove brush or sharpener to help clean out the grooves of each club, but that topic is for a whole other article.

Step 12: Clean Your Other Equipment

For golf balls you can clean them with plain soap and water as you will find out on the course. No extra process and it can become annoying, but trust me making golf balls look new is very satisfying after all.

Unfortunately there is not much that you can do to clean up tees or your golf glove. If tees are broken or have big clumps of dirt just throw them out. Your golf glove will always become dirty, it is inevitable, so just throw it out and buy a new one every now and then.

To help keep your golf bag clean in the future, think about how much equipment you really need. Do you need to keep an extra hundred tees that are all dirty? Do you need to carry around fifty golf balls with you? Just a few things to think about.

At the end of the day, besides just cleaning your golf bag inside and out, there are other steps that you can take to clean up your bag as a whole. Don’t forget to clean your clubs, as well as shine up some golf balls and you will walk away feeling like a new golfer.

Overall Summary & Conclusion

How to Clean a Golf Bag

In this article we heavily discussed the process of cleaning your golf bag inside and out. To reemphasize, you also need to pay great attention to the type of material your bag is made up of so you are not using equipment that will destroy it instead of helping it.

If you are unsure of the material in your bag, a simple internet search should suffice and get you the answers that you need. In general the process for cleaning your bag is to spray it with water (assuming it is not leather), carefully scrub the outside, rinse it down, and let it dry.

Then you move onto the inside, skip the spraying and vacuum followed by scrubbing and then either drying by hand or in the shade.

I hope you learned something of use in this article and I look forward to seeing some fresh, clean bags out on the course this year!

Thank you for reading, and play well!

Special thanks also goes to Kindel Media from Pexels for the main image.

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