How to Clean a Golf Bag the Right Way

How to Clean a Golf Bag the Right Way

A golfer’s perfect weather is a personal preference, but regardless of whether it’s your ideal day, you’ve been out on the course in varying conditions. 

Golf tags take a good beating, charged with carrying heavy equipment, rolling through all sorts of surfaces, and facing the elements. So, it’s inevitable that your golf bag is going to need a good clean at some point, especially if you want to take proper care of your gear, though it’s not exactly the sort of thing you can throw in the washing machine. 

Keep reading to learn more about how to clean a golf bag.

Can You Wash a Golf Bag?

Yes, you can, but you should follow any specific instructions provided by the producer. Leather is one of the more traditional, and popular, materials used for golf bags and usually requires different care than nylon or canvas bags.  

Just like with leather boots, your leather golf bag needs to be kept clean. If your bag is “naked” leather – without a protective coating – it will readily absorb anything applied to it, leaving stains. 

You should also avoid using a lot of water or leaving the bag soaking for a long time. This can also lead to stains as well as make the leather dry and brittle. 

How to Clean a Golf Bag

If you use a non-leather bag, you can follow these steps to clean it. If you have a leather bag, you can still follow them but make adjustments as necessary. 

  1. Empty Your Bag

This part might seem obvious, but have you ever taken something out of the wash and found you forgot to take something out of the pocket? 

Make sure you get that dirty towel that’s crammed into the front compartment and the balls in the bottom before you start cleaning so that you can do the job right. 

  1. Vacuum the Pockets

Lots of little things can get stuck in your bag – grass, sand and dirt, even crumbs from your mid-course snack. Vacuuming out the pockets will get rid of these things so that the cloth or sponge can work more effectively and pick up the smaller particles in the next steps. 

If you don’t have a vacuum or your vacuum won’t fit into the narrow openings of the compartments, you can use a cotton or microfiber cloth. 

  1. Lightly Wash with Water

How much water you apply will depend on the material of your bag, and the manufacturer may have provided you with instructions on this part.

Some people opt for a spray bottle, some will use a hose, and some find a place in between those two. In any case, you need to make sure you’ve applied enough water for the next step to work.

  1. Scrub with Soap

Next, you’re going to apply the soap, but instead of applying it directly onto the bag, you should mix it with a bit of water first and then use a clean rag or brush to apply it to the bag’s surface. If you do use a brush, use something that has soft bristles so as not to scratch or pull the fabric.

If there are any stains on the bag (grass stains are common, obviously), you may need to scrub a bit harder to remove them. If the soap doesn’t remove the stains, apply a stain remover afterward. 

If you have a white bag, consider the color of the cloth you use so that you don’t have any color transfer and leave stains. It’s always better to stick with a white cloth for a white bag.

  1. Give It a Good Rinse

Next, you need to rinse out the soap thoroughly, and obviously, a spray bottle isn’t going to cut it. You can run your bag under the tarp or spray it down with a hose.

  1. Tackle Stains

If you notice any additional stains after rinsing, or if some stains haven’t come out, you can use a stain remover and a bristle brush to get out that stubborn dirt. 

Once you’ve finished scrubbing the stains away, you need to repeat the rinsing process and ensure that all of the product has been cleared away.

Again, every bag is different and you can choose as to whether these steps are appropriate or need to be amended to protect your bag.

  1. Safe Airdrying

This step is as important as any in the cleaning process – you need to give the bag time to dry. This will generally take overnight and could be longer depending on how soaked the bag was, the material of the bag, and the conditions in which it’s been left to dry.

You should never leave your bag in the sun to dry like the skin of the bag will fade.

  1. Protect and Shine (Optional)

Depending on the material of your bag, you have the option to apply a protectant that will help to prevent future stains, repel dirt, and even waterproof the bag. 


These are some of the frequently asked questions that people have about cleaning their golf bags. 

Can You Powerwash a Golf Bag?

How satisfying is power washing? Not only is it gratifying to see ages of dirt and grime washed away in one fell swoop, but there is also a definite connection between the physical and psychological experience that is very rewarding. 

Although this sounds like a fun idea, using a power washer on your golf bag isn’t a great option. That sounds pretty obvious if you have a leather bag, but even vinyl and canvas bags aren’t built to withstand the sort of force a power washer throws. This can cause rips and tears, leaving them in an un-mendable condition. 

Plus, your golf bag can’t be hung out like a sheet or a pair of jeans so there are lots of places for water to get trapped, and before it can dry out, mold will grow. 

While you should avoid using a power washer on your golf bag, it is a great way to wash your golf clubs, especially clubs with grooves. 

How Do You Clean a Moldy Golf Bag?

Mold can grow in your golf bag if any dampness isn’t handled properly. Your bag can retain moisture if left in rainy or damp conditions, or when you’re cleaning it. What to do if your bag starts to get moldy and smell musty? It’s an easy fix. 

First, follow steps one and two from above. Next, you can make a product using common household items such as white vinegar, lemon juice, or disinfectant and mix with clean water. The ratio should be around 1:1. 

Dampen a clean cloth in the mixture and begin dabbing at the affected area. You want to avoid using too much water as you can cause the same problem, and damage your bag. 

Once you’ve cleaned the area, let the bag dry in plain air and wait to put your clean golf club irons and other equipment back until the bag is dried. This is a great opportunity to clean your clubs and organize your bag for optimal use. 

Can You Restore a Faded Golf Bag?

All fabric is going to fade in the sun – we could conduct an entire science class on how and why this happens but the simple explanation is that it’s a chemical process in which fabric absorbs the light. 

Unfortunately, undoing sun fading isn’t possible. It also seems to be particularly obvious in colored golf bags. In some cases, you can use dyes to tone the fabric, but golf bags tend to have thick, durable materials that are difficult to treat. Do what you can to avoid the sun fading.

The most obvious solution is to keep your bags out of direct sunlight. That’s easier said than done when golf club bags are intended to be used outside, but you can think of it in the way that you think of skin protection. 

There are professional-grade products available that you can apply to your golf bag to both protect from UV light rays and water. Cleaning regularly can also be a protective measure. 

Ultimately, a faded bag isn’t necessarily one that needs replacing. If your bag is still keeping your beloved golf clubs safe, then it isn’t necessary to replace it. After all, a bit of wear shows how much time you’ve given to the game you love. 

Final Thoughts

Whether you’re a weekend warrior or a dedicated player with a set of cherished golf clubs, proper cleaning will keep your trusty golf bag on the course with you for as long as possible. Following the steps above on how to clean a golf bag, you can make it a part of your routine. 

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