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Best way to clean a backpack

Asparagus

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  • Added on: February 9th, 2009
Can anyone tell me if it's possible to have a backpack drycleaned, or stick it in the laundry machine?

I have a 10-year-old pack that has seen a lot of use. It's still pretty sturdy, but it has an off smell for some reason, and I can't seem to shake out the dust and grime that has settled into it here and there. I'd like to use it for an upcoming trip rather than buy something new, but only if I can clean it up properly. No idea how to to that, though. I asked one drycleaner and they said they don't do it. Does that mean nobody does, or should I keep looking until I find a place that can handle it?
"I haven't been everywhere, but it's on my list." - Susan Sontag

Jabberwocky

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  • Added on: February 9th, 2009
Depends on what is fabric in the backpack is. In general, most backpacks are made of cordura or ripstop which tends to withstand the harshest of cleaning. I do it in a bathtub, flip the backpack inside out while dry, dunk it until the fabric is wet, then I lather the backpack up with some soap or Selsun Blue shampoo (selsun blue seems to be good at getting rid of smells), let the soap soak in for a couple of hours, then scrub with a brush. Hang dry in the sun.

Asparagus

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  • Added on: February 9th, 2009
Selsun Blue! Who would have guessed. Okay, I'll give that a try. Thanks!
"I haven't been everywhere, but it's on my list." - Susan Sontag

Emeraldeyes

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  • Added on: February 10th, 2009
I did the same in my bathtub except I used dishwashing detergent, which seemed to work pretty well. My two packs were pretty disgusting after my trip.
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Eppyboy

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  • Added on: March 5th, 2009
maybe dry clean it
Josh and Nicole aren't going anywhere for a while, but you can still read about their past trips herehttp://blogs.bootsnall.com/eppyboy

Jabberwocky

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  • Added on: March 5th, 2009
No! The chemicals in dry cleaning does something bad to the water repellent coating on some backpacks. =) Mild soap or shampoo and bathtub then hang dry in sun...cheap and easy.

Eppyboy

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  • Added on: March 5th, 2009
whoops! sorry so don't dryclean it
Josh and Nicole aren't going anywhere for a while, but you can still read about their past trips herehttp://blogs.bootsnall.com/eppyboy

folecr

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  • Added on: March 6th, 2009
I read this in one issue of Backpacker magazine. I'm quoting off memory, so look up their website for more details. I have cleaned a not-so dirty backpack with steps 1 and 2.

1 - wipe it with water. Don't use stain remover or dishwasher detergent.
2 - use a non-detergent cleaner to wash it if it is really dirty. I think they mentioned using a down cleaner or Woolite.
3 - stuff it with dry newspaper and hang it in the shade to dry.

They specifically mentioned to not use a washing machine or dry cleaning. I don't think this would affect the backpack itself... if it is Cordura. BUT, it will certainly affect all the foam padding, rigid stays/framesheet, etc.

Again, I'd suggest looking at their website for more details.

walanker

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  • Added on: March 12th, 2009
It's probably the wrong way to do it, but one time I just tossed one of my softer backpacks into a front-loading washing machine, turned inside out (no central fin to get snagged on). It worked out well enough :D
-Alan

janetlynne

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Joined: October 19th, 2007

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  • Added on: March 13th, 2009
I take mine to a self serve car wash, the kind with the wand....and I wash it there. Works great



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