View Full Version : How do you wash Packs??

03-12-2003, 20:32
I left my Backpack on the front porch overnite and my big Tom decided it was his..and marked it so! Can't stand cat whiz. :( I thought about putting it in a commerical washer with mild soap then air drying it. Any suggestions???

03-12-2003, 21:44
Check out this link:

I wouldn't put my bag in a washing machine. It could diminish the coating.
Spot washing by hand is usually recommended.

Also be wary of solvents. Test the solvent
first on a small pack fabric sample to be sure
it's safe.

The enzyme treatments in the link sound
interesting. Probably would be my choice. One mentioned is from Wally World.


03-12-2003, 22:31
When my husband and I finished our thru-hike, I called the manufacturers of our stinky backpacks (Mountainsmith and Osprey). Based on their suggestions, I got in the bathtub with the packs and scrubbed and scrubbed with a soft bristled cleaning brush, using water and mild cleaner (I think Woolite but I forget.) Then I rinsed them really well and took them outside to dry. I was suprised how clean they got.

As for the cat issue (yuck) I second the enzyme cleaner idea as you need something more specific to pet odors. I have a book "Home Comforts: The Art & Science of Keeping Home" (Yeah I know--pretty cheesy) which recommends thoroughly soaking a cat-sprayed item in an enzyme cleaner but warns that some cleaners are not fabric safe (read the label and test on a small part of the bag). The book also says do not use vinegar or ammonia, (chlorine bleach may be ok afterwards if the fabric can take it) and do follow up by using Febreeze or similar odor remover afterwards.

Good luck!

Papa Bear
03-12-2003, 23:15
Kelty told me how to wash a pack I had to send for repairs:

1) Use a front loading washer (no spindle)
2) Use cold water
3) Use ivory flakes
4) rinse well

It seemed to work fine.


03-13-2003, 10:20
I had to clean a biggish Dana Design Pack that my son used all summer on an A.T. thru hike...My intial attempts at using a spray to kill the smell only masked the odor for a while...it came back with a vengence -- the odor was almost a living thing! I contacted Dana about the best way to clean it. It follows closely to what Jittergug did.

First, I took off the brain section, waist belt, and disconneceted the shoulder staps (if the straps are removable, I'd take them off altogether) and opened up all the pockets. I put all the parts in a tub of warm (lukewarm) water with a generous amount of woolite and let it soak for about a half an hour. Make sure the water goes inside and out of the bag. Then I agitated a lot by hand and squeezed water through the foam sections...do this a lot. I scrubbed really dirty places with a soft brush. The water in the tub turned jet black and there was a significant amount of dirt and crud in the tub when I drained it. I took the bag outside and rinsed throughly with a garden hose. Afterwards I hung the bag in a shady place and let it dry thoroughly. At this point, the bag was pretty clean and the odor was pretty much gone..

Second, I returned the bag to the tub to give it a brief soak in MacNetts Enzyme stuff and hung the bag to dry again. This step probably could have been skipped as the woolite soaking did a good job, but I had purchased the stuff and I wanted to see how it worked! With cat spray you may want to go this route or use the pet specific enzyme odor killer that Jitterbug recommended. After drying, I sprayed the bag, at Dana's recommendation, with a DWR replacement spray...

The bag was clean and odor free... If you do this, try to make sure the foam padded straps hang straight when you dry. I found that the water (and the left over odor) migrate to the curve in the straps..It takes a lot longer to dry and you may have residual smells in that place...

This method is a little time consuming but you do get a clean and sweet smelling bag for your efforts...

03-13-2003, 10:45
Originally posted by SkyKing
I left my Backpack on the front porch overnite and my big Tom decided it was his..and marked it so! Can't stand cat whiz. :(

We once accidentally locked the neighbor's cat in our car for 3 days. The car reeked something awful. We washed the seat covers but couldn't wash the floor carpeting and wagon bed. After about 3-4 months, the smell went away. So maybe you just need to wait long enough, assuming you don't need to use the pack for a few months.

03-13-2003, 10:56
Three to four months? Ugh.

Let me guess: That's when you first started thinking walking was just as enjoyable as driving, serving as a catalyst for your hiking interest. Just a guess.

Blue Jay
03-13-2003, 12:06
Your local Vet usually has the best anticat smell chemicals

03-13-2003, 19:09
Thanks one and all for your suggestions. I called North Face and the girl said NOT to put it in a washer or tub..that it might come apart!? I told her it had been rained on and soaked a zillion times so how could soaking it in water hurt it? Go figure. :confused: I could hear the neurons colliding with the dark roots of her blond hair (no offence to you blonds)....no answer..and no help. Called local outfitter. They recommend a cleaner (that containe enzymes) from a hardware store or the Farmers Co-op for pet odors. They didn't think the tub or machine method would hurt and that the cleaner would either when heavily diluted. Treat it with DWR after cleaning. Good thing I have more than one pack!! Will post the method used and the results for future readers.

P.S. Old Tom gave me the cold shoulder till he found his food bowl empty....now ole SK is his best friend. :D

03-14-2003, 05:59
look at the bright side, with cat whizz on the pack the chances of a bear coming round are slimmer...bears dont like to be near mountain lions and cat whizz is cat whizz...probably puts the fear of the Mouse God into the mice too

Blue Jay
03-14-2003, 08:55
Simva you are absolutely brilliant. This is the greatest idea I've ever heard of. Mouse and bear repellant that lasts so long you don't even have to mail drop it.

03-14-2003, 18:12
Ya know Simva....your purdy dang smart fer ah Tennessee boy! :D I agree with Blue Jay. However....you might as well FORGET about staying in a shelter..cat whizz is a LOT stronger than hiker stank!! ;)