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  1. #1
    Senior Member PatrickGSR94's Avatar
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    Cleaning the "back" of a backpack?

    I rarely have to commute with a backpack, but when I do of course the back panel up against my back gets all sweaty. Any recommendations on how to clean it? Could I just throw the whole backpack into the wash, and maybe let it air dry?

    This is not a cycling-specific backpack, it's just something I picked up from Forever 21 when I was there in the store with my wife one day on vacation, and I happened to see them for 30 bucks. But it has a nice padded and fairly rigid back panel, chest strap and all that.
    2011 Felt Z85 105 | Ultegra | KMC | Selle Italia | Vuelta | Topeak
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  2. #2
    Seņior Member ItsJustMe's Avatar
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    I just toss them in the wash.
    Work: the 8 hours that separates bike rides.

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    Does it smell? If no smell, dont worry about it.
    Feel free to visit my blog www.chefonabicycle.com

  4. #4
    Senior Member PatrickGSR94's Avatar
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    Well right now no, just thinking ahead, because eventually it WILL get some funk up in there.
    2011 Felt Z85 105 | Ultegra | KMC | Selle Italia | Vuelta | Topeak
    90's-ish KHS Alite 1000 MTB, *hybridized*

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    Quote Originally Posted by PatrickGSR94 View Post
    Well right now no, just thinking ahead, because eventually it WILL get some funk up in there.
    I have used my backpack and never had to wash it from the sweat in the back. No stinky stinky. So unless you wear it everyday, I think you are ok.
    Feel free to visit my blog www.chefonabicycle.com

  6. #6
    my nose itches starla's Avatar
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    I would think a spot cleaning with mild soap and water mixture would be enough. I know my backpack has a warning not to machine wash.

  7. #7
    Senior Member PatrickGSR94's Avatar
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    Yeah I guess I can try that, as that's pretty much what I do anyway with things like helmet straps, etc.
    2011 Felt Z85 105 | Ultegra | KMC | Selle Italia | Vuelta | Topeak
    90's-ish KHS Alite 1000 MTB, *hybridized*

  8. #8
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    Well right now no, just thinking ahead, because eventually it WILL get some funk up in there.
    actually screwing off at work,

    right?


    Answer is: MudGuards on the Bike.

  9. #9
    Senior Member ill.clyde's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by starla View Post
    I would think a spot cleaning with mild soap and water mixture would be enough. I know my backpack has a warning not to machine wash.
    Febreeze in a pinch too ...

  10. #10
    Senior Member PatrickGSR94's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post
    actually screwing off at work,

    right?


    Answer is: MudGuards on the Bike.
    huh? I'm talking about sweat soaking the back of the pack, not mud getting on it from below. I have fenders for that purpose.
    2011 Felt Z85 105 | Ultegra | KMC | Selle Italia | Vuelta | Topeak
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  11. #11
    Senior Member ill.clyde's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PatrickGSR94 View Post
    huh? I'm talking about sweat soaking the back of the pack, not mud getting on it from below. I have fenders for that purpose.
    Sometimes it's best to just smile and nod

  12. #12
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    is there a how to wash stuff forum?

  13. #13
    http://www.538.nl acidfast7's Avatar
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    my bag doesn't smell nor look dirty ... the biggest reason I was for black.

    when it does stick a little usually from chesse or meat that I take as a carry-on, I just spray it with some cologne.
    Movimento 5 Stelle (M5S)
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  14. #14
    Senior Member GeneO's Avatar
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    I just hose mine off with water. Mmmm, smells like seawater
    2012 Felt F55X

  15. #15
    Senior Member locolobo13's Avatar
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    Depends. Cookie crumbs? Lunch? Auto grease? Mud from the rear tire? I treat them differently. Don't wash mine regularly. Just clean it when needed.

    Is there a tag on it with washing instructions? Or maybe the manufacturer website will have instructions.

  16. #16
    Senior Member Blue_Bulldog's Avatar
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    Ok, if you ever want to learn how to get sweat stench out of anything.... ask a hockey player.

    Anyone here a hockey player?

    Anyone?

    Oh, right I was! Played since I was 11 till I retired in 2010. Cool, so I'm your guy.

    Here's the thing about sweat stench. It's caused by bacteria who love to live in dark, warm, damp areas.... kind of like the inside of an inline hockey girdle, or the padding of your backpack. So what you want to do, instead of cleaning it, is kill the bacteria. Lucky for you, these bacteria are in the .001% that antibacterial soap won't kill. Awesome, huh? However, there's one thing that kills any bacteria, or any living thing for that matter. Heat. So what you want to do is steam that sucker out. Hang it up somewhere it will stay without you holding it. I used to put my girdle straps around the shower curtain rod and let it hang, you do what feels right. Then you take an iron that has a steam setting for getting wrinkles out of dresses and stuff. Put steam to whatever you want to disinfect, and steam the heck out of it for a while. 212deg steam will cause a bacteria genocide, and the stench which is actually the bacteria and mildew giving off weird gasses... will go away. Steam it for a WHILE. After that, spray it down with Lysol disinfectant in whatever scent you like (I'm a Clean Linen man, but find one that works for you) just to kill any of the tough buggers that made it though.

    Do this as often as needed, and you should be golden. If you've ever thought about what goes on inside a hockey girdle... and this method knocks that out.... it can handle your backpack.


    Oh.... make sure you take your MacBook out of the backpack first. Hashtag just saying.

  17. #17
    Senior Member rumrunn6's Avatar
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    can you rig a barrier between you and the back pack that you can remove and wash, like maybe a dishcloth?
    cycling is like baseball ~ it doesn't take much to make it interesting

  18. #18
    http://www.538.nl acidfast7's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Blue_Bulldog View Post
    Ok, if you ever want to learn how to get sweat stench out of anything.... ask a hockey player.

    Anyone here a hockey player?

    Anyone?

    Oh, right I was! Played since I was 11 till I retired in 2010. Cool, so I'm your guy.

    Here's the thing about sweat stench. It's caused by bacteria who love to live in dark, warm, damp areas.... kind of like the inside of an inline hockey girdle, or the padding of your backpack. So what you want to do, instead of cleaning it, is kill the bacteria. Lucky for you, these bacteria are in the .001% that antibacterial soap won't kill. Awesome, huh? However, there's one thing that kills any bacteria, or any living thing for that matter. Heat. So what you want to do is steam that sucker out. Hang it up somewhere it will stay without you holding it. I used to put my girdle straps around the shower curtain rod and let it hang, you do what feels right. Then you take an iron that has a steam setting for getting wrinkles out of dresses and stuff. Put steam to whatever you want to disinfect, and steam the heck out of it for a while. 212deg steam will cause a bacteria genocide, and the stench which is actually the bacteria and mildew giving off weird gasses... will go away. Steam it for a WHILE. After that, spray it down with Lysol disinfectant in whatever scent you like (I'm a Clean Linen man, but find one that works for you) just to kill any of the tough buggers that made it though.

    Do this as often as needed, and you should be golden. If you've ever thought about what goes on inside a hockey girdle... and this method knocks that out.... it can handle your backpack.


    Oh.... make sure you take your MacBook out of the backpack first. Hashtag just saying.
    As a microbiologist, freezing actually works better and is easier on material. But heat will work as well.

    We have entire rooms that stay at -20C and -30C which works quite well. Sometimes, I throw my clothes into the -80C standing freezer which gets all of the smell out, which is all I need as my clothes don't get very dirty at work and it's very easy on the fabric (which is nice as my shirts usually run roughly €150 each). That way I seem to get roughly 5 years per shirt with a 6/7-shirt rotation.
    Movimento 5 Stelle (M5S)
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  19. #19
    Senior Member Blue_Bulldog's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by acidfast7 View Post
    As a microbiologist, freezing actually works better and is easier on material. But heat will work as well.

    We have entire rooms that stay at -20C and -30C which works quite well.
    Scientifically yeah. Practically... I don't know any residence with a freezer that gets that cold. Or that has room for a backpack. Or that run on Celsius (that was a joke).

    Not to mention, while you're steaming it out? Free facial. Though I don't know why you'd be sticking your face in steam carrying away 2 weeks of back sweat, but I don't judge.

  20. #20
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    I have an LL Bean Escape that I commute with several times a week, even in the summer. If it seems grungy I toss in the in the washing machine then hang it to dry. No ill effects - not sure the tags say not to do it, never read them.

  21. #21
    http://www.538.nl acidfast7's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Blue_Bulldog View Post
    Scientifically yeah. Practically... I don't know any residence with a freezer that gets that cold. Or that has room for a backpack. Or that run on Celsius (that was a joke).

    Not to mention, while you're steaming it out? Free facial. Though I don't know why you'd be sticking your face in steam carrying away 2 weeks of back sweat, but I don't judge.
    Actually, the standard house freezer should be pretty close to -20C. At least the German ones (Liebherr) with the digital display usually say -20C, which is only -4F. Levis had a campaign over here recommending jeans in the freezer to save water which makes some sense ... however, most people I know tend to get roughly between 5-10 days of wearing between washing denim, so I don't think the water savings is that great.
    Movimento 5 Stelle (M5S)
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  22. #22
    Senior Member PatrickGSR94's Avatar
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    I know plenty of people who wash denim maybe 2 or 3 times in a year.
    2011 Felt Z85 105 | Ultegra | KMC | Selle Italia | Vuelta | Topeak
    90's-ish KHS Alite 1000 MTB, *hybridized*

  23. #23
    Senior Member Astrozombie's Avatar
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    ^ Same, aren't jeans supposed to be "beater" pants?? What's the big deal! Takes a long time to stink

    So using that line of thinking, you should wash your clothes in cold or hot water? Cold so it doesn't shrink i guess? And you don't have to bother heating it up
    Assume nothing; Question everything

  24. #24
    Senior Member Blue_Bulldog's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Astrozombie View Post
    So using that line of thinking, you should wash your clothes in cold or hot water? Cold so it doesn't shrink i guess? And you don't have to bother heating it up
    Cold. The water never gets hot enough to mess up bacteria or allergens. It's in the dryer that stuff gets real in bacteria land. Washing in hot water is only good if you like colors bleeding. In my experience, anyway. And thats just what my allergist told me. So... flame him if you disagree. Not me.

    As far as getting the stank out, theres another, more preventative option I forgot about.

    Go to the pet store, walk to the fish section. Go to the area where they sell filters and stuff. Look for the bags of activated carbon. You stick it in a certain type of filter, and AquaClear makes them in little mesh "sachets" (this is America, Jack... they're bags.). Grab one of these badboys, they're like $5 or something. Take it home, rinse it off to get the carbon dust off, dry it out. Toss one of these in your backpack, or better yet fasten it to the back with a staple or tape or something removable. We used to toss these in our hockey bags and forget about them, since we often did the same thing with our stank equipment full of sweat out of places I'd rather not discuss. Throw some sweaty hockey gear in a bag, and then forget about it for a few days... it'll make lutefisk smell good by comparison. So we threw those carbon bags in our equipment bag because it sucks out the stuff that makes air stink, and bought us a few extra days of "Shoot, I forgot to dry my gear out."

    Let the bag of activated carbon hang inside your bag, and I bet you'll notice a massive decrease in the frequency of stink lines coming out of your backpack. Also very handy if you ever carry wet swimsuits or towels in there. Uhh... I've heard....

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