cleaning a funny-smelling backpack

4:45 p.m. on May 14, 2006 (EDT)
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I just bought a used Gregory Shasta backpack for my daughter to take to Honduras for the summer. It has a funky smell, not really stinky, but odd. Can anyone tell me how to clean this pack without ruining it? She leaves on June 8th.
Thank you!

11:54 a.m. on May 15, 2006 (EDT)
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Try washing it in the bathtub with a mild dishwashing soap, and scrub with a brush inside and out. Then air it out thoroughly when drying it (not in direct sunlight). If it is the problem that often comes up with coated fabrics, though, you might not be able to get rid of the smell.

3:48 p.m. on May 15, 2006 (EDT)
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McNett sells a product called Mirazyme. It's made to get the smell out of wetsuits, but works on other items as well. I've used it on tents with good success. Diluted baking soda may work as well.

7:27 p.m. on May 16, 2006 (EDT)

once i had a dried chili container that was in my backpack, and it was puntured and spilled. my pack smelled like crap for the rest of the trip. when i got home i washed it in the bathtub. then sprayed it with lysol several times each day over the folowing week (it was an old pack that i didn't like anyways so i wasn't worried about messing it up).
it smells like new now, so maybe that would work for you (but since it's a new pack, i'd skip the lysol).

11:13 p.m. on May 16, 2006 (EDT)
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Reminds me .. One summer, I was packing up to hand over my Scoutmaster of the troop for the first week of a 2 week summer camp session. I had left the top pocket of the pack open for a short time, but buttoned everything up for the drive home from the Sierra across the Central Valley of Calif (100+ heat) to return to the SFBay Area. The pack rode in the trunk of the car, where temperatures got at least to 100 and probably hotter during the 5 hour drive. While unpacking, I unzipped the top pocket and was greeted by this horrible stench. As I pulled everything out, I discovered a mouse that had entered the pocket during the few minutes my back was turned. It had obviously died in the heat and was ripening rapidly. I did a lot of washing (contents as well as the pocket), with numerous repetitions, plus a lot of airing out. I didn't use the pack for several months, but it did eventually lose the stench.

Moral of the story - don't turn your back when any part of the pack is open, while you are in rodent country.

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