Dec 1, 2011 at 1:33 pm #1282610
I recently picked up a pack online that was purported to be new/ never used. Well, it turned out to be pretty darn used and pretty stinky, reeking of b.o. and armpit soup. Don't worry, I don't think it belonged to anyone on these forums, as it was picked up from eBay.
Anyhow, after a couple bathtub washings with detergent and a near full bottle of febreeze, I've managed to remove the odor from the back panel, hip belt, and majority of the shoulder harness. I still detect a pretty strong odor at the very bottom tip of the shoulder harness right by where it would have met the user's armpit. Normally I'd just throw it in the washing machine with a cup of white vinegar but it's awkward size and shape prevents me from doing so. I was thinking of spraying vinegar directly on the spot but am worried about any fabric bleaching or other ill effects. Are my worries unfounded?
Any other suggestions or home remedies before I need to shell out the dough to get professional odor eliminating products from mcnett?Dec 1, 2011 at 2:25 pm #1807656
OxyClean got diesel smell out. I'd give it a try.Dec 1, 2011 at 2:36 pm #1807659
About a week ago I tried boiling my clothes that I could never get the stink out of no matter how much detergent or hot wash cycles it went through in the washing machine. The boiling worked. That's a lot harder with a backpack though. You have a bunch of soup kitchen size pots?Dec 1, 2011 at 2:52 pm #1807665
Thanks for the tips. Eugene, I may choose boiling as a last resort. No on the kitchen size pots, but in the past when dyeing backpacks, I've had great success using a plastic bin that I constantly filled and refilled with boiling water poured from pots heated on my stove top. Can you give me more details? How long were you boiling the shirts for?
Also, because it's only isolated to the shoulder harness straps, I bet I could just dip that portion into a pot of boiling water, without having to fulling submerge the entire back.
ThanksDec 1, 2011 at 3:07 pm #1807667
If the organic material that caused the odor is still there, then boiling will only cook the proteins and help them set in the material. That is why protein based stains are supposed to be washed on the cold cycle.
I would soak the straps in a cleaner that is oxygen or enzyme based like Oxyclean or Nature's Miracle (the stuff to clean up pet messes). Then wash/rinse in cold water to get out all the cleaner. Leaving out in sunlight will also eliminate sweat odors/stains.
If it were my backpack, I'd soak the whole thing and leave in sunlight, even if it appears the smell is gone from the rest of the pack.
If you decide to boil, let us know how that goes.
BTW, yuck.Dec 1, 2011 at 3:14 pm #1807671
Thanks for bringing up those points RB. Looks like oxyclean is the best step.
Also, I agree about the Yuck…
I was walking around the city using it as a daypack just to try it out and I kept thinking…WTH is that God awful smell? And then I realized it was me, or at least my pack. And then I became extremely self-conscious. The whole experience just felt….dirty.
It reminds me of that episode of Seinfeld with the car that he couldn't sell because of the awful stench embedded in it.
I think there should be some unspoken rule that if your pack smells horrid because of your unique body characteristics, there is a duty to disclose this to potential buyers before you bestow this biological WMD on some poor victim.Dec 1, 2011 at 3:26 pm #1807675
I was also thinking of Seinfeld when I read your post.
Also, spraying Windex (original formula) will eliminate stains/odors on just about anything caused by just about anything [organic].Dec 1, 2011 at 3:26 pm #1807676
Boiling also denatures the proteins, which may be enough to change it into something that doesn't stick or may even release it from the material. If there happens to be body oils in the fabric, then boiling will really help get it out.Dec 1, 2011 at 3:28 pm #1807677
A plastic bin filled with boiling water would probably work. When I did it, I didn't use any detergent, but that might help. I boiled it for quite some time, but that's because I was distracted. I did agitate it a few times to help get the grime out.Dec 1, 2011 at 3:30 pm #1807678
@kgottshalkLocale: Colorado, USA
I know it is not "green", but a quick soak in some diluted chlorine bleach hot water always fixes this for me. I just use a big "glug" (maybe 1/4 to 1/2 cup) in a bucket of hot water. I use it for synthetic shirts, it doesn't seem to affect the color or life of the garments so far.
KarlDec 1, 2011 at 3:49 pm #1807685
I would try soaking in baking soda/water mix.Dec 1, 2011 at 4:24 pm #1807698
I would stick it in the freezer for a day or two. Seems to work on my shoes. Sounds like I need to do more research though, as I thought BO was the smell of bacterial excrement as it ingests components of your sweat. Kill the bacteria (ie with extreme temperatures), kill the source of the smell. Haven't heard of the idea of it being pure proteins.Dec 1, 2011 at 4:44 pm #1807708
@b-g-2-2Locale: Silicon Valley
There are few, if any, bacteria that can live at the temperature of boiling water. An exception might be found in the geysers at Yellowstone.
–B.G.–Dec 1, 2011 at 4:47 pm #1807711
Ozone cannot be beat for eliminating odors.Dec 1, 2011 at 4:54 pm #1807714
Yes, the bacteria that feed on the sweat release enzymes (lipases) that break the lipids in sweat into small acid molecules that smell. Bacteria are made of proteins and proteins are large "sticky" molecules that are difficult to remove. Also, lipids are difficult to wash away since they are hydrophobic.
BTW, a lot of bacteria can survive freezing. When they are reintroduced to their food source and a moist environment, they come out of dormancy and thrive again.
High heat like boiling will kill them, but the organic matter will be cooked into the material, becoming food for other organisms. Soaps made of strong bases (K-OH) will destroy cells and make them less sticky and easier to wash away, but I wouldn't wash my pack in a really strong base.Dec 1, 2011 at 5:06 pm #1807718
@ngatelLocale: Southern California
Well since you got most of it out, your BO is going to exterminate the existing BO, and it will soon smell like roses to you :)Dec 1, 2011 at 7:08 pm #1807772
@paulsiegelLocale: Southern Appalachians
In the caving community white vinegar is often used to get the cave funk out of permeable clothes.
I image you could spray vinegar on your pack and eliminate some of the b.o. by letting it evaporate.Dec 1, 2011 at 8:53 pm #1807807
@danepackerLocale: Mojave Desert
I rinse my backpack suspension with a garden hose after I return from a trip. Then I spray on Sport Fabreeze, which is good for eliminating sweat smell.
Also I spray Sport Fabreeze on the inside of my down bag after a trip and let it lay in the intense Las Vegas sun for a few hours. The UV rays do kill some bacteria.
When camping I try to always have a sleeping only" shirt to keep my bag cleaner. When it's cooler I use a light polyester long john top and bottom.Dec 1, 2011 at 9:03 pm #1807812
– -K.T.- –Participant
Borax The alkaline in it works wonders.Dec 1, 2011 at 9:18 pm #1807817
@eugeneiusLocale: Nuevo Mexico
Soak it in Bell's Hopslam or some diluted Modus Hoperandi, that will strip the stink right out of your pack and replace it with the scent of heaven.Dec 1, 2011 at 9:38 pm #1807819
Awesome guys, I have plenty of options now. I'll have to sit down one weekend and try em out.
Eugene, I already tried Rogue hazelnut brown nectar to no avail. Nope, still smelly, but now slightly buzzed. The stink…'tis a mighty beast ;)Dec 2, 2011 at 3:45 am #1807859
@leadfootLocale: Middle Virginia
Try Mirazyme by McNett. I used it on my pack that had hiking funk and it worked fine.Dec 2, 2011 at 5:35 am #1807869
+1 vinegar. I've used this on most of my synthetics where regular detergent just wouldn't get the stink out. Works rather well (and cheap too boot).
Ammonia works too, though that is a little more serious and I'm not certain how you'd wash that out of the pack once applied.
Good luckDec 2, 2011 at 6:31 am #1807881
@leslerLocale: right here, right now
hey. i use an ancillary of natural and/or organic products…
baking soda combined with "grab green"– a newly discovered brand in that delivers a killer dose of plant-based cleaning expertise. having tried many others (bio-kleen, seventh generation, planet), i've found grab green to be the forerunner. of choice is their "3-in-1" UNSCENTED detergent. packed in self-dissolving pods, i've found this product thoroughly cleans my gear and most importantly, keeps artifical and unecessary chemical-based compounds out of earths' bounds. it's a bit on the expensive side, (hit me up with a pm and i'd be happy to drop you a sample).
provided you've a big wash sink (or bathtub), you can still use the pods (no goopy aftermathe).
in truth, b.o. is an unavoidable by-product of vigorous outdoor activity and unless garments, etc. are tended to with the meticulous care that they so deserve (i.e. regular washings), the harsh reality is that you might just be stuck with it, and that stinks.Jan 24, 2013 at 11:41 pm #1947067
In case anyone was interested, here are my findings:
1) Boiling- did nothing to the odor
2) Freezing – did nothing to the odor
3) Vinegar – worked somewhat, but wary of use as I think it lead to a little color fading
4) Mirazyme by McNett -made a very noticeable difference, but lingering odor remained
and finally…the one that got it all out…
(thank you doggy that pooped in my apartment)
The Simple Solution Pet Odor remover contains denatured ethanol…anyone know if that's safe for wp/b fabrics?
Caveat: the Simple Solution Pet Odor remover is scented (pretty sweet smelling). Ingredients are Purified water, denatured ethanol, non-pathogenic bacteria, natural enzymes, mild detergent, fragrance.
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