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Main Boards => Gear => Topic started by: Rob Goes Walking on 13:36:48, 26/10/18

Title: Smelly rucksack straps
Post by: Rob Goes Walking on 13:36:48, 26/10/18
My rucksack straps stink to high heaven and after wearing it, it makes me stink too. I'm going to buy some anti-bacterial spray to see if that stops it smelling but I wondered if this is a common problem and what others did about it? Maybe anti-bacterial spray isn't the best solution?
Title: Re: Smelly rucksack straps
Post by: kinkyboots on 13:50:31, 26/10/18
If you've got some Nikwax Tech Wash handy give the straps a good soak and scrub in some hand hot water.

It seems to shift most stuff including the bacteria infested stinky insides of boots.  ;)
Title: Re: Smelly rucksack straps
Post by: ninthace on 15:17:00, 26/10/18
My rucksack straps stink to high heaven and after wearing it, it makes me stink too. I'm going to buy some anti-bacterial spray to see if that stops it smelling but I wondered if this is a common problem and what others did about it? Maybe anti-bacterial spray isn't the best solution?
I have the same problem, I can find my rucksack with the lights out!  I have found three solutions:
1.  The idle one - leave your rucksack alone for an extended period so the bugs starve to death and the odorous chemicals oxidise.
2.  Buy a new rucksack.  This can be combined with solution #1 allowing you to rotate rucksacks.
3.  Empty your pack and wash it with Tech Wash in the bath.  Mind you it can take ages to dry and management plays merry hell about the mess.
Your choice.


As a chemist I can tell you that a spray with a dilute bleach solution will deodorise the straps too but it may not do the water repellent coating, stitching, fabric or the dye any good.  I have never had the bottle to test this hypothesis.
Title: Re: Smelly rucksack straps
Post by: Rob Goes Walking on 15:26:44, 26/10/18
Thanks guys. You both recommend Nikwax Tech Wash so I'm going to try the anti-bacterial spray first (as it's more convenient to purchase) and if that doesn't work I'll try Nikwax Tech Wash. As a chemist ninthace, can you think of any reason I shouldn't use anti-bacterial spray?
Title: Re: Smelly rucksack straps
Post by: ninthace on 15:30:48, 26/10/18
Thanks guys. You both recommend Nikwax Tech Wash so I'm going to try the anti-bacterial spray first (as it's more convenient to purchase) and if that doesn't work I'll try Nikwax Tech Wash. As a chemist ninthace, can you think of any reason I shouldn't use anti-bacterial spray?
If it is intended to treat fabrics then it ought to be fine,  if it is for anything else then I would have to read the label to have a fighting chance.
By the bye, do not confuse deodorants with anti bacterial sprays - they do different things.  Hope your spray is odourless or you could swap one problem for another.
Title: Re: Smelly rucksack straps
Post by: Rob Goes Walking on 15:47:25, 26/10/18
If it is intended to treat fabrics then it ought to be fine,  if it is for anything else then I would have to read the label to have a fighting chance.

No I was just going to use whatever they sold at B&M for kitchens and the ilk, I figured the smell is caused by bacteria so that should clean it and kill the smell in the process. Perhaps I'll follow your advice and plump for the Nikwax Tech Wash instead if it might damage my rucksack; I had thought it was a rubbery-type material on the strap but upon inspecting it, it's some sort of absorbent fabric (why didn't they make it a rubbery type of material that's easy to clean?).

By the bye, do not confuse deodorants with anti bacterial sprays - they do different things.  Hope your spray is odourless or you could swap one problem for another.

I've got boot deodorant, that might work? I'm sceptical though as it only solves the problem in boots for a short while then you have to do it again.
Title: Re: Smelly rucksack straps
Post by: kinkyboots on 15:55:02, 26/10/18
I think you'll have much better results if you try to wash out the bacteria or whatever else might be causing the smell rather than covering it over with a spray.

You can buy a 100ml sachet from eBay for £1.99 delivered or from your local Go Outdoors in various sizes.
Title: Re: Smelly rucksack straps
Post by: Rob Goes Walking on 15:59:58, 26/10/18
You can buy a 100ml sachet from eBay for £1.99 delivered or from your local Go Outdoors in various sizes.


I'll pick it up from Go Outdoors on Sunday. Thanks kinkyboots.
Title: Re: Smelly rucksack straps
Post by: ninthace on 16:22:29, 26/10/18
You can sterilize things with a decent belt of microwaves but the object should not have any metal in it or it goes all sparkly and catches fire.  I have used it for jars of beans to kill weevils.  Of course you would be hard put to get a rucksack into a domestic microwave but if you had a mate with a radar set..........
Title: Re: Smelly rucksack straps
Post by: Rob Goes Walking on 16:56:25, 26/10/18
You can sterilize things with a decent belt of microwaves but the object should not have any metal in it or it goes all sparkly and catches fire.  I have used it for jars of beans to kill weevils.  Of course you would be hard put to get a rucksack into a domestic microwave but if you had a mate with a radar set..........


My rucksack has metal zips so even if I could fit it in a microwave it would arc. I don't have a mate with a radar set unfortunately so it's Tech Wash for me.
Title: Re: Smelly rucksack straps
Post by: Mel on 18:02:21, 26/10/18
I just squish mine about in a bathtub of warm water and laundry detergent with a final rinse of fabric softener.  No reason why you couldn't do that with just the straps I don't suppose.  Add a bit of Dettol or Zoflora for anti-bacterial action.  I wouldn't use bleach unless you like a tie-dye effect.


Hang it on the washing line to drip dry and job's a good 'un.

Title: Re: Smelly rucksack straps
Post by: Thedogsmother on 21:41:48, 26/10/18
I just dunk mine up and down in the bath with a scoop of soda crystals which are cheap enough. Donít know if it is recommended but it works for me and doesnít take much effort.
Title: Re: Smelly rucksack straps
Post by: Chris954 on 22:38:16, 30/10/18
as a motorcyclist, when my gloves get a bit sweaty and stinky I put them in the freezer for a couple of days.
Title: Re: Smelly rucksack straps
Post by: richardh1905 on 08:04:03, 31/10/18

I have to confess that I have never even considered washing a rucksack; not noticed the straps being particularly smelly.


Fabric boots, however, are on a par with wet trainers - disgusting. After the failure of my last pair, I have decided to give up on them altogether and stick to leather, even if it means paying a bit more.


..and as for my Buff; it stinks! (but at least it is easy to wash).
Title: Re: Smelly rucksack straps
Post by: Islandplodder on 12:02:42, 31/10/18
I have just spent half an hour neurotically sniffing rucksack straps.  They seem ok, but maybe it helps that I have an embarrassing number of rucksacks of various ages and can rotate them a bit. 
Title: Re: Smelly rucksack straps
Post by: Rob Goes Walking on 23:29:53, 31/10/18
I live in a bedsit so bath tubs and washing lines are out of the question although I can get by using bowls and hanging the rucksack in my shower. I wish I had room for an embarrassing number of rucksacks!

Anyway, I got Grangers Performance Cleaner as recommended by the guy in Go Outdoors as Nikwax Tech Wash was for washing machines (but so is the Grangers so I don't know what he was talking about). It cleaned one strap successfully but the other one is still a bit smelly and needs doing again. I've ordered some Grangers Odour Eliminator (https://grangers.co.uk/products/odour-eliminator) too which I think might help finish the job after a clean. What do you guys think of Granger's vs Nikwax?
Title: Re: Smelly rucksack straps
Post by: Rob Goes Walking on 21:23:59, 29/03/19
The odour eliminator was useless. Today I put the backpack in the washing machine (with regular detergent) and the straps still smell. Think I need to buy a backpack with less thick and absorbent straps  :( 
Title: Re: Smelly rucksack straps
Post by: ninthace on 21:58:17, 29/03/19
The odour eliminator was useless. Today I put the backpack in the washing machine (with regular detergent) and the straps still smell. Think I need to buy a backpack with less thick and absorbent straps  :(
How are you storing your pack between trips?  I find keeping it open to the room so it can air helps it deodorise between trips, does nothing for the room itís in though.  Dilute hypochlorite such as Domestos breaks down the odorants and kills the bugs that cause them - test it on an invisible part of the strap first, the dye might not like it.  Another technique that might work if you are in a confined space such as a bedsit would be to place a plastic tub of dilute bleach in a bin bag along with your pack and seal it up for a few days to fumigate the pack.  Shouldnít rot modern stitching.
Title: Re: Smelly rucksack straps
Post by: Rob Goes Walking on 22:05:43, 29/03/19
I just posted a post asking about buying a new one while you wrote this. Can't hurt to have two! It would be nice if I can save the Orbit 40.

It's stored open to the room. If left for a while the smell goes away but when the straps get wet it returns.

I'm no longer in a bedsit and now have a fair bit of space.

Thanks for the fumigation idea I will probably try that.

As the pack is not going to get used much more unless it stops smelling I'll give the bleach on the straps a go if fumigation doesn't work.
Title: Re: Smelly rucksack straps
Post by: Rob Goes Walking on 23:42:52, 29/03/19
How much should I dilute the bleach? This bleach contains sodium hypochlorite and sodium laureth sulphate/Amides, coco. N[3-dimethylamino)propyl]. Is it suitable?