Experience From - Vida, Norm Yarger, Mike, George Parrott, John Thieme,
Mariko Fujinaka wrote:
"I recently noticed that my fanny/waist packs are disgusting piles of muck. Any suggestions regarding the best methods for cleaning them? I am wary of throwing them in the washing machine for fear that the foam and padding will become deformed or otherwise screwed up."Depends who made your pack. I looked at my day pack last weekend and had a similar reaction (I've owned it for five, six years?) and threw it into the wash with the rest of the snowshoeing gear that I wore that day, threw in some Tide, ran it through the cold/cold regular cycle, threw it into the dryer on regular, and voila!! a nice clean pack. Looks like new.
Disclaimer: my pack is made by Mountain Equipment Coop, it's the little 17 liter day pack that is sturdy canvas on the outside (with small zippered mid-pocket) and padded back.
I would have no trouble throwing your pack in the wash (hey, it's yours ;-) but I would be careful about the dryer. Some packs are coated with paraffin on the inside or other waterproof insulators, and they could damage the dryer, or disfigure the day pack. You might want to air dry the pack after washing, or be daring, and tumble-dry it on low temp if you are a bit anxious for time, and for results.
I would use warm, soapy water in a bucket. Soak, scrub with a small brush, and rinse well. Then buckle it around a clothesline or lay out flat to dry. Sort of like washing a good sweater, but the water can probably be warmer without doing damage.
Washing machines work pretty well, avoid hot water and bleaches that will eat foam. It's probably a good idea to wash your packs by themselves rather than with the rest of your grungy clothes, all the Velcro will lock onto any fabrics and create a minor nightmare of tangled stinking polypropylene, olefin, and trail dung.
On the other hand, it's just as easy to wash your packs at the same time as your shoes with the garden hose and a scrub brush.
We do toss ours into the washing machine, albeit on a "gentle" cycle, and let the hardware do its job. We also frequently machine wash our running shoes.
For those more concerned about the wear and tear from the machine, then hand washing in a bucket is another option, for both waist packs and for shoes.
For really dirty shoes...we do hose them down and get the muck off before going to the machine!
Here at Team Thieme we've been washing our water bottle holder/fanny packs from Ultimate Directions for years with no bad results. The smaller, but much better looking, half of the team (Judy) will not tolerate smelly gear.) We use cold water and gentle cycle and let me air dry.
This also treatment also works for the freebie waist packs that Norm gives out at Sunmart Texas Trails although it's necessary to lubricate the zipper on these after washing.