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I have a 9 year old Wenger Swiss Gear laptop backpack, used it almost daily, but it held up really well- only a couple very-small tears and the colors faded. (https://amzn.com/B0007QCT0G)

But it has taken in a lot of smell--mostly cooking smells (I live in a studio and cook curry once or twice a week) and from some dried out food-spills.

How do I clean it to get rid of the smell and some accumulated grimes? I was thinking a deep soak and soap, but don't want to ruin the bag. How do I proceed?

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I will address mainly the smell part. This will probably wash out the food spills as well.

The key here is that the smell comes from cooking and stays for a long time in your bag. It suggests that oil with plenty of cooking flavours that is dispersed as tiny particles in your flat when you cook meet your bag and stick to the fabric.

Since the dirt is oily, and the oil may have become very viscous with time, I suggest that you prewash the bag in warm water with dish washing liquid. Then rinse, and put on a regular washing machine cycle. Such bags resist washing well. Maybe just avoid spin-drying too fast, as some parts of the bag may contain cotton stuffing that could move around too much.

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