Techniques & Advice, The Lowdown

How to Clean and Maintain your Duluth Pack Bags

May 21, 2012
Duluth Pack Monarch

Caring for your Duluth Pack is easier than you may think.  It’s time to take your packs out of the closet, if you haven’t already, and get them ready for your next adventure!


Caring for your Canvas & Leather
Duluth Pack Products

Duluth Pack products only get better with age. Here are a few maintenance suggestions to help your product last a lifetime.

Washing and Maintaining:

When not in use, store Duluth Pack products in a cool, dry and well ventilated area to avoid mold and mildew.  If washing becomes necessary, spot wash with warm water and a mild soap, such as the Mirazyme Odor Eliminator. This can be done at the beginning of the season if you find your packs have a musty smell.

Leather Care:

Oil and condition leather components on a regular basis or when leather looks dry.  Without proper conditioning, the leather will become brittle and may break when you really don’t want it to!  We suggest Lexol Leather care products such as Lexol Leather Conditioner (also available in Quick Wipes).

Canvas Care:

You can make your canvas pack even more water-resistant, by using Nikwax Cotton Proof as directed.  Our waxed canvas products can be re-waxed as needed, or applied with Nikwax Wax-Cotton Proof.  When using your packs this summer, remember the following:

1. Our canvas is over dyed and when wet, the canvas may bleed.

2. Remove contents and allow the product to dry completely.

3. Canvas is a natural, water resistant, and breathable fiber, which means it will dry quickly and completely so you won’t have to worry about your stuff being wet for an entire trip!

Want to see these tips in action? Check out our demonstration video here: How to Clean a Duluth Pack.


Find all Care and Maintenance products for your Duluth Pack here.



  • David August 24, 2012 at 6:06 pm

    I recently purchased a used Duluth Pack which someone had treated heavily with a wax-based waterproofing. The canvas is actually stiff–more like a waxed cotton raincoat than something treated with Nikwax or similar. And the waterproofing has held up nicely….the trouble is, it was stored in a garage and smells terrible. I suspect anything carried in it would take on the same smell and definitely do not want that. But….I have no idea how to clean the smelly old wax off or at least deodorize it.

    Does anyone have any ideas they’d care to share? It’s a beautiful vintage pack….it just needs some attention to repair someone’s attempt to “improve” it.

    • BetsyM. August 28, 2012 at 11:42 am

      Hi David,
      Congratulations on an amazing find! We have a few ideas that can definitely help you out. For starters, make sure you leave the pack outside to air out for several days. Then, we recommend you try Mirazyme Odor Eliminator to get rid of the smell. If you would like to re-apply the wax coating, you could try either Nikwax Wax Proof or Filson Tin Wax. Hope this helps!

  • Christy June 15, 2013 at 11:08 am

    Hi there,
    I love my Duluth backpack, and have used it as a makeshift diaper bag. My son’s sippy cups have leaked all over it and I’m curious how to get the dried milk off-what to you recommend?

    • Abby June 17, 2013 at 1:00 pm

      Hi Christy,
      Sorry about your spill! We recommend using Mirazyme Odor Eliminator (a mild soap) with warm water. Do not submerge the entire pack – we don’t want to ruin the leather!
      Good luck!

  • Molly October 8, 2013 at 4:56 pm

    I have the khaki market tote and mistakenly wore new jeans and the jean dye rubbed off on the bag. Do you have any suggestions on getting it out?

  • diana madden March 20, 2014 at 12:34 pm

    My daughter spilled cocoa on her canvas Duluth pack, why can’t you just wash it in the machine on gentle cycle, I’m not concerned about the leather getting wet (the canvas does not feel waxed), but I can’t get past my need to submerge it in water. Our machine is front loading with no agitator.

    • MollyS March 21, 2014 at 11:40 am

      That should be fine, but the leather will crack and split so please air dry the pack and immediately treat all leather with a leather conditioner.
      Good luck!

  • seddy August 26, 2015 at 2:10 pm


    I am interested in purchasing an everyday work bag and I am considering the Safari Portfolio or the Classic Carry on. I have yet to decide on which one fits my needs better.

    Regardless, I have a question about the product.

    What do you mean by “Our canvas is over dyed and when wet, the canvas may bleed.”?

    Does that mean there is a possibility that the canvas will bleed/stain my dress pants when rubbed against each other?

    Please advise.


    • Andrea August 27, 2015 at 9:53 am

      Hi Seddy!
      We can help narrow down which style of bag is best for your needs and wants.
      First off, what will you primarily be using the bag for?
      When we state, “Our canvas is over dyed and when wet, the canvas may bleed” is to explain their is a possibly on a few canvas hues that may bleed or stain apparel in the first few uses of wearing.

      Please let us know if there is any other way we may help you!


      Your Duluth Pack friend

      • seddy August 27, 2015 at 11:31 am

        Thanks for the quick reply!
        I will be using the bag for work (in an office) and I am still undecided about the size I want.
        The main item that will be in my bag will be my 13.3 inch screen laptop and its charger.
        And occasionally I bring a plastic container from home for food.
        I’m sure this will all fit the Safari Portfolio but I’m undecided if I want to move up to a larger size bag.
        But I am most concerned about the bleeding thing.
        That’s the reason I’m looking into getting a new messenger bag. Because my current one is synthetic leather and it stains my left side pocket on my light shaded dress pants when rubbed excessively.
        I am interested in the olive color.
        Is that color prone to easy bleeding?


        • Andrea August 27, 2015 at 11:40 am

          Hey there!
          Okay, that’s great to know it will be for work purposes. Do you prefer a zipper closure or a buckle closure for your products inside?
          The Olive Drab hue is our top selling color and it primarily does NOT bleed it’s color. Highly recommend going with that hue, especially after a few years, the color looks fantastic.

          • seddy August 27, 2015 at 1:49 pm

            I’m really glad to hear that about the Olive color!
            I prefer zipper closer since I am constantly going in and out of my bag!
            I noticed your buckle closure is an actual buckle, and it might be tough to go in and out of my bag while I’m on the move.
            But thanks for clarifying the bleeding thing! As that was my main concern.
            Now that I have the green light, I’ll make the purchase as soon I make up my mind.
            I’m sure I’ll be happy with whichever bag I choose since they both look great!
            Thanks for all your help!

          • Andrea August 27, 2015 at 2:19 pm

            I think we found the bag that suits your needs. If a buckle closure is not sounding ideal now, we highly recommend going with the zipper styles!
            Of course, please feel free to go in our flagship store in Canal Park, Duluth, Minnesota and physically hold the bag or check out the selection online, too!

            Are there any other questions I can help you with today?

  • seddy August 27, 2015 at 2:24 pm

    I’d love to check out your flagship store but I live in New York City!
    And no, I don’t have any more questions; You’ve been very helpful!
    Thanks again!

    • Andrea August 27, 2015 at 2:32 pm

      Thank you and happy shopping! :)

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