How to Clean a Suitcase

Anuja Marathe Kanhere May 13, 2019
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Suitcases are exposed to numerous types of bacteria before and after a journey. Here is how you can hygienically clean your suitcase.
Heading out on a long trip naturally involves packing a suitcase full of clothing and all essential things to make your trip comfortable. Throughout the journey, suitcase is handled by 'n' number of people.
And it is kept standing at some of the most unhygienic places like airport floors, railway platforms, on some soiled and muddy streets of unknown cities.
And even some dirty hotel floors that have been trodden on by hundreds of unknown people. Not just that, as the trip progresses, you tend to stuff a lot of used and dirty clothing in the suitcases which makes the interior of the suitcase equally unhygienic. Let's see the cleaning process of your suitcase.

Guidance for Cleaning Suitcases

Your pieces of luggage may include leather bags, toughened plastic suitcases, resin duffel bags and backpacks, etc. The materials used for making the pieces of luggage vary along with their designs. Here is how you can go about cleaning your suitcases and bags.

Identifying Intensity of Dirt and Infestation

Whenever you are back from the holiday, you might crave for some relaxation due to travel induced fatigue. We suggest all our readers to take a few minutes and completely clear the contents of the bag. Check all pockets and tiny zippers for some forgotten coins, maps or pieces of jewelry. Cut off all the airline tags and remove all the adhesive stickers.
Now carefully scrutinize the suitcase. During a trip, your suitcase can be exposed to the following:
  • Bedbugs from the hotel rooms where you stayed during the trip.
  • Dust and grime on the airport and hotel floors. Note the extent of dirt stuck on the wheels below the suitcase.
  • Bacteria on the suitcase handle and external body due to exposure to numerous people.
  • A leaked oil or lotion bottle inside the suitcase.
  • A leaked wine bottle inside the suitcase.

Starting the Cleaning Process

  • First take your suitcase to an open space in your home devoid of any furniture or carpets. e.g. A balcony, a porch or a garage.
  • Check the suitcase for presence of bedbugs first. Spray some bedbug killing spray readily available in the market.
  • Now judge the condition of the suitcase. Find out whether the suitcase is too seriously damaged. If yes, then you can save a lot of cleaning time by just discarding it. If not, then use a vacuum cleaner on the interior and exterior of the suitcase. It helps to suck all the dust and gravel stuck on the internal and external part of the suitcase.
  • Cleaning processes differ with the material that goes into making the suitcase. If the suitcase is made of a cloth, then the same needs to be washed with a strong antibacterial cleaner. The bag can do with a high temperature washing and tumble drying process.
  • If the suitcase is made of leather with a cloth interior, then you need to dab some antibacterial solution on the leather surface. Get the cloth interior cleaned from a professional dry cleaner. Now dab a thin coat of leather polish on the suitcase to make it clean and shiny as new.
  • If the suitcase is made out of toughened plastic like polypropylene or synthetic fabric, then mix antibacterial soap solution in warm water. Use a piece of clean old rag to clean the suitcase with this warm solution from inside as well as outside. Expose the suitcase to solar heat so that it dries thoroughly.
  • If you happened to carry a resin duffel bag or backpack instead of a regular suitcase, fill up a bucket or washtub with some warm water. Add a few drops of antibacterial solution and 2 tsp of gentle shampoo to it. Let the duffel bag float in the water for at least two hours.
Let the bag thoroughly dry after that. The previous method can also be used for cleaning bags made from polyester and nylon fabrics.
  • During this cleaning process, use an old brush to remove the dirt stuck on the wheels of the suitcase. Also use some hand sanitizer solution to clean the handles and zips of the suitcase.
  • Never ever use oil on locks and hinges of your luggage pieces. If need be, use a piece of steel wool and rub vigorously on the surface. Dab some clear nail paint on their surface, if you wish to make them shine like new.

Post Clean Up Process

  • Make sure that the suitcase gets thoroughly aired for at least 48 hours. Close all pockets and zips of the bag.
  • Place some camphor balls or cedar balls, charcoal pouches, old newspaper balls and some chunks of fragrant unused soap bars wrapped in an old sock inside the suitcase. This sucks all moisture and odors from the suitcase. At the same time, it keeps your suitcase smelling fresh and fragrant till it is reused.
  • Now use a large sized plastic bag or an old cotton bed sheet to protectively cover the suitcase. Store the suitcase on your suitcase loft or in the attic.
Cleaning a suitcase is a skillful and patient process. You need to dedicate some time and energy to do it. By usage of these simple cleaning processes, you can protect and reuse your suitcases for many years to come.