How to Clean a Suitcase? (3 Ways)

There are several ways to clean your suitcase, inside and out. 

Cleaning the inside involves just warm water and washing liquid.

Meanwhile, you should clean the outside with foaming fabric cleaner for material cases and soap and water for hard cases.

Since cleaning your entire suitcase is pretty simple, there’s no need to take your dirty luggage to a dry cleaning service. Even removing scuff marks is a lot easier than you’d think. 

Inside the Suitcase 

First, you should remove all the pockets from your luggage’s interior. You can wash these in the washing machine. 

Then, take your luggage outside and give it a shake to remove dirt. 

Next, take your bag into the bathtub or outside near a hose. If you choose to go outside, make sure you have a garbage bag to lay the suitcase down on to avoid grass stains. 

To clean, you will first use a wet cloth (a soft cloth is best) to dampen the lining inside the case. Then, apply soap and water and scrub the interior with a damp cloth. 

Just try not to use too much soap as it can be difficult to remove, and if you don’t remove it all before the lining dries, it will become sticky. 

You can use a shower head or hose to ensure you’ve gotten rid of all the soap. 

Additionally, if you have any stubborn stains on the lining from things like suncream or red wine, get some stain remover and apply it to the mark. Use an old toothbrush to scrub the stain gently until it’s gone.

Grease stains, which are often more stubborn, come out with K2R. 

Finally, remember that it’s always a good idea to look for bed bugs because they could have slipped in from your hotel. 

Outside the Suitcase – Fabric Suitcases and Soft Sided Suitcases (Nylon and Polyester)

Again, make sure you remove any outside pockets or attachments on your nylon or polyester bag and wash these separately. If possible, keep the luggage in the bathtub since it will make it easier to clean.

Then, to begin the cleaning process, take a wet cloth (a microfiber cloth is best) and wipe over the whole outside of the case, making sure it’s damp enough to remove dust and dirt. You can also spray the solution on the bag. 

Next, apply some foam fabric cleaner, upholstery shampoo, or mild soap to one side of the case until the whole side is white with the foam. It’s best if you lay the luggage on its back and clean the front first.

You should then use a scrubbing brush to rub the fabric cleaner into the material, concentrating on any noticeable marks and stains. 

After you can see that the soap has restored the case’s color and the marks and stains are out, use a wet and dry vacuum to remove the fabric cleaner. Repeat on the other side. 

Then, use a wet cloth to clean the handles, wheels, and any other plastic parts of the case. 

Once you have removed all of the dirt and stains, you can take the bag and place it in a warm and airy space, like a sheltered outdoor balcony. Avoid direct sunlight. 

Lay the case open on its back to allow it to air dry. It will take a few hours to completely dry. 

Outside the Suitcase – Hard Sided Luggage

If your luggage has hard surfaces, you need a different method. Again, you should put the suitcase in a bathtub or outside area near running water. 

Then, take a wet cloth and mix some washing liquid with warm water in a bowl. Use the cloth, now doused in soapy water, to scrub down the outside of the case.

Continue scrubbing on both sides of the case until the cloth wipes clean. 

You can then take a clean cloth and plain temperate water and wipe down the outside of the case. If it’s easier, you can also use a showerhead to ensure you’ve removed all the soap. 

If you have some stains on the shell, you can remove them with baking soda. Just sprinkle some on, and leave it for 10 minutes.

It’s best to do a spot test first in case the soda ruins the shell’s coloring. 

Lastly, once the shell is clean, you can wipe it down with a dry cloth and put it outside to dry. Again, leave it wide open with zippers and pockets open as well. 

How Can I Remove Scratches From the Plastic Parts?

If you have some scratches on the handles, sides, or wheels of the case, you can use several methods to remove them. 

  • Olive oil – Rub some olive oil over the plastic to restore the black color. Be careful not to get it on the rest of your luggage if it’s fabric.
  • Plastic trim restorer – You can find this product in most car garages. You have to rub the black paste onto the plastic to recolor it and remove scratches. 
  • Heat gun – Use a heat gun to blast the plastic until it softens and the scratches become invisible. 

Similarly, to restore leather cases, use a leather conditioner. 

How to Keep Luggage Clean?

The best way to keep your bags clean when not in use is to use a luggage cover. When you are using your bags, follow packing tips to keep anything from spilling. 


You don’t need to steam clean luggage when you have everything you need to clean and disinfect luggage at home. All you need to restore your bags to new is a bit of cleaning product, a water mixture, and a spray bottle.