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Whether you’re traveling by train, plane, boat or car, your luggage takes quite a beating. Along with getting tossed around quite a bit, it’s also subjected to dirt, dust, spills, and scuff marks—not to mention, germs. Here’s how to keep your luggage in tip-top shape so that it looks as good on your 50th trip as it did on your first.

How to Clean Your Luggage’s Interior

Before anything else, you’re going to want to completely empty out your suitcase, including all of the pockets in case you left behind something important like a piece of jewelry or treasured souvenir. If you had any major spills like makeup or shampoo, wipe the area(s) down a soap and water mixture—or even a stain remover or upholstery shampoo depending on the severity of the spill. Suction up any residual moisture with a wet/dry vac before proceeding. Next, loosen up any dirt and dust with a stiff brush before vacuuming up all of the crumbs.

Exterior Cleaning for Soft & Hardsided Luggage

Whether you have suitcase sizes that range from cabin to large, the cleaning process is all about the material. Briggs and Rileyoffers luggage in three different materials: polycarbonate (hard-sided) and nylon and ballistic nylon which can be found in our soft-sided suitcases. The cleaning techniques are somewhat similar with the exception of a few nuances that shouldn’t be ignored if you want to keep your bags in good condition. Let’s take a closer look at how to clean luggage the right way.

  • Cleaning Hardside Luggage

You’ve got two options when cleaning your hardside suitcase. The first is to use a simple soap and water solution that can be used with a soft cloth or sponge to wipe everything down. Next, you’ll repeat the process using plain water to prevent any soapy marks from forming. Another option is to use a spray luggage cleaner. Wipe off the product with a dry cloth before taking a moist cloth to remove any residue. Always make sure to let your luggage thoroughly dry before storing it.

While you’ll want to conduct a patch test first so you don’t scratch your luggage, cleaning erasers, mild abrasive cleansers, or even toothpaste can be effective in removing scuff marks and scratches. Again, wipe the surface with a damp cloth to remove residual product.

  • Cleaning Softside Suitcases

The best way to clean soft-sided suitcases is with a gentle soap and water mixture. Just make sure it’s not too soapy or you’ll have problems removing the product. Work the solution through with a soft brush so that you can get in between the fibers and pull up all of that dirt. Next, take a damp, soap-free cloth to wipe off any residual soap. Speed up the drying process by fanning a hairdryer (on a low temperature) all over the surface of the suitcase.

If you have any pesky glue marks (like from security stickers, for example), use a small amount of a stain remover—this works for hard-sided suitcases as well. If the piece has stubborn stains, mix up a combination of a pre-treatment laundry solution with a gentle dish detergent and water. Gently sponge the stained area with the solution. As always, if you’re working with a product that’s unfamiliar to you, test it out first. Grease stains can easily be removed with a degreasing product like K2R. Once the luggage is dry, spray it with a few even coats of Scotchgard to protect against future stains.

Cleaning Your Handles and Wheels

Check that there’s nothing stuck in your wheels like gravel, hair, rope, or mud so that your luggage moves freely. Excessive debris can also cause scratching and accelerate the wear and tear of your luggage. Since many hands have been on your luggage and it’s spent a lot of time on a dirty floor, wipe down the wheels and handles with a disinfecting wipe or a microfiber cloth that’s been spritzed with an all-purpose cleaner.

Storage: Keeping Your Luggage Clean

Once you’ve thoroughly cleaned your luggage, protect it from dirt and dust within your home. Invest in a luggage cover (a large garbage or refuse bag will also suffice), especially if you plan on storing it in a garage, cellar, or basement. Ideally, you want a dry place free from moisture such as under your bed or in a closet. Leave any zippered partially unzipped so that the luggage can breathe. Keep it smelling fresh by adding a dryer sheet, cotton ball doused with essential oils, or even a bar of soap inside. If you have allergies or are sensitive to fragrance, a newspaper, or charcoal pouches.

Our Lifetime Guarantee

At Briggs and Riley, our luggage is engineered for reality and guaranteed for life. If any of your pieces are beyond a simple clean, we offer an unconditional lifetime guarantee! We can send you what you need to fix it yourself, you can drop it off at one of our repair centers, or ship the bag to us and we’ll take care of everything so that you can get back to what you do best: travel.

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