The Best Way to Maintain Your Luggage and Bags

Eminent Luggage | Eminent Blog | The Best Way to Maintain Your Luggage and Bags

Assuming you have purchased a good quality suitcase or small bag, it is now important to maintain your luggage to a high standard. Often luggage will come with care instructions, but when the case becomes well-used it can be hard to keep track of the best way to keep your luggage clean. The team at Eminent has some advice on how to best care for your luggage. So you can clean your bag to a high standard after every trip away. 

Cleaning a Soft Shell Exterior

When cleaning a soft shell bag it is important to purchase good quality cleaning products, that are applicable for the fabric of your bag. Fabrics such as nylon and polyester. For leather bags you would need to apply similar principles as used on other leather products.

For standard soft shell fabrics this is the approach you would take to clean your bag: 

  1. Use a lint roller to remove any fabric or soft particles on the exterior of the bag. Or wipe down with your hand to remove small particles. 
  2. Prepare a cleaning product for your bag. The best option to choose is a fabric cleaner that is foamy when applied, so you can ensure you visually see where you have cleaned. 
  3. Cover the bag in the foamy solution and use a brush to scrub the cleaning product into any dirt patches or stains. 
  4. Leave the cleaning product on the bag as per the instructions on the packet, then remove the cleaner as instructed by the product’s use instructions. 
  5. If your bag is particularly dirty or in need of a deeper clean, you may need to repeat this process more than once.
  6. All the components of the bag can be wiped down, or cleaned with soapy water. A fabric cleaner is not applicable to these parts. 
  7. Place your luggage in an area it can be aired and warmed, for it to dry. As it is fabric, placing it in sunlight is optimal as it needs to dry the same way clothing would. 

Cleaning the Hard Shell Exterior.

Cleaning the exterior of a hardshell case is very simple and effective. This method would apply to any luggage that has an exterior of TPO, polycarbonate, ABS, polypropylene or aluminium.

Here is a step by step approach to cleaning your hardshell case: 

  1. Firstly make sure to prepare an appropriate cleaning mixture for your bag. Dishwashing liquid with water is an effective product to use, only on the outside of the bag.
  2. Gently wipe down the exterior of the bag to test that your cleaning solution is working appropriately (not leaving any lines). If it appears to be cleaning appropriately, then scrub down the bag to clean off any dirt or marks picked up by travel. 
  3. Once you have finished, do a surface wipe down of the bag with a damp cloth to ensure all areas are cleaned. 
  4. If you notice spots that have not come off with the clean, an alkaline agent such as baking soda can be effective in removing or reducing visibility of prominent marks.
  5. Finally, dry the luggage by wiping the exterior with a towel and keeping the bag open to air overnight. 

Cleaning Marks or Scratches off a Hard Shell Exterior

Scuff marks on Hard Shell Bags are reasonably common with regular travel, as bags frequently come in contact with other bags and objects with travel. The most important thing to do when caring for your bag is regularly cleaning the exterior. All that is needed is a wipe down, sometimes with soapy water to get surface marks off the bag. If there is a noticeable mark on the exterior of the bag, try scrubbing this off first with a cloth. If this is unsuccessful a classic trick is to rub the mark with a pencil eraser. This sounds obscure but is a successful myth of the travel industry.

When you have rubbed the mark a few times with the eraser, again wipe it with a cloth, this will most likely eradicate the mark or scratch. This technique works as it buffs the scratch or mark back to its original state. 

If this is technique is unsuccessful, with the mark noticeable and deep in the exterior of the bag, it may be that you will need to have the bag checked or repaired. 

Cleaning the Interior of your Luggage. 

Here are the standard steps to cleaning the interior of your luggage. This would apply to both hard and soft shell bags. 

  1. Remove anything that can be cleaned separately, i.e. removable pockets. These can be washed in the washing machine or hand washed separately. 
  2. Vacuum the interior of your bag, to ensure the odd bits and pieces that come from travel are removed. 
  3. Thoroughly wipe down the interior of the bag, removing any surface marks of dirt. This can be done with a wet cloth, but does not need cleaning agents to do this surface scrub. 
  4. If you find you need a deep clean of the interior, upholstery shampoo or fabric cleaner (as used for a soft shell exterior) may be a good option. You would need to follow the instructions of the cleaning agent for this process. 
  5. Once cleaned, leave the bag open to dry. 

Handles and Components

Some travellers like to disinfect the smaller parts of their luggage at the end of every trip. This is because these smaller components tend to be in contact more with surfaces that may be contaminated. For example the wheels come in contact with many flooring surfaces, and handles may be used frequently by other people in between dropping the bag at the baggage drop, to handling it into a ride-share. For a simple wipe down in between locations, you can carry a micro-fiber cloth with your luggage, or choose to use disinfectant wipes.  Both are compact, easily packed in your luggage and easy to use. For bags such as a backpack where there are no wheels to elevate it off the ground. You may also want to wipe the base of the bag to ensure maximum cleanliness. 


Frequently wiping down these components are not going to cause wear and tear. It is a great habit, helping to keep your bag in good condition. Additionally when you return home you might choose to give these parts a more thorough scrub and wash. To maintain a high standard of care for the smaller components of your bag. 

General Backpacks and Smaller Bags.

Before placing your backpack or small bag into the washing machine make sure to check the care instructions for more details on the appropriate way to clean your bag. Generally the best option is to shake all debris from inside the back. Completely opening all of the zips. Then removing any hard framing that is able to be removed, before placing the bag in a washing machine or hand washing the bag with appropriate soaps. Once the bag is washed, it should be air dried, with all compartments open to ensure no part of the bag is left damp. 

If you want to ensure your bag has a long life of travel ahead, caring and cleaning your bag will ensure you maximise the bag’s longevity. If you have purchased a bag from our range of luggage, big or small - our customer service team at Eminent are available to offer advice on how best to care for your bag. We are proud of our luggage, and want to ensure that your Eminent bag is cared for to a high standard.


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