B for Bag Luggage Maintenance Guide
Good luggage maintenance will make your luggage look better and last longer. It is a simple as that.
You should always clean your luggage inside and out after each trip and address all potential problems as soon as you notice them, i.e. fix loose screws, lubricate stiff telescoping handles, etc. How you store your bag between trips also affects the look and endurance of your luggage, while restoring the luggage can make old bag looks almost new.
Always read the manufacturer instructions. They should advise how best to maintain and care for your luggage.
How To Clean Luggage
Cleaning your luggage thoroughly after each trip is very important part of your luggage maintenance. Make sure your luggage is completely dry, both inside and out, before storing it away.
How To Clean Luggage Exterior
The best way to clean your luggage externally depends somewhat on the luggage material. In most cases, you can use damp cloth to wipe down the luggage exterior. This is usually sufficient, especially if you clean your luggage regularly.
If your bag is very dirty you can usually hand wash it with mild soap and "hang it" out to dry. Never put your bag into washing machine or dryer and don't use bleach or other strong detergents. It is good practice to test all detergents first on a small area before applying them to the whole surface.
If your bag has water resistant coating, then make sure you check the manufacturer's instructions before washing your bag. Using some detergents could damage the coating so the manufacturer might recommend specific products or to only use water. There are products available that restore water, dirt, and stain resistant properties and it can be good to apply them on regular basis... check what the manufacturer says.
Always use soft cloth or sponge to wipe both the external and internal area, i.e. don't use stiff brushes or anything that may scratch or rip the surface.
How To Clean Luggage Interior
Always remove all content from the bag after each trip and vacuum the inside of the bag with a vacuum cleaner (some prefer to use small handheld vacuum cleaner). Then wipe the inside with damp cloth or sponge. It is good idea to leave all pockets unzipped, i.e. to air dry them.
Sometimes the interior reeks of something, e.g. if something you packed had distinctive smell or leaked. It may be enough to air the bag for few hours or days, or spray it with some odor-reducing product.
Another option to get rid of unwanted smell is to put vinegar in the water you use to clean the interior (1 dose vinegar / 5 doses water). One more option is to place activated charcoal in the bag for a day or two but activated charcoals are very effective in absorbing all kind of smell.
How To Remove Luggage Stains
Stains are quite common luggage problem, both on the exterior and interior. You can often remove luggage stains with traditional fabric / laundry stain removers. You can also get instant stain remover sticks (like Tide) that can be handy when travelling.
The fresher the stain the easier it is usually to remove it. Just spray the area, leave for the recommended time and the remove it with damp cloth. It is though wise to check beforehand the manufacturing instructions to see if they recommend, or prohibit, any specific stain removal methods or products.
Preventive Luggage Maintenance
Important part of your luggage maintenance is to address any potential luggage problems as soon as you notice them.
Don't wait for the loose wheel to fall off or the stiff telescoping handle to get stuck. It is likely to happen at the worst possible time for you, i.e. when you are travelling. So fasten the screw and lubricate the handle mechanism as soon as you notice any problems.
B for Bag Luggage Repair Guide goes through how to fix some common luggage problems yourself.
How To Restore Luggage
Good luggage maintenance will make your luggage look better and last for longer. Still, luggage has to take a lot of beating and will show some wear and tear in time. There are ways to restore some bags to some of their former glory.
Professional Restoring Service
For the best results you can have your bag professionally restored, e.g. if your bag is expensive, classic or very special to you. Professional restoring services use special dyes, conditioners, polishers, and applications to make your bag look like new. They may even be able to resuscitate some badly mishandled cases.
How To Polish Leather Luggage
All leather bags should be polished on regular basis. You can use leather shoe polish or leather cleaner and polish. Just make sure the color matches your bag as closely as possible. Use a clean cloth to apply the polish and gently massage the polish into the bag.
How To Remove And Minimize Scratches On Hard Sided Luggage
Surface scratches can make your bag look old and worn out. You cannot eliminate them but you can usually make them less visible. The deeper the scratch the more difficult it is to deal with.
Always start by washing the surfaces with soap water to remove any stains and dirt. Gently scrub all scratches to get off any residues that make the scratches stand out more (like stains or paint coatings from the item that made the scratch).
When dry, gently rub the scratches with pencil eraser. Work the eraser down the length of the scratch but avoid rubbing too fast as it may cause the coating to fade. Wipe off any residue with clean cloth. Using the eraser will minimize / remove the small and shallow scratches and the deeper scratches should be less visible.
Another option is to apply small amount of toothpaste to the scratches. Apply the toothpaste with a toothbrush. Use circular motions when applying it and use clean cloth to wipe off any residue.
Finally, you may want to apply furniture or silicone based car polish to preserve the shine and add scratch resistance to the surface.
How To Store Your Luggage Between Trips
Now that your bag has been cleaned, repaired and restored, it is ready to be stored away until you next need it.
Many people store their luggage in the attic or in the garage but luggage should not be stored in space where it can be exposed to extreme temperature changes or damp / moisture. It is better to store luggage inside your house, e.g. in a closet or under a bed.
To minimize the space required you could store smaller luggage inside larger luggage pieces. It is good idea to cover your luggage to keep off the dust but still allow it to breath, i.e. not pack it in, just cover it loosely.
You can place fabric softener sheets or unused soap bar in the luggage to make it smell fresh when you next need it.
Luggage Maintenance Products
You should be able to find all the luggage maintenance products you need on Amazon, but below is a small selection of their luggage leather care products. Just use the search box to search for your luggage maintenance kit.