Health & Wellness

How to Disinfect Your Suitcase

We’re currently in “disinfect everything” mode, so while you’re stuck at home, why not give your suitcase a wipe-down? Even when travel gets back to normal, it’s important to know how to clean a suitcase—think of all the germs and just regular old dirt and grime you pick up your suitcase as you roll it through the streets and subways, not to mention from the overhead compartments and baggage claim.

How to Clean Your Suitcase Wheels and Handles

The wheels and handles of your suitcase are the most important parts to clean. If you wouldn’t wear your shoes inside your house, why would you roll your suitcase inside without wiping off the wheels? Use a disinfectant wipe or microfiber cleaning cloth plus disinfectant cleaning spray to thoroughly wipe off any dirt from the wheels, making sure you fully rotate each wheel through the cleaning cloth.

Retract the suitcase’s handle and wipe down the handle, buttons, and shaft, leaving it open to dry completely before putting it away for storage.

How to Clean the Outside of Fabric Suitcases

Most soft-sided suitcases can be cleaned using a disinfectant wipe. Always spot test an inconspicuous corner of your luggage before using a new cleaning product to make sure it doesn’t cause damage or discoloration.

Wipe down the entire exterior of the suitcase, spending the most time cleaning the bottom of your suitcase, which is most likely to attract dirt.

How to Clean Hard-Sided Luggage

A disinfectant wipe is the easiest and quickest way to clean a hard-sided suitcase as well. Even with a hard surface, you should do a spot test to make sure it won’t damage the luggage’s coating.

If your hard-sided luggage has gotten some scuffs during transit, try a Magic Eraser to buff them out and make your suitcase look like new again.

5 Signs You Need a New Suitcase [/st_related]

How to Clean Inside a Suitcase

Vacuum the inside of the suitcase, paying special attention to the areas around the zippers and inside pockets, where dirt and bugs can hide.

Use a stain pen like Tide to Go to treat any stains inside the luggage. Make sure to let the treated area dry before closing the suitcase for storage—damp areas can cause mold if put away while wet.

How to Treat a Suitcase for Bedbugs

If you believe your suitcase may have picked up bedbugs during your travels, do not bring it inside your house or car. Leave it outside or in a garage, and treat it using a portable heating method that reaches at least 118 degrees. Although adult bedbugs will die after 20 minutes, you’ll need to continue to heat your suitcase for a minimum of 90 minutes to kill the eggs.

More from SmarterTravel:

By Caroline Morse Teel

Unfortunately for her bank account, Principal Editor Caroline Morse Teel is powerless to resist a good flight deal. Follow her on Instagram @TravelWithCaroline.

Caroline joined Boston-based SmarterTravel in 2011 after living in Ireland, London, and Manhattan. She's traveled to all seven continents, jumped out of planes, and bungeed off bridges in the pursuit of a good story. She loves exploring off-the-beaten path destinations, anything outdoorsy, and all things adventure.

Her stories have also appeared online at USA Today, Business Insider, Huffington Post, Yahoo,, TripAdvisor, Buzzfeed, Jetsetter, Oyster, Airfarewatchdog, and others.

The Handy Item I Always Pack: "Earplugs. A good pair has saved my sleep and sanity many times!"

Ultimate Bucket List Experience: Hiking Mount Kilimanjaro.

Travel Motto: "Don't be boring."

Aisle, Window, or Middle Seat: "Aisle (when the first class private suite isn't available)."

E-mail her at

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *