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Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Cleaning Vintage Suitcases

  Here in the Deep South where it can get to 103 degrees easily in the summer these old pieces of vintage luggage can get quite musty stored in attics, garages, and basements.
 I pick up pieces like these frequently at estate and garage sales.

In my last blog I was not clear on what I do to remove this musty smell.
 Some of you thought the aluminum suitcase I had shown had been used as a cat litter box.
 That was my lack of clarity. 
I would never sell something that was used as a litter box.

Cleaning A Vintage Suitcase
  1. Remove any debris from inside the suitcase.
  2. Layer two pounds of new cat litter inside the case.
  3. Let the litter sit for 48 hours.
  4. Remove litter and vacuum the suitcase.
  5. Lightly wipe suitcase with multi-purpose cleaner.
  6. Clean the outside with bees wax furniture polish or your favorite polish.
  7. Do not go for perfection on the outside cleaning-patina is good.

The cat litter removes the musty mildew odor from our hot climate very well. 
I have tried baking soda and it does not work as well.

I had a photo helper today. 
Gremmie loves window gazing like I love vintage suitcases.

joy and peace


  1. What great tips! I will definitely use that! Love that old Samsonite! They make a great display, and yet I'm so glad I don't have to lug one along an airport terminal like my parents did! :-)

  2. You are quite correct - I thought the aluminum suitcase had been a catbox. Gremmie is looking for inspiration for her next china attack.

  3. LOL, I never thought for one minute that the suitcase had been used as a litter box. You said it didn't smell good, then said you put cat litter in it and had it sitting outside, so I knew what you meant. :-)

  4. That aluminum suitcase is awesome...and I have never tried using cat litter before...thanks for the hint!

  5. You have make beautiful photo of your suitcase and cat !
    Greetings, RW & SK

  6. Your suitcase is perfect. I love vintage suitcases as well, but sadly I don't own any. I'll remember your cleaning tips in case I get one, though. :)


  7. I did think the metal case had been used as a kitty litter box. Using litter to get rid of a musty smell is a great idea and I can dump it in my litter box when I'm done. Win/win!

  8. Oh Olive,
    I LOVE vintage suitcases. I have 6 of them and really must give them some love and attention. Thanks for the cleaning tips ! XXXX

  9. Gotta chuckle, for what it's worth, I understood what you meant the last time:@)

  10. Olive, the only way I have ever removed very stubborn odors and keep them gone was wad up newspaper and leave it in the item (suitcase) for about a month, also charcoal works. I have never heard of kitty litter. Must be the clay in it that works?

  11. I've always used kitty litter to freshen up vintage dressers and cupboards with nasty smells. It works like a charm! I better pour some in my latest find! Great old suitcase on your pretty green chair.

  12. I think maybe Gremmie got confused too...hence the waiting on top of the!
    Great tip. Cat Litter is the wonder product of the ages.

  13. What a great find! I didn't know cat litter removed odors.....thanks for the tip! Your little helper is sooooo cute :o)

  14. Thanks so much Olive...this will really come in handy (I already have one that I will try it on).


  15. I knew what you meant Olive! I've never used kitty litter but i have an old trunk I'm going to try that on.

  16. Do U use the "old-fashioned" clay litter or the newer scooping litter? Thanks, Mary


I adore your comments. They are like finding unexpected chocolates. olive