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Removing Odor From Suitcase

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I just got a suitcase from a second hand store and I cannot remove the nasty smell. It smells like old vomit or moldy milk. How can I get rid of the smell?

By booboo kitty from Jacksonville, FL

Best Answers

These answers have been rated the best for this question.

By Louise B. [4]07/20/2009

I would wash this suitcase out first, and then try all the different odor absorbers. It may be that something has been spilled in the inside in the past, and never suitably and thoroughly cleaned. Leaving it in the sun to air out after washing would be good too.

Things don't get a sour milk or vomit smell from being stored in musty garages or basements. Something has been spilled in that suitcase to make that smell.

By Anonymous [848]07/18/2009

I've heard clay kitty litter absorbs odors really well so it might be worth the try to get a small bag of it, dump the litter in, close it up for a few days and then dump it out. Of course, wipe the inside of the case well to remove the litter dust. If it still needs a bit of freshener, by all means use Febreeze but don't close the lid until the Febreeze has completely dried.

By Zack (Guest Post)01/09/2009

I have been using a product called BioWorld Odor Neutralizer that has worked well for all odors. It is very strong and I haven't found an odor that it hasn't taken care of yet!

By KenG12/02/2008

Definitely. I use FRIDGE IT activated carbon odor absorbers in my luggage and storage bins. They are unscented and work great to eliminate odors. I just put one or two in each suitcase to keep "old" smell out. Works like a charm. I get these right on line at www.innofresh.com. Easy to order and they ship really quickly.

By Robin (Guest Post)07/31/2008

Try Febreze.

By Linda (Guest Post)07/13/2008

Our old house had wood heat, everything always smelled like smoke including our luggage, which then got put in storage when we moved to a smaller house. I just took it out for a vacation, sprayed the inside with a vinegar/water mix and closed them back up for two days. They smelled fine for us to pack for this trip and our clothes were fine on arrival.

Recent Answers

Here are the recent answer to this question.

By Anonymous [848]07/20/2009

Adding a post about a suitcase situation that I had completely forgotten about. A couple decades ago I lent a leather duffle type suitcase to an employee for her and significant others vacation. When it was given back it reeked :-o Turns out that they had a bit too much fun drinking and instead of putting their dirty clothes (with vomit on them) in a plastic bag they just put them loose in my bag :-o I washed the inside as well as could with a rag soaked in vinegar and that made me feel like the germs were at least gone but it still stunk :-( Since it was a soft duffle I turned it inside out, put it in the dryer with a whole box of dryer sheets on low heat for awhile and, blessedly, that did the trick. Needless to say, I never loan out my suitcases anymore ;-)

By sadiena [3]07/20/2009

Thanks. I will try both and we will see if that works. I am expected to be in Tampa next week, and I hope I can get the smell out again. Thanks for your support.

By Lelia Jo Cordell [49]07/19/2009

I saw this posted for a stinky refrigerator awhile back and feel it should work for your suitcase. Get a bag of plain charcoal (not the self-lighting kind.) Tear open the package and put it in the suitcase. Close the suitcase and let set. I can't recall how long the original poster said it should take, but I think it was 24-48 hours minimum.

Another possibility is baking soda. Don't dump it out into the suitcase, but just open the box (if you buy the kind you usually set in the fridge, they have tabs you can open) and let it set in the suitcase a week or more. I sure hope this helps!

By LEONA LABINE [40]07/19/2009

Charcoal! Buy some charcoal that is used in BBQ's, just put some in the suitcase and close, it will absorb the odor.

By Dottie [2]07/17/2009

Try Fabreez for fabric and letting it sit open outside in the sun, maybe keep dryer sheets inside them when storing will help too. You could also try scrubbing it out with lemon juice and letting it sit in the sun. I know what you are talking about with the smell. Had the same prob with one stored in a musty basement. Used lots of Fabreez, eventually the smell was pretty much gone. Good luck

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Archive: Removing Odor From Suitcase

I left some Ziploc plastic bags in a suitcase that was stored in the attic. Now the suitcase has an odor. Any ideas about how to get rid of the odor? Is there anything I could put in the suitcase for freshening while in attic storage? It's dusty (and hot) up there, so we need to keep it zipped shut. Thanks.

Holly from Richardson, TX


RE: Removing Odor From Suitcase

I would try one (or all) of the following:
  • crumple newspaper (week-old), place in suitcase, and add charcoal
  • open suitcase, clean it very well, and place it out in the sun for a few hours
  • place cat litter in it
Hope one of these helps. (06/30/2008)

By fruityana

RE: Removing Odor From Suitcase

Our old house had wood heat, everything always smelled like smoke including our luggage, which then got put in storage when we moved to a smaller house. I just took it out for a vacation, sprayed the inside with a vinegar/water mix and closed them back up for two days. They smelled fine for us to pack for this trip and our clothes were fine on arrival. (07/13/2008)

By Linda

RE: Removing Odor From Suitcase

Try Febreeze. (07/31/2008)

By Robin

RE: Removing Odor From Suitcase

I use "Fridge It" activated carbon odor absorbers in my luggage and storage bins. They are unscented and work great to eliminate odors. I just put one or two in each suitcase to keep "old" smell out. Works like a charm. I get these right on line at www.innofresh.com. Easy to order and they ship really quickly. (12/02/2008)

By kengie

RE: Removing Odor From Suitcase

I have been using a product called BioWorld Odor Neutralizer that has worked well for all odors. It is very strong and I haven't found an odor that it hasn't taken care of yet. (01/09/2009)

By Zack

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