Are you pulling things out of closets? Clearing out
crap treasure you wish you’d never bought and organizing your groaning shelves within an inch of their lives? I had to create a token economy for myself to stay on track. (See there, world! My psychology degree WAS TOO worth something!!) Being productive earns me access to things I want- like cheddar cheese popcorn, an Aperol spritz or an episode of Ozark (Ruth Langmore is everything.) Next up on my list – suitcase triage.
Mr. Two’s recently traveled back home from Singapore where he does a lot of work. Picking him up from the airport required ninja-level skills in germ containment. I carried supplies to assist in this mission in the form of a sheet, a big spray can of disinfectant, and a change of clothes – for him. He balked at removing his clothing and stripping down to his studdie-duddies right there in the carpark (chicken) but whatever, I was prepared nonetheless. After a ‘Silkwood shower’ with Glen 20 (the Aussie equivalent of Lysol) he was soon smelling like an explosion at the Dow Chemical Factory. Not toxic at all. For his luggage, we wrapped it in the sheet and put it in the car. Which brings me to…..
Cleaning that baggage. Since we didn’t want anything arriving from Singapore other than the 16-pack of toilet paper lovingly swaddled inside those cases, we knew a big ol’ scrub up was way overdue. Do you ever think about how nasty luggage must be? The wheels, the handle, the outside of the case – kinda gross, but kinda under the radar, hey? The same people who staunchly refuse to wear shoes inside their house (there is a similar fervor here in home keeping to that which vegan’s espouse in food – not that there’s anything wrong with that!) will plunk their suitcase right on their beds when they pack it. Where they sleep!! Luggage gets rolled across the threshold into our hearth and home where it tracks everything its touched onto our floors, our carpets and our furniture. Mine’s rolled across the streets of New Orleans post Mardi Gras for a particularly extreme example, and surely I need not tell you the kind of debauchery that goes on in that particular fun house.
I love flying. I’ve been to almost as many places as my luggage.-Bob Hope
So, what to do? It’ll take you 5 minutes to clean off the gunk if you do it consistently, though it might take you a bit longer the very first time. Ideally, you’ll do this outside before bringing the pieces in and putting them away.
- Wipe handles (top and sides) with handiwipes, hand sanitizer or disinfectant spray. In a pinch, using rubbing alcohol or even (gasp!) hard spirits. My favorite cleaner is peppermint essential oil and water in a spray bottle. It smells good, it’s cheap, it’s non-toxic and it’s antibacterial.
- Take particular care with the wheels. These are literally where the rubber meets the road. Clean out any debris that’s been picked up and inspect for damage. Spray liberally with disinfectant spray and wipe or allow to dry naturally. Make sure you roll the wheels around to get all of the surface area covered.
- The body of the suitcase itself can be cleaned with peppermint oil and water if you’re leery of the chemical load that disinfectant spray carries. There are also scads of recipes for natural cleaners online, so google to your heart’s content. Take particular care with the corners of the bags, and wipe those thoroughly.
- Run your backpack/duffel bag/ tote though the washer if it can be, and if not, give it a good clean using the same method as the suitcase body.
There. Don’t you feel better now? I know I do. I’m off to put my [shoeless] feet up and snarf a bowl of cheddar cheese popcorn, which may or may not be vegan. While watching Ozark. With an Aperol spritz.
Tell me, do you lay it on your bed when you pack or unpack? Do you have a special place to store it? (Gosh, I envy those people with garage space!!) What do you reward yourself with for a job well done?
Ivy, do you think storing them in the attic would be a good shortcut? I live in the South and the attic gets hot hot hot. A good spray would come first and then the heat. I won’t be putting it on my bed anymore. Thanks for the good information.
Absolutely! The attic will keep them out of your way, and nothing will survive that heat!
Allyson Young says
Luckily I’m not strong enough to carry my grossly overpacked suitcase upstairs to my bed. It stays on my living room floor where I unpack it and sort the laundry. Then the empty one goes in an upstairs closet. So, I’m reading this shoe-less and getting disgusted thinking of the places that bag has been.
Get out the spray! HA!
My suitcases sit on the shelves in the garage.
Yes agree they must need cleaning but nothing toxic is used in my house.
You’d like that peppermint oil cleaner!
Great read thanks Mrs Two. I am guilty of bringing my suitcases home from a trip unpacking on my ottoman at the end of my bed. Then putting empty case in the spare bedroom wardrobe without cleaning them. I think like me a lot of people, after we come out the other side of Covid-19, are going to be keeping up a level of sanitation for items coming into your home that they would never have done before.
I so agree, Jude. I’m hoping for an opportunity pack them sooner rather than later.
Lorraine @Not Quite Nigella says
OMG now I’ve got something new to clean! 😀 I put it on a chair in the dining room. I don’t like having it on the bed as that’s a “clean zone”