New luggage smell

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159 Posts
Joined May 2008
We just purchased new set of luggage (hard sided)for our upcoming cruise. The new luggage has a "new luggage smell". It is not a nice smell/odor and we wish to remove so all our belongings do not end up smelling like this. We have fabreezed it several times, but it still smells "funny" I thought if anyone knew how to get rid of this smell, it would the great people on these boards! Thanks for all advice/tips!
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Cleveland, MS USA
161 Posts
Joined Oct 2000
charcoal??? Baking Soda ? ? ?

Both are excellent for absorbing odors
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NE Ohio
4,036 Posts
Joined Nov 2007
I've read that if you take newspaper and ball the pages up and put them in the cases for a few days it will help. I'd also throw a few fabric softener sheets in them. We always store our cases with softener sheets in them.
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GTA, Ontario, Canada
34,878 Posts
Joined Apr 2005
We bought new luggage last year the hard sided made from plastic or fiberglass...they do smell
We put them out in the sun for a a couple of days then I put one of the bags with volcanic stones in them did help.

I must get them out now and see if they have regained their smell
Salem, OR
179 Posts
Joined Feb 2007
I totally can relate to your problem! I bought new luggage for our first cruise and the plasticky smell inside them almost made me want to gag. I did a search on these boards and didn't get any matches. I googled it however and got some pretty good tips. I put a small bowl of baking soda in each bag for a week or two and then newspapers for a few days. I'm not sure which one did the trick but it smelled MUCH better. I'm very sensitive to strong smells and to me Febreeze is just too fragrant. Now I store my suitcases with newspaper to absorb smells and a fabric softener sheet to freshen them. Maybe the two cancel each other out! Good luck!
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681 Posts
Joined Sep 2000
Why not just throw a fabric softener sheet in the luggage, close it and let it sit a few days? We always keep a fabric softener sheet in our luggage when we put it away after a trip. Smells nice for the next time we use it.
159 Posts
Joined May 2008
I did try just putting in fabric sheets, but it did not help at all. Thanks for everyone's great advice. We are going to try placing the luggage in the sun today and than crumple up the Sunday paper and try that. Thanks!
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GTA, Ontario, Canada
34,878 Posts
Joined Apr 2005
Originally posted by Maxine
Why not just throw a fabric softener sheet in the luggage, close it and let it sit a few days? We always keep a fabric softener sheet in our luggage when we put it away after a trip. Smells nice for the next time we use it.
Some people are sensitive to fabric softener smells.
1,350 Posts
Joined Feb 2004
If it were me, I would take it back to the store and get a refund and then go buy soft sided bags. With the new rules for weight regulations, I would want my bags to be as light as possible. Just my two cents.
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6,018 Posts
Joined Oct 2006
I clean out the suitcase using any standard household cleaner, let the suitcase dry out and then place the dryer sheets inside. I'ts usually Downy or the Walmart brand, which has scents that I like. I remove them after a few days and let the suitcase air out. Leaving them in the suitcase gives all the clothes and the case a really strong scent.
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New York
938 Posts
Joined May 2005
Last year before our cruise I purchased new luggage. We had the same issue with the smell. We used the Arm & Hammer Fresh Scent fabric freshener (like febreze) I thoroughly dowsed the insides once in the beginning & then twice a week after that. I kept the bags open for a month or so in a spare room. The first week or two there was little change in the smell and then after that it seemed to go away. Every time I walked in that room for something I gave the bags another couple of sprays. The best thing to do is keep the bags open.
If you have some time before you travel this would work but if you are leaving soon it's not for you.
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California, the southern part
601 Posts
Joined Sep 2007
Originally posted by 45014
If it were me, I would take it back to the store and get a refund and then go buy soft sided bags. With the new rules for weight regulations, I would want my bags to be as light as possible. Just my two cents.
Interestingly, my hard side luggage is lighter than most canvas/soft sides, it's one of the reasons I bought it.

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Try a flameless candle on your balcony. Very nice!

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430 Posts
Joined Apr 2007
I agree with putting the opened cases in the sun if you can. That will help. Baking soda may also help. I've also used a bowl of unused coffee grounds to remove odors of cigarette smoke from some items such as this. It might work. I store my suitcases with USED softener sheets. The smell is very mild that way.
Central Iowa
1,088 Posts
Joined Jul 2008
I've used the crumpled up newspaper with great sucess. I have NO idea why it works but it does. I've used in drawers and cupboards that have an old house musty smell, and it works.
Orlando, FL
1,200 Posts
Joined Jun 2005
If you have a spare room in your house, open the luggage and leave it there for a couple of weeks. The odor will eventually dissapate (sp?). Leave the luggage open outdoors as much as possible. That will hasten the process.
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Northern VA
2,451 Posts
Joined Feb 2008
ANother thing to try is a bowl of white vinegar in the closed bag. Never tried it with luggage but it has worked in a room that had cat pee smell in it.
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Planning our next adventure!
4,254 Posts
Joined Dec 2007
Not a fan of the febreeze smell either. We bought new luggage two years ago and I sprayed the inside with the lavender water that I use in my iron, Then left them open in the sun for a day. After I packed them with a few of the lavender laundry sachets ( Trader Joe's) I always pack with these, it makes clothes smell great and is not over powering.
1,480 Posts
Joined May 2005 these are some great tips !!!!! Let me just add a word of caution about a problem I encountered last year. I had bought a new pair of know the kind that are made of terry, open backed and open toe and had placed them in our guest room for a week or so prior to packing. No problem there. Then I packed them in a small suitcase with all my items for pre cruise use. When we got to our hotel and opened that suitcase......the smell was horrible......a very strong chemical smell coming from the slippers and permeating all the clothes. I threw the slippers in the trash and sent all the clothes to be cleaned by our hotel (at a huge price, might I add) but worth it since the smell was awful. So beware, about packing anything new, that is rubberized. Something about "the trip" brought out awful odors in the soles of those slippers. Yuk. gg