How to Get Rid of Musty Smells in Luggage

Mold growth in your luggage can give it a musty odor.
Mold growth in your luggage can give it a musty odor. (Image: valigia sulla nave image by Adriano La Naia from

Making the mistake of leaving a wet item in your luggage for an extended period of time can result in the bag smelling musty. Unfortunately, unlike clothing items, you cannot simply throw your bag in the wash in hopes of removing the smell. However, before you result to an expensive professional cleaning service or abandoning the bag all together, there is a simple, inexpensive at-home cleaning procedure that can clean your bag and eliminate the smell.

Things You'll Need

  • Plastic gloves
  • Vacuum cleaner with hose attachment
  • 1 cup rubbing alcohol
  • 1 cup warm water
  • Plastic container or bucket
  • Sponge

Place the luggage and supplies in an outdoor area. Vacuum the interior and exterior surfaces of the luggage using the hose attachment.

Put on your gloves. Combine the alcohol and water in the container. Dip the sponge in the mixture. Wring the sponge until it is damp (but not saturated).

Wipe the interior and exterior surfaces of the luggage with the damp sponge. Dip and squeeze the sponge as needed to replenish the moisture.

Place the luggage in direct sunlight and fresh air. Leave the luggage outside until it is completely dry.

Tips & Warnings

  • Follow any instructions for care on your luggage to avoid damaging the bag.
  • Perform a spot test before treating your entire bag to avoid discoloration or damage.

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