How to Unstick Luggage Handles

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Things You'll Need

  • Oil agent
  • Rag
  • Screwdriver
  • Dish soap
Luggage with retractable handles.
Luggage with retractable handles.

If you've done any consistent traveling, you've probably dealt with your luggage consistently breaking down. While these malfunctions can occur through overuse, they can also happen for reasons beyond your control--like being damaged by an airline. Some suitcases come with wheels and retractable handles that slide out of the top of the suitcase so you can pull it behind you. These retractable handles can get stuck inside the suitcase, but by oiling them you'll have them working like new.

Step 1

Remove the handles from the piece of luggage by unscrewing the screws that are on the luggage holding the handles in place at the top. There may be extra screws inside the liner of the luggage that you'll have to remove as well.

Close up of luggage handle
Close up of luggage handle

Step 2

Locate the screws near the bottom of your piece of luggage that hold the handles to the bottom. Remove the screws that go through the shaft.

Female hand with a small screwdriver.
Female hand with a small screwdriver.

Step 3

Remove the handles and wash the shaft with hot water and dish soap. Apply your oil agent, such as olive oil, motor oil or cooking oil, to the surface of the shaft. Only apply a small amount initially; you can use more if it needs it.

Woman with soapy hand and bar of soap.
Woman with soapy hand and bar of soap.

Step 4

Place the shaft back into the piece of luggage. Pull it up and down. If is moving freely and doesn't require more oil, fix it in place with the screws. Replace the screws at the bottom of the luggage first and then replace the screws at the top.

Business woman's legs with a suitcase with a handle.
Business woman's legs with a suitcase with a handle.

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