Getting plastic smell out of new luggage
February 21, 2006 9:33 AM   Subscribe

I bought a new suitcase recently, and when I got it home discovered that the interior (which is lined in some sort of plastic or vinyl) has a very strong plastic-y/chemical smell. I've tried leaving it open to air out, I've tried putting some dryer sheets inside and closing it, but nothing has helped abate the stank. I'm going on a trip on Thursday and don't want my clothes to reek of chemicals! Any ideas?
posted by Kat Allison to Home & Garden (12 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
put it in a sunny window,or out on the patio,sunshine and fresh air!
posted by hortense at 9:37 AM on February 21, 2006

Put in a few boxes of open baking soda (or get the ones with the vented sides designed for absorbing odors in the freezer).

It might work better if you could sprinkle the baking soda directly on the plastic, but then you'd have to be sure you could get it all out so it didn't end up all over your clothes.
posted by mikepop at 9:42 AM on February 21, 2006

I'd go for a combo of baking soda and Febreze.
posted by meerkatty at 9:45 AM on February 21, 2006

Febreze spray?
posted by lilybeane at 9:46 AM on February 21, 2006

I keep a piece of Lush soap in a plastic bag tucked in one of the zipper pockets and it works better and smells better than anything else I've ever tried.

Now that I think of it, I'll try it on my gym bag as well.
posted by Space Kitty at 10:04 AM on February 21, 2006

It sounds like it is gassing off. To make that happen more quickly, open it up somewhere warm and well ventilated, and possibly sunny. You could even trying go at it with a blow-dryer in a well-ventilated space.

Ummm, and you could also try contacting the store where you purchased it and the manufacturer to get their advice.
posted by alms at 10:21 AM on February 21, 2006

The plastic smell is the polymers and glues of the suitcase "settling in". it will continue to smell for quite some time, to help you may want to leave in the sun several times, wipe it down with a soft rag and febreze and also pack your clothing in dry cleaner bags. Also try packing lush soap or a travel backing soda box (as mentioned by space kitty)...
posted by omidius at 10:54 AM on February 21, 2006

It definitely sounds like outgassing, but unlike you I think that the scent of new vinyl is heavenly. What I would do to get the scent out - such a shame! - is to leave it outside, in an area that gets direct sunlight for a couple of hours at a time. Use discretion - don't leave it in sunlight on a 110 degree day; you want it warm and bright, not hot enough to damage the material.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 12:23 PM on February 21, 2006

If this is the sickly-sweet smell as opposed to vinyl or glue, then it can take a LONG time to clear. I've had an open tupperware-knockoff sitting outside in the rain and weather for a month and once brought back inside and closed up for even a couple hours the smell returns. I ended up throwing it away.
posted by Kickstart70 at 1:36 PM on February 21, 2006

Newspaper is what you need. Crumpled up newspaper will absorb the odor, especially if used along with the sun treatment. The more you replace the paper, the faster it will work. And make sure you close the suitcase so the odor concentrates. Just take some care with handling the paper afterward as it might smear onto the suitcase.

I had an old wood chest with a horrible moldly smell. It took three sunny weeks and daily newspaper changes but it worked like a charm.
posted by jaimystery at 2:47 PM on February 21, 2006

Return it for an even exchange and get a different suitcase. If you bought it, and found it didn't live up to your expectations and have the receipt, the store will probably have no problem getting you something you like.
posted by Roger Dodger at 2:55 PM on February 21, 2006

Your clothes will air out a lot faster than the suitcase, no matter what you do. Bring a cedar block (e.g. on a hanger) and unpack as soon as you arrive.
posted by dhartung at 7:34 PM on February 21, 2006

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