How To Clean Luggage Wheels From Dirt – Make Them Like New

By James Smith
how to clean luggage wheels from dirt
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After I was traveling I wanted to make sure the luggage is clean before putting it away and after a while, the wheels don’t move as easy with all the dirt inside them. So here’s what I learned on how to clean luggage wheels?

The easy fast way is to simply take a cloth and pour some water and soap on it then roll the wheel against cloth until the dirt comes off. Then you can also rub the cloth inside the wheels and roll the wheels then repeat until clean. 

That is a quick way but it won’t be the most effective to get all the dirt, hair and junk from the wheels.

To do that you need to remove the wheels.

How to remove the luggage wheels for cleaning

After a while, the luggage wheels and bearings collect all kinds of dirt. The suitcase might start to squeak and begin to be sluggish to roll. But don’t worry, removing the wheels to clean is not that hard and the wheels will be as good as new afterward. Here’s how to do it.

  1. Locate the screws and figure out the correct size for the screws. Every luggage is a little bit different some use Philips screwdriver and some use just a flat screwdriver, figure what size fits and unscrew it
  2. After you get the screw out, slide out the wheel and push out the bearings, the bearings come easily out make sure not to drop them and lose them.
  3.  Clean the bearings by wiping with a cloth or paper towel on each bearing to get out all the dirt and grime. Do not use water on your bearings it will make them go bad, just wipe the dirt off and make sure no dirt gets inside the bearings wipe gently.
  4. After bearings dry and clean add some lubricant like this one or something like sewing machine oil would work as well. Then add the lubricant in the bearings and drop 3-4 drops just so it’s not so dry. WD-40 is not recommended since it just works for a short time then can dry the bearings out making them even worse than before you started. Then do a quick wipe if you have to much extra cream in there since if there’s too much that will make it collect more dirt again that you don’t want.
  5. Clean the wheels from the dirt with just a cloth that has some water and soap in it the spin the wheel against the cloth until it’s clean
  6. Pop the bearings back into the well by simply pushing it in.
  7. Put back the wheels and screw them in as they did before. Often times there are exterior side and an interior side of the wheels, the side which has the cleanest should often be outwards. If you don’t see any difference try both sides.

Now your luggage wheel run smoother and fresher than ever.

How to remove hair from luggage wheels

After a while, your wheels gather a lot of hair that comes from rolling on carpets or just at home maybe you have a cat or a dog.

Then the wheels don’t roll as effortlessly as before. Either you can remove the hair easily with this technique.

  1. Begin by turning the suitcase upside down so wheels are upwards.
  2. Take some soapy water and clean the wheels with a scrub tool or a toothbrush. Just to remove all the dirt and only leave the hair left.
  3. Use a butter knife, seam ripper or a tweezer to remove all the visible hair you can see and just drag them out. You can use the butter knife to get in the wheels just wiggle and pull as many hairs as possible then ur the tweezer to drag the hair outtweezer to remove hair from suitcase wheels
  4. Clip the hair that has stuck around the wheelbase with a nail clipper or something that has a curve to it. Keep clipping the hair and rotate the wheels to make sure you get as much as you can
  5. Use duct tape for the last bit. Cut out a strip of tape that is small enough to get around the wheelbase and press it hard. Then drag off the tape to get out the remaining hairs.

A more dangerous way if your not careful is to use a lighter. Do this outside or somewhere it’s safe and simply use the lighter to burn the hairs that stick out.

Be careful not to burn the wheel as it’s plastic and will melt. Or a heat gun with the lower setting will work to make the hair go up in smoke but do note that burnt hair does not smell so it’s good to do it outside if you can.

If you do all these steps you should get out all the annoying hairs that are stuck and hopefully, it won’t get stuck again but if it does just do the same step as above.

Why luggage wheels get dirty

Luggage’s gets very dirty while traveling especially the wheels since it’s those that are on the ground. On the airport floor, it’s often very dusty if it’s not cleaned regularly but where you get the most dirt are outside the airport dragging the suitcase on sidewalks and off-road.

At hotel floors, it’s often carpet floor that has hairs that will get stuck on your wheels and after a while, all the dirt collectively adds up and will make your wheels get more sluggish and start to squeak which is annoying.

How to prevent luggage wheels to get dirty

First of all, for the exterior, you can use a luggage cover that you drag over while traveling that will protect it against any scratches or dirt.

But for the wheels there aren’t much you can do against dirt, you can always after a trip wash off your wheels with some soapy water. Some other things are to carry the bag down the stairs with the handle instead of dragging it down since that can damage the wheels as well.

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Hi, I'm James Smith, I love traveling and always looking to optimize the traveling life to make it as comfortable and stress-free as possible. I especially love to nerd out about choosing the right luggage.

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