So you got a great deal on an old suitcase at that yard sale, but when you get it home and break out the cleaning products and scrub till your fingers fall off, it just doesn't get any cleaner. Depressing, isn't it. The old vinyl cases don't so much get dirty as dull.
This tutorial will get your suitcase shiny again. The real antique purists will probably howl with rage about this process, but like I said: It will work. This is an old vinyl (I think) suitcase that's pretty
I used some regular household cleaner on half of it. When it first goes on you think, oh man this thing's lookin' awesome. Then, when the cleaner dries it looks almost the same as before you started. It only looks good because the wetness of the cleaner made it shine. So you have to do something that makes it look wet all the time.
To accomplish this I just paint on a coat of clear sealer. I like the Painter's Touch finish in gloss. It gives you pretty good results and cleans with soap and water. Stir it when you first open the can. Never ever shake clear finishes to mix them. You'll get lots of air bubbles in it; tiny little buggers that you'll end up painting on to your piece that will look like grains of sand in the finish. Move quickly but surely as you want to keep a wet edge. Do not apply any more sealer to spots you've already done until the whole thing is completely dry. If you touch the stuff again as it's still setting up you will leave ugly streaks in it. Do not paint over the leather trim or any of the metal hardware. It just won't look good.
I applied the finish to half of this case so you can see the difference. And yes, the shiny side is dry in the photo.
To all you purists out there who think that I just ruined an antique by altering it I offer my sincerest apologies. But it don't look ruined to me.
At the time of this post this suitcase is available for purchase at my Etsy shop Destinations Vintage