Thread Number: 13791
cleaning VINTAGE bags (Kirby 510)
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Post# 146186   8/7/2011 at 15:23 (4,585 days old) by KirbyLover (Louisville Kentucky )        

I have no problems tossing a Heritage or G series bag in the washer and having it come out fresh and clean. But with my Kirby 510, a 62 year old vintage machine, if something happened to the bag well it's damn near impossible to find a replacement! My bag is in good condition, however I do not want to remove it from the emptor and risk damaging the elastic spring or washing it as well as possibly damaging the Kirby logo on the front of the bag.

My bag has got a "army green" hue to it, I think it is suppose to be grey in color??

Is there any good way of "dry cleaning" the bag? Perhaps a fabric cleaning foam that could be sprayed and vacuumed off? Or is it permanently faded and I should just appreciate the character that is has?

Post# 146189 , Reply# 1   8/7/2011 at 15:41 (4,585 days old) by electrolux~137 ()        

That bag is in EXCELLENT condition. Were it mine, I'd hardly dare ruining it by trying to clean it. "Leave Well Enough Alone...!"



Post# 146198 , Reply# 2   8/7/2011 at 16:42 (4,585 days old) by kirbyvacuum (Long Island New York)        
Kirby Bag510

Hi Dave PLEASE leave it ALONE that bag is a-ok Doug

Post# 146199 , Reply# 3   8/7/2011 at 16:50 (4,585 days old) by henry200 (Saint Paul MN)        

That bag is priceless!   Yes, it's faded and I don't know of any way to restore the color but I would never risk washing it or even getting it damp.  All I would do is open the bag at the top and carefully/thoroughly vacuum the inside of the fabric. 

Post# 146205 , Reply# 4   8/7/2011 at 17:54 (4,585 days old) by vac_whisperer ()        

DO NOT WASH IT!!!!!!!!

Post# 146212 , Reply# 5   8/7/2011 at 19:20 (4,585 days old) by KirbyLover (Louisville Kentucky )        

don't worry, i do not intend on getting it "wet"! I may try a very tiny amount of fabric cleaner somewhere on the bag where you can't see it, but I will not get it wet.

I did clean out the inside pretty good by following the shakeout bag directions as instructed.

Post# 146223 , Reply# 6   8/7/2011 at 20:10 (4,585 days old) by electrolux~137 ()        




"I may try a very tiny amount of fabric cleaner...."


I wouldn't even do that. You risk rubbing off the silkscreened lettering. The lettering may look very sturdy and durable, but if you start wiping the bag with a sponge or cloth, especially one containing any sort of cleaning agent, and you very well might find to your great sorrow that the lettering starts flaking off, and all you're going to have left is a few specks of red and silver clinging to a faint outline of the logo.


Please... listen to those who have "been there, done that," and have learned the hard way!! I wonder if you really appreciate just how rare and scarce -- and irreplaceable -- that bag is.


I don't mean to be too blunt, but as beautiful as that bag is, it would just be plain crazy to do anything to it other than a good shake out, vacuum out the inside, and carefully wipe the outside with a soft non-lint cloth.


(I was going to say, "listen to your elders" but I just checked your profile and saw that you were born in 1893, so I guess I can't say that... LOL)


Post# 146232 , Reply# 7   8/7/2011 at 20:44 (4,585 days old) by henry200 (Saint Paul MN)        
"Listen to your elders"

What the heck, I'm very nearly as old as that 510 bag, or at least the dust in it.  I have no qualms about being considered an "elder."  LOL

Post# 146236 , Reply# 8   8/7/2011 at 20:56 (4,585 days old) by electrolux~137 ()        




Well, the joke was that his profile states he was born in 1893 ... I assume that's a typo, meant to be 1983, unless we have a118-year-old collector in our midst!!

Post# 146272 , Reply# 9   8/8/2011 at 06:22 (4,584 days old) by KirbyLover (Louisville Kentucky )        

I think I will not touch the bag. Even if i were able to get it to look grey, there would be the problem of that silk screening which would surely get damaged even from wiping it with a wet rag. I truly do appreciate how rare it is- I'm always searching ebay for parts of my 70's and 80's vac and they are kinda hard to find- 500 series are damn near impossible (usually ANY kind of bag is NOT original). I still need to find a different handle (mine is yellow), as well as a replacement cord that is grey (replacement brown doesn't look right). Aside from that, I do believe the rest of the machine is 100% original! I just cleaned the bumper and headlight trim which I actually thought was replaced with GREEN trim (perhaps D80 parts) but I cleaned it today with lacquer thinner and brought it back to new! :D

Post# 146277 , Reply# 10   8/8/2011 at 07:02 (4,584 days old) by henry200 (Saint Paul MN)        

That's good news; a potential bag disaster prevented!   I sure wish there was a way to dye old bags to restore the original color safely without damaging the screen printed designs.  If someone ever came up with a method they would be a Vacuumland hero! 


You have a beautiful Kirby there and it cleaned up nicely.  I use ArmourAll on rubber or vinyl trim parts to preserve them and keep them looking fresh.  Hang in there and keep your eyes peeled for the right cord and handle grip.  I've sometimes waited a couple years to find a part I need but it does happen.

Post# 146299 , Reply# 11   8/8/2011 at 10:16 (4,584 days old) by twocvbloke ()        
"If someone ever came up with a method they would be a V

There are companies who use sprays to dye furnishings that can't have the covers pulled off, I don't know if that would work or not though...

Best advice is just to take the bag off, clean, and store it in a safe, cool, dry place, and use one of Kirby's new black replacement flap-top bags if you intend to use the vac, I'm sure the bag spring would hold out when removing it from the emtor, you just have to carefully roll it off rather than pull it off like you can with later & better condition bags... :)

I'm sure there are ways to delicately clean the bag without losing the printing, a gentle hand washing in cool water & woolite or something similar should do the job, nothing ventured, nothing gained... :)

Post# 146315 , Reply# 12   8/8/2011 at 11:39 (4,584 days old) by electrolux~137 ()        




"I'm sure there are ways to delicately clean the bag without losing the printing, a gentle hand washing in cool water & woolite or something similar should do the job, nothing ventured, nothing gained... :)"



I respectfully disagree with this suggestion. A person could "venture" to wash his Kirby bag in cold water and Woolite and what he "may gain" is to see the silkscreened lettering flaking off and floating in the wash water.


Some people just don't seem to appreciate how fragile and easily damaged the lettering is after so many years. When silkscreen ink is new and freshly applied, it does have a certain amount of "give" and flexibility. However, it hardens over time and develops hairline cracks which you can see if you look closely at most old Kirby bags. (Indeed, you can even see this in the bag being discussed -- look at the photo of it above.) You get the bag wet, and water seeps in-between and behind those cracks, which will eventually cause the lettering to lift away from the bag and disappear.


Again, as beautiful overall as that bag is, I personally wouldn't do anything to it other than, as I said before, to carefully vacuum it and wipe it down with a dry cloth.


I don't even turn my old Kirby bags inside-out anymore because I have seen that doing so causes more cracks to develop in the lettering.


Post# 146325 , Reply# 13   8/8/2011 at 13:52 (4,584 days old) by vac_whisperer ()        
Turning bags inside-out

Really, that goes for any bags that have some sort of printing on them.

My Royal handvac was in mint condition when I got it bt the bag was filthy. I turned it inside-out and cleaned it- then when I turned it back, the screen print was all cracked and it looked terrible.

Post# 146399 , Reply# 14   8/9/2011 at 06:28 (4,583 days old) by KirbyLover (Louisville Kentucky )        
companies who use sprays to dye furnishings

I work at a car dealership and we have a guy that comes in and repairs auto upholstery and interior parts (he also does furniture and other things too). As great a job as he can do on plastics and leather, cloth fabric never seems to look quite right. It has the painted on appearance and with how flexible a vacuum bag is I think it would quickly wear out and look terrible. This could be his method/products he uses but I've already thought about that possibility and quickly decided it would be a bad idea. :)

Post# 146401 , Reply# 15   8/9/2011 at 07:19 (4,583 days old) by twocvbloke ()        

From what I know about automotive upholstery repair, they should use dyes on cloth based upholstery, rather than paint that could wear off, there are some parts you can get away with spraying with paint (such as the parcel shelves and some carpeting), and leathers too would have a dye applied to restore the original colour... :)

Still, I guess if the bag is not to be hygienically cleaned using water, it may be prudent to wrap it up in a vacuum storage bag & suck the air out, and then freeze the bag for a few weeks to kill off bacteria & bugs, after vaccing out as much of the dirt as possible of course... :)

Once the few weeks are up you can slowly defrost it (sounds daft, put putting it in the fridge would be the right idea), then you just store it somewhere safe, dark and cool... :)

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