Thread Number: 41778  /  Tag: 50s/60s/70s Vacuum Cleaners
Repair and Cleaning of Kirby 515 Corduroy Bag
[Down to Last]

Vacuumland's exclusive eBay Watch:
scroll >>> for more items
Post# 441595   5/7/2021 at 21:06 by KirbyOwner (Chicago IL)        

kirbyowner's profile picture
Hello, this is a continuation of my other thread "Original Bag Style for Kirby Model 515", which I wanted to branch off and open up to more people who may know about what I need to know.

I recently found an original 515 style bag for my Kirby 515 that I am restoring from its factory rebuilt state. I noticed, aside from the bag being generally worn over the years, there were two main issues with it (Photos provided):

1. Unsuprisingly, the red around the Kirby logo has mostly faded off. I beleive I saw another post talking about a certain acrylic paint that does the job, however I'd just like to ask for myself.

2. I noticed there is a decent-sized hole on the bottom of the bag around the emptor spring. Luckily, it is underneath the lower bag guard, however it is still something I'd like to address if possible.

I have not cleaned this bag at all, aside from vacuuming out the inside and giving the inside and out both a light brushing. I didn't want to do any sort of real cleaning until I know what would work best for the bag without potentially harming it. The bag also feels somewhat stiff compared to the bags on my Sanitronic and the other corduroy one on my 1-CR. I'm not sure if this is normal for older bags, or if it is stiff from dirt (This bag looked like it had never been cleaned in its life when I got it)

Thank you for any advice, feedback, and or fair warnings. (As you can probably tell, cloth bags are not my strong point. I'm still young, and a beginner collector!)

  Photos...       <              >      Photo 1 of 3         View Full Size

Post# 441597 , Reply# 1   5/7/2021 at 22:10 by Lesinutah (Utah)        

lesinutah's profile picture
The bags pre 1961 and older are open top. The material on open top bags are not the same material as closed top sanitronic bags. The sanitronic bags don't have screen printing. If you try to clean the bag the screen printing will flake off. That's pretty much how it is if you want original bags. The bag spring has an inch lip on the inside of the bag. You could patch it with that material. If you pinch the bag together using super glue or clothes adhesive that would fix the spring.
If you have an old bag your lucky. If you have an old bag in great condition it's extremely rare. I don't like any bags Fromm 513-561. I have or had every bag but as good as yours maybe one a little better but you get the point.
Get some stencils tape off the bag and use heavy duty paint. If you screen print your better of doing 10-20 bags.
I'd buy the black corduroy open top Kirby bag. Either get an embroidery patch or paint it yourself.
You won't see any 513-562 Kirby's selling for more than $100 unless original in pristine condition. It's up to you on how much you put into it.

Post# 441612 , Reply# 2   5/8/2021 at 11:56 by KirbyOwner (Chicago IL)        
Thank you

kirbyowner's profile picture
Thank you Les, for the advice and help with this bag. It will be nice to get this bag looking better, and fix the hole before it manages to get worse. I personally like the 1C - 505 and 508 - 512 style bags the most, however, since I am working on bringing it back to the fully original style, this is what I ended up with! At the end of the day I am happy just to have found the bag for this unit.

Since the hole is mostly hidden underneath the lower guard, I'll probably opt for a patch. I'll go talk to my friends at our local paint store, they'll know the perfect paint for the job!

Thank you again for your help and advice, and have a nice weekend!

Post# 441613 , Reply# 3   5/8/2021 at 12:20 by Louvac (A)        
I would

Proceed as you already are. Don't do anything rash. If you are handy with a needle and some thread, you can sew so the tear by weaving loosely using a simple satin stitch. You can even try button hole twist thread or even top stitching thread (which may be one and the same).

Brushing the bag as you have is fine. The cold hard fact is that you can't make the bag brand new no matter what you do. Airing it outside on a nice breezy day does wonders for odors, and you can even turn it inside out and use a hand vacuum on it such as the Royal Dirt Devil since it has a gentle brush.

If you decide to embroider or stitch onto a new cloth bag, remember you must use a "rubber damn" of sort so that the needle piercing from the sewing machine won't leave holes where the thread has come through. This would allow fine dust/dirt to leak through. Look at a Kirby Classic model bag turned inside out. You will notice that there is a rubber backing used to help seal the patch against the fabric. I don't recall at the moment whether the rubber damn is on the back of the patch or on the inside of the bag against the back of the patch.

Generally speaking, less is more. At one time, the genuine Kirby cloth black corduroy replacement bags could be bought for about $20. Now they are about $80. It's called greed!

Post# 441668 , Reply# 4   5/10/2021 at 11:12 by Vacmadman (Pueblo Co.)        

This post has been removed by the member who posted it.

Post# 441672 , Reply# 5   5/10/2021 at 13:55 by Vacmadman (Pueblo Co.)        
Care package

vacmadman's profile picture

If you email me your address I will send you a little care package to help you complete your 515.


  View Full Size
Post# 441730 , Reply# 6   5/12/2021 at 08:32 by Vacmadman (Pueblo Co.)        
Oh well

vacmadman's profile picture
Oh well I offered, I guess not???

Post# 441741 , Reply# 7   5/12/2021 at 17:54 by KirbyOwner (Chicago IL)        

kirbyowner's profile picture
Hello, I am so sorry I missed this, I haven't been online in a couple days, as I've been working on other things. I would be very interested in the care package if still possible, I haven't found any of these parts yet! My address is 1630 W 106th St. Chicago, IL 60643. I am happy to pay for shipping as well! Thank you very much for the offer, I am really excited to get even more done on this unit. After this, all I will need for it is an original cord, metal fan, and possibly a new badge plate, but I can make that myself!

Post# 441767 , Reply# 8   5/13/2021 at 11:33 by Vacmadman (Pueblo Co.)        

vacmadman's profile picture

Your very welcome I will try to get it in the mail for you today or tomorrow. I will also send you the belt lifter or badge for the 515 as well.


  View Full Size
Post# 441768 , Reply# 9   5/13/2021 at 11:42 by KirbyOwner (Chicago IL)        
Thank you!

kirbyowner's profile picture
Thank you very much for this! I actually already have the belt lifter, so if you need to use it for anything, go ahead and keep it! As I said before, shoot me the shipping cost and I am happy to pay for it! Thank you very much, I will be sure to send pictures!

Post# 441771 , Reply# 10   5/13/2021 at 12:53 by Vacmadman (Pueblo Co.)        
Your welcome

vacmadman's profile picture

I just sent it out priority mail tracking# 9505 5125 0303 1133 4218 92 it should be there on Monday. You don't owe me a thing, some day you might be able to pay it forward to another collector. I'll look forward to seeing the pictures when it's done.


Post# 441772 , Reply# 11   5/13/2021 at 13:37 by gottahaveahoove (Pittston, Pennsylvania, 18640)        

gottahaveahoove's profile picture
You are a kind man, indeed.

Post# 441933 , Reply# 12   5/18/2021 at 08:23 by Vacmadman (Pueblo Co.)        
Be careful

vacmadman's profile picture

Thank you but please be careful what you say. I've worked very hard for years to build a reputation of being a total asshole, and I wouldn't want to ruin all my past efforts....thanks.


Post# 441934 , Reply# 13   5/18/2021 at 08:31 by KirbyOwner (Chicago IL)        
USPS Delay

kirbyowner's profile picture
The package did not arrive yesterday, along with any of our mail. USPS delivery in our area is not the most reliable when it comes to timing, along with the fact that we are on the end of a weird mail route. However usually anything that doesn't show up when it's supposed to, arrives the next time the mailman comes. (From my experience it usually arrives the next day or two days after it was supposed to come). So hopefully shooting for today or tomorrow at most, all depends on when the mailman decides to show. None of this is your problem, just wanted to update in case you were wondering why there was no progress so far!

Post# 441936 , Reply# 14   5/18/2021 at 09:21 by luxz80 (Bournemouth ,England Then Florida and back to England)        

luxz80's profile picture
Hi KirbyOwner,

I hope everything arrives soon. Having lived in FLA for years I love the older kirbys and hope to see yours after everything is finished. So kind of Jim to help out a fellow collector.

I am waiting on a tool set to arrive for my hoover junior 375.


Post# 441937 , Reply# 15   5/18/2021 at 09:27 by luxz80 (Bournemouth ,England Then Florida and back to England)        

luxz80's profile picture
My 375. Also now takes paper bags. Must keep dirt away as older bags not so easy to find. This is not original but still good. Cord and bag similar colour so decided to keep it as I got it.🙂🙂🙂

  Photos...       <              >      Photo 1 of 8         View Full Size
Post# 441942 , Reply# 16   5/18/2021 at 12:16 by Vacmadman (Pueblo Co.)        

vacmadman's profile picture

I have also been tracking your package, and yesterday it said it was out for delivery so I'm not sure what went wrong but maybe it will get there today...fingers crossed.


Post# 441943 , Reply# 17   5/18/2021 at 12:57 by Hoover300 (Kentucky)        

hoover300's profile picture
I've got an original, whole 515 fan from a project 515 I parted out last year, send me an email if you are interested.

Post# 441947 , Reply# 18   5/18/2021 at 16:22 by KirbyOwner (Chicago IL)        
515 Update

kirbyowner's profile picture

The package came today, and it was like Christmas morning all over again when I saw it on my porch! After a little cleaning, the parts were all in great condition, the castings looked incredible with just a hand-polish and a little Mother's! The trim pieces and lifter all cleaned right up with APC, and shined so much after I put some 303 protectant on them that they pretty much glow! I am so pleased with this, concidering I was worried I'd never see more red than brown on this unit, and now here I am! I cannot wait to polish this to a mirror, it already looks so nice now! Thank you so much for the parts, and not even charging me a dime for it! Looking at this 515 now just makes me smile, and I have you to thank for that!


There are the pictures below, if you're interested in seeing it. I hope you get as much enjoyment out of them as I did! Also, good luck with your Junior's tool set! Don't think I will do a paper bag conversion, since I'd hate to ruin the originality of the Emptor, especially now that I have the Sweet-Aire insert, but I hope it serves you well, and keeps your bag clean as a whistle!


Thank you for for your offer! I will definitely concider it and get back to you, either here if I decline, or via email if I am interested / accept! Thank you!

  Photos...       <              >      Photo 1 of 6         View Full Size
Post# 441950 , Reply# 19   5/18/2021 at 18:47 by Vacmadman (Pueblo Co.)        
Your welcome

vacmadman's profile picture

You are very welcome, I'm glad your happy with the way it turned out. Now it looks like a 515 should look. One thing you should change are the back wheels they came from the factory with the flat side on the front, and the hub side in the back, small detail....pictured.


  View Full Size
Post# 441957 , Reply# 20   5/18/2021 at 22:37 by KirbyOwner (Chicago IL)        

kirbyowner's profile picture
Of course! In the back of my head something still felt off (aside from the tawny brown power cord!) My OCD must've gotten the best of me here. Thanks for pointing that out, or I would've completely forgotten!

Post# 441975 , Reply# 21   5/19/2021 at 09:51 by Vacmadman (Pueblo Co.)        
Wheel screws

vacmadman's profile picture

The wheel screws look like they are phillip head screws, they should be slotted screws. It's hard to tell in the pictures.


Post# 442014 , Reply# 22   5/20/2021 at 08:55 by KirbyOwner (Chicago IL)        
Reflective Personality

kirbyowner's profile picture
I stayed up till 1 AM last night, hunkered over the bench polisher, getting the 515 it's first machine-polish most likely since the rebuild in 91. I love disassembling Kirbys compared to other things, since you pretty much only need one screwdriver to get the whole job done! Put it under the buffing wheels with some white and red rouge, and just look at that shine! It was already pretty nice when I got it, but the rouge jumped it over the line between polished and mirror! This was actually my first time using rouge for a larger project, and I absolutely love it!

Also, yes, the wheel screws are mushroom philips-heads. I have yet to find a set of 4 Round slotheads for them. Also, Jim, if you have the time, would you be able to send a nice, clear image of the model plate on the underside of your 515? At some point I plan to refabricate the original model badge on mine, which was snipped of after the rebuild, and replaced with the half fallen off rebuild sticker it has now, however I've never atually been able to find a good reference image of the badge. Thank you very much for your time!

(First two images are shortly after I got it, and hand polished it with Mother's.
Third and onward are today, after polishing with rouge.)

  Photos...       <              >      Photo 1 of 7         View Full Size
Post# 442052 , Reply# 23   5/21/2021 at 09:02 by Vacmadman (Pueblo Co.)        
515 ID plate

vacmadman's profile picture

Here you go.


  View Full Size

Forum Index:       Other Forums:                      

Comes to the Rescue!

Woops, Time to Check the Bag!!!
Either you need to change your vacuum bag or you forgot to LOG-IN?

Discuss-O-MAT Log-In

New Members
Click Here To Sign Up.

Discuss-o-Mat Forums
Vintage Brochures, Service and Owners Manuals
Fun Vintage Washer Ephemera
See It Wash!
Video Downloads
Audio Downloads
Picture of the Day
Patent of the Day
Photos of our Collections
The Old Aberdeen Farm
Vintage Service Manuals
Vintage washer/dryer/dishwasher to sell?
Technical/service questions?
Looking for Parts?
Website related questions?
Digital Millennium Copyright Act Policy
Our Privacy Policy