Today we pack luggage to travel. In the old days, travelers often packed trunks, especially when they took long trips. Old steamer trunks were popular in the late 1800s to the early 1920s. Old steamer trunks were made of wood that was usually covered with canvas or leather. The insides of the trunks were usually covered with paper. Vintage steamer trunks make great places to store items in your home. Chances are you'll need to clean the inside out first. They often smell musty and old. It's not hard to clean the inside of an old steamer trunk, it just takes time.
Sweep the inside of the steamer trunk out. Attach a soft brush attachment to your vacuum and carefully remove dirt, dust and debris.
Mix up a 1/2 cup of Murphy's Oil Soap in a bucket of warm water. Dip a sponge in the solution and wring it out until it's damp, not sloppy wet. Wipe the inside of the old steamer trunk out until it's clean. Rinse and wring the sponge out as needed.
Place the steamer trunk in a cool, dry, well-ventilated location for a few days. Leave the lid open so it can completely dry out. The steamer trunk will also need to air out before you can use it.
Smell the inside of the old steamer trunk. If it still smells old and musty, place a small bowl of white vinegar inside it. Close the lid and let the vinegar deodorize the trunk for a few days.
Clean stubborn mold from the inside of an old steamer trunk with diluted bleach. Mix a half cup of bleach in a bucket of warm water. Dip a sponge into the solution and wring it out. Wipe out the steamer trunk paying special attention to the mold spots. Repeat Step #3.