You’ve chosen a gorgeous handbag and it’s as perfect as you hoped it would be. But it’s got you thinking: how should you care for your handbag? Ever wondered how to clean a leather handbag? Not sure how to store your new purse?
Take a look below at some of the most common handbag care queries, and keep your bags looking beautiful all year long!
How do I clean my handbag?
The first step is to know what type of stain you’re dealing with, as that will dictate the removal method.
- Food stains: Crush white chalk and let it sit on the stain overnight. Brush off with a clean cloth in the morning.
- Oil stains: Put cornstarch on the stain immediately, rubbing it in to create heat from friction, which will help the oil absorb. Brush the powder off with a clean cloth after you’ve rubbed it in—don’t let it sit on the stain.
- Ink stains: If the stain is fresh, use a white eraser to immediately erase the spot, without applying too much pressure so that the colour doesn’t come off. If the ink is already set, you’ll need a professional. An eraser also works for dirt stains.
- Water stains: Blot water stains, let them dry naturally, and bring your bag to a professional for removal.
- Odor removal: Keep a plastic bag filled with baking soda inside your handbag. Zip the handbag or place it in a larger bag that seals if it doesn’t zip. Keep the baking soda in the bag for one or two days to absorb the odor.
Best practices when it comes to daily maintenance:
- Avoid handling your bag if your hands are dirty or have lotion or cream on them.
- Never store your bag by looping the handles over a doorknob or wardrobe door: this will damage the leather of the handle and misshape the bag over time.
- Store your handbag with care: Most importantly, keep your pieces out of the sunshine and in a cool, dry place where the material can breathe; this prevents the material from drying out and cracking. If your bag came with a dust-bag, make sure to use it!
- Prevent metalware and embellishments getting damaged by keeping studs, crystals, chains and locks scratch-free can be tricky. Whilst gentle knocks are all part of usual wear-and-tear, when not using your bag, mold tissue paper around the metalwork to prevent scrapes and unsightly scratches.
- Rotate which handbag you carry regularly so that they don’t wear out too quickly.
- Patent material is much more durable than other types, but if it’s coloured, it may mark surfaces if not stored properly. Always keep patent leather in a dust-bag and try not to rest it against light-coloured fabrics.
- If your leather bag gets wet in the rain, stuff it full of newspaper – this prevents the leather shrinking – and allow to dry after blotting away as much water as possible. Never apply direct heat to any wet leather– this will cause cracking and shrinking.
- Use pouches to store cosmetics and liquids, which will protect the handbag lining from spills and keep you organised to boot. Avoid click pens at all cost, opting for pens with caps instead. Better yet, put those in your pouch too, in case of dreaded ink leaks.
- If you’re wondering what do do if leather bag becomes dry, you might need to moisturise the material with a specialist cream. There are oils, waxes and lotions which will all soften and rehydrate tired handbags – leather conditioner is also a good call.
- You need to be especially careful with leather as it’s extremely difficult – if not impossible – to repair when damaged. Leather oil, when rubbed in a circular motion over the scratch can help lessen its intensity, whilst some leather conditioner can also re-energise the bag with a good level of oil and wax to prevent further harsh scratches.
- Use a suede brush to clean and revive suede.
- Regular use of a leather moisturizer will keep the leather supple and free of cracks.
- Wipe your bag down on a weekly basis (when in use) with a soft cloth.
For stains and wear and tear beyond your handbag maintenance skill set, take it to a handbag repair professional. Most shoe repair professionals also work on handbags. They’ll treat it for you, clean it, and restore colour as needed. If your bag doesn’t have metal feet on the bottom, it’s wise to have those installed, as they’ll protect it from scratches and dirt.