Before I share with you my tips on keeping your handbags looking as good as possible, I need to share with you the following disclaimer:
I love handbags and I know a lot about them, but I am by no means the supreme authority. You should always contact the company that made your bag or check their website to see what their suggestions are. You may find that they are the same as mine or they may tell you to never, ever believe anything you read on a fashion blog. Either way, I love your handbag too and would never want to be the reason it is ruined!
That being said, on to the tips!
Storage- You should always stuff your bag to help it keep it's shape when not in use. I repurpose bubble wrap or worn out towels for this task. Once you stuff it, you should also put it in it's original dust bag to keep it from getting, you guessed it, dusty. If you additionally want to keep it in it's original box, that’s fine, but you need to throw a few silica or other type of desiccant packets in there to keep moisture out. In this case, get your bag out for a few hours every few weeks when not in use. If you don’t, you run the risk of getting mildew in your bag and if that happens, good luck trying to get that smell out!
Cleaning- Generally speaking, if you spill something on your handbag you should wipe it off immediately. The longer a stain sits, the harder it is to get out. A microfiber cloth (like the one that comes with your sunglasses case) is best, but anything will do. Gently wipe and blot it away. If it needs additional cleaning, then it is important to identify what type of fabric it is made of. Handbags are made out of everything under the sun, but most fall into these three categories:
1- Exotics- This category is the most expensive, hard to come by, and high maintenance. My advice would be to forget about DIY treatments and just take it to the *pros.
2- Leather- Leather comes in a variety of finishes so it is important to identify which one you are looking at. Smooth, pebbled, embossed, antiqued, patent, and suede are the most common. Most leathers can be cleaned with leather cleaner, and most companies offer a house brand. Most of the time using leather cleaner with a microfiber cloth in soft circles will do the trick. For suede all you need is a suede brush and a gentle touch.
3- Embossed canvas/canvas- This is a popular fabric because it is durable and can be treated to be stain resistant. If you spill something liquid wipe and pat, it. Don’t rub, pat to suck the liquid out. If you get something messier like a mushed up banana thrown into the bottom for your purse at the grocery store, pick out the big chunks and just let it dry. If you rub it in, you run the risk of grinding it further into the fabric. Once it dries you can usually scratch off the rest and use a vacuum cleaner to get it out. Then dab a small amount of water on the stain and gently brush to get the rest of the mess out.
Metal accents- These can be polished on a regular basis with a cloth. If something more serious is going on, please proceed with caution. Metal cleaners are very abrasive and can ruin fabric. Most of the time accents are plated with pretty shiny metal that isn’t real so using cleaner might backfire anyways.
Things to avoid
Indigo dye- We all wear dark denim now-a-days, and although it's better looking visually than acid wash it will stain your purse. It will also stain your couch, car and inside of your clothes dryer. If you have a white or light colored purse, please be conscious about what you pair it with. Indigo will rub off on any fabric or color after time, but obviously it’s worse for light colored items.
Makeup- It can be our best friend and our worst nightmare. We want it to stay on our face all day without moving, but if it gets on our clothes or bags we want it off immediately. Depending on the fabric you can use a small amount of makeup remover, but being careful will you save you a lot of stress a time.
Oil- If for some reason you spill an entire dish of herbed bread dip on your purse, I am so sorry this happened to you and other than hug you while you sob, I offer no help. Call the *pros, and cheer up because now you probably get to go handbag shopping!
I hope you find these tips to be useful in caring for your handbags. If you think your bag needs to be professionally cleaned, let us know. We can connect you with the right experts. Thank you for reading and have a great week!
Photo cred: Jordan Pledger