LOVE that BAG Handbag Care 101

We all adore our handbags –mood enhancers, constant companions, always by our side.  And we are willing to invest in them on the premise that they will last for years and years.  But we often don’t know the basics of handbag care. Here are some tips to ensure that you preserve your beloved purses as long as possible:

  1. Regular maintenance: Avoid handling your handbags after you have applied hand lotion or if your hands are less than clean. Once in a while empty them out, turn them upside down and gently shake to remove dust etc. Unless otherwise indicated, occasionally wipe down the exterior with an alcohol-free baby wipe.

  2. Remove stains right away. Removal techniques will depend on the source of the stain. Here are some quick tips:

    • Food stains:Let crushed white chalk sit on the stain for several hours, ideally overnight.  Then wipe it away with a clean cloth.
    • Water spots: Blot water stains, let them dry naturally, and bring your bag to a professional for removal.
    • Pen marks: For fresh ink stains, try rubbing lightly with a white eraser.  However, don’t use much pressure, and if it doesn’t disappear immediately or if too much time has passed, see a professional (see tip #7).  Ink stains are tricky.
    • Odors: Store your bag with a baking soda pack inside. Zip the handbag closed, or if it doesn’t zip closed put it in a larger bag that seals. Dryer sheets and herbal sachets also work wonders, if you leave them in for several days.
    1. Protect the interior. We recommend using plastic baggies or plasticized cosmetic pouches to store products like cosmetics, pens (don’t even think about throwing a click pen in your bag for this reason), hand sanitizer and other liquids. Don’t let these items roll around free in your handbag as they can stain the material. Lipstick is nearly impossible to remove from fabric! 

    1. Use care products, and use the right ones. Once in a while gently rub leather with leather cream or balm with a clean white cloth, followed by a dry cotton cloth to buff.  Tenderly by URAD is a good cream as is Tarrago Leather Care Balm.   Most shoe repairs carry leather creams.  Use a suede brush to clean and revive suede. Better still, protect your bag before soiling happens. Companies like Scotchguard make special protectant spray products for fabric, and also for suede and nubuck. Always make sure that you read the instructions carefully to ensure that the product is right for the material.  You can do a patch test on a tiny portion of the material first, to ensure there is no discoloration.  

    1. Store them properly. Ideally, bags should be stored upright, in their dust bags or in a cotton pillowcase (never in plastic or a non-breathable bag, as moisture will build up). Don’t pile bags on top of one another. Ensure that the bag is stuffed to maintain its shape; use soft, dry materials like acid-free tissue paper, scarves or other fabric. Unclip and roll up any long straps and store these inside the bag.  If possible, hang handle over a hook or a wooden hanger in your closet or store upright. Always store them out of direct sunlight.

    1. Don’t forget about the hardware. Avoid scratching hardware on rough surfaces, zippers and jewelry.

    1. Seek professional help. For stains, rips and tears, broken zippers or pulls, don’t be afraid to see a professional. Most shoe repair professionals can work magic on handbags, whether you need serious repair or simple upkeep or restoration. They can even install metal feet on some bags to protect the base!

    With a little love, your handbags should continue to return the favor for years to come!