Twenty Handbag Cleaning Hacks You NEED In Your Life
Designer leather handbags are often the one real investment we're willing to make when it comes to the wardrobe department.
And, when you've invested a lot of money in a handbag, making sure it's a forever item is a must. But taking care of leather goods can be tricky - and when it's an item you seriously care about, so much more is a stake.
So, how do you clean a leather handbag without ruining it?
The place to start, says Jordan Smith of the Handbag Clinic, is with prevention. "Always protect your leather bag with a reputable protection cream/treatment. This should be done from day one and applied at least once every two to three months."
"Proper protection can prevent staining, grease penetration and can prevent all manner of issues later on."
"As well as protecting, regular cleaning, even if it is just a quick wipe-down, is a must. For a quick wipe-down, a damp cloth is enough, but typically bags will need a more thorough clean by a professional or using specialist cleaning products every 2-3 months to keep them in top condition."
1. Wipe your bag once a week with warm, soapy water... mix a small amount of mild liquid soap to warm water and use a soft damp cloth to wipe away any dirt from the outside of your handbag.
2. Wipe with the grain of the handbag... to avoid ruining the leather
3. Stick to proper cleaner... The Handbag Clinic says: "Never use baby wipes, vinegar or any other 'home remedy' for cleaning or stain removal. Many of these products have chemicals and substances in them that can cause damage to the colour, dry the leather out, create a build-up of grease in the leather and any number of other problems."
4. The key to removing ink marks is to treat them straight away... your first and best bet is to take your bag to see a professional as soon as possible. If you're unable to, try a special ink removing product for leather and follow the care instructions, making sure to condition the area afterwards and leave to dry properly.
5. If the ink stains are old... don't try to remove these yourself. They will likely be too stubborn and will need professional care.
6. Keep your bag stuffed while you're not using it... to help keep its shape better.
7. Never use water on grease stains... these should simply wipe off leather surfaces.
8. Use a professional leather cleaner on tougher dirt... these creams don't need to be rinsed out which can damage your bag further. They might cost more, but the result will be so much more effective.
9. Pay attention to the material...The Handbag Clinic says: "When cleaning always use a product designed for use on the material. A general leather cleaner will not be as effective on a suede or nubuck interior than a cleaner specifically designed for suede & nubuck for example (due to the absorbent, fibrous nature of the material)."
10. Always spot-test a cleaning method before you use it... preferably somewhere on the inside of the bag that can't be seen by prying eyes.
11. Avoid holding your handbag if you've just applied hand cream... or you're just ASKING for grease stains.
12. If your tote came with a dust bag... use it. These aren't just for pretty packaging - they are intended to keep your bags dust-free when they're not being used.
13. Keep it covered...Elias Dry Cleaners says: "If you don't have a dust bag an old pillowcase will do!"
14. Consider buying Stain Cover just in case your bag gets messy... at the Handbag Clinic you can insure up to 15 handbags against stains for a small fee per month.
15. Don't leave your handbag in direct sunlight... it can cause the colour to fade and damage the leather
16. Consider your clothes, too...Elias Dry Cleaners says: "Don't wear light colour handbags with dark clothing as the dye from the clothing may run and transfer to the handbag damaging the colour - one of the hardest stains to remove."
17. For really stubborn stains... try matching a shoe polish to the colour of your bag and buffing a small amount over the affected area.
18. Do not use saddle soap... it'll most likely be too strong for the leather on your bag and could cause discolouring.
19. Shift smells properly...Handbag Clinic says: "If you do get a nasty smell, odour removers can be used (choose the right one for the type of substance causing the smell), but avoid the use of harsh solvent-based or aerosol odour removers, as they can damage the colour of the bag and even cause damage to the leather itself in some cases."
20. To banish ever-lingering smells... put an open container of baking powder carefully inside your bag, place your bag into a dustbag or pillowcase and leave for 24 hours. The baking powder should absorb any unwanted odours.
Advice from Jordan at the handbag clinic as well as Rokaya Namira, the Accessories Expert at Elias Dry Cleaners.