10 Clever Cleaning Hacks for Handbags

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The right handbag can transform an outfit. And you can make yours work harder with a little TLC.

As well as an everyday essential, handbags can be a great investment if you look after them well. Most designer handbags, especially a classic Chanel or a timeless Prada actually increase in value over time. High street handbags can also look brand new for longer if you treat them right. 

So if your trusty tote is starting to lose its shape, or your favourite clutch has a stain that just won’t budge, fear not. We asked the experts from luxury bag cleaning and repair service The Handbag Spa to share their helpful handbag-freshening hacks...
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1. Bag It Up

Tan, cream or pastel bags can be a complete nightmare when it comes to picking up stubborn stains.

You can help prevent any grease marks or dirt by keeping your bag in its original dust bag between uses.  Store each one carefully so it doesn’t pick up any marks from your shelves or cupboard. 

Top Tip: If you don’t have a dust bag, use a cotton pillowcase or cushion cover. 

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2. Dust It Off

If you love bagging a great vintage bargain, be sure to invest in a cleaning kit complete with a cloth, suede brush and sprays designed for vintage suede and nubuck.

Before you apply a new cleaning product to your handbag, be sure to test it somewhere inconspicuous and leave for a while to see how the material reacts. 

Top Tip: Stay on top of care. Gently wipe your bag with warm, soapy water about once a week and use a proper leather spray at least once every two months. 
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3. Wipe It Down

If disaster strikes and your bronzing powder explodes all over the lining, don’t panic because a standard make-up or baby wipe will do the trick.

Stubborn spots? Apply a little Micellar Water to a cotton pad and gently dab the stain. It's gentle enough to lift the mark without damaging the lining.  

Top Tip: Never use baby wipes on the outside leather of your bag as it can damage the finish and create a build up of product that is tough to remove. 
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4. Store And Restore

We’re all guilty of just chucking everything in our bags and hoping nothing breaks or spills, but organisation is key to saving your lining.

Buy little bags or pouches to separate your make-up, iPad, Kindle and cables and general handbag essentials.

This way you can easily switch handbags without leaving anything behind and protect your lining from sharp edges or spills.
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5. Keep It Glossy

If your patent bag is starting to lose its gloss, give it a new lease of life with a spritz of patent care spray.

Simply spray your bag from 15cm away, wipe off any excess and buff until it’s back to its shiny self.

Make sure the spray description specifies the right blend of wax and oils to prevent your bag from drying or cracking. 

Top Tip: Go for a scented spray to make your bag look and smell as good as new. 

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6. Hang It Up

Dusty floors or wet tiling can leave their mark, so make a simple handbag hook your on-the-go essential.

Available in a huge range of gorgeous styles and colours for less than the cost of your morning coffee, simply attach to a flat surface and  ensure your precious bag never touches the floor while you’re out and about.
Image by Pinterest/La vie DIY
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7. Tackle Tough Stains

Sometimes stains can't be avoided, but they can be removed, fast!

Apply a generous amount of plain old corn starch or even baby powder to the stain. Leave for a few hours, and then gently wash it off with some warm water and a cotton bud.

Top Tip: Don't be tempted to scrub the stain because the leather won’t thank you for it.
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8. Don't Forget the Lining

You don’t always have to shell out to give your handbag some much needed TLC.

Use objects you have lying around the house like a cuticle pusher to scrape away any chewing gum or sticky spots. Sticky tape will banish cat hair, while a lint roller quickly picks up any crumbs or fluff. 

Top tip: If your favourite suede bag is looking a bit scuffed and worn out, gently use a nail file to buff it back to life. 

Image by Pinterest/The Neat Method Blog
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9. Store Carefully

Given the amount of stuff we carry everyday, it’s no wonder that our favourite styles can start to lose their shape.

The solution? Stuff your bag between uses with tissue paper, newspaper or even a folded towel.  

Top tip: Store your bags away from direct sunlight or radiator heat to prevent discolouration.
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10. Freshen Up

If you’ve ever accidentally left your lunch or snack in your bag overnight, you’ll be familiar with that lingering smell. 

Freshen things up fast with a little baking powder. Tuck a tub inside with the lid off, then carefully zip up your bag and place in its dust bag overnight.

By morning that unwanted odour should have disappeared.

Image by Pinterest/Lydia Elise Millen
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