The Best Ways to Care for Designer Handbags
For so many of us, handbags are must-have accessories we use on the daily. From casual crossbodies to oversized totes, chic wallets on a chain and unique bucket bags, the world of designer handbags is vast. And gorgeous. And fun.
But they aren’t just bags — they’re designer — carefully crafted, creatively designed and highly coveted pieces with extra special places in our hearts, closets and budget. This, and the fact that we should always care for the things we love in life makes it all the more important to show them the proper TLC that they so very deserve. But how?
Ahead, our best tips for caring for your handbag to help make sure your most prized possessions stay in tip-top shape. Whether you’re wearing them out on the town or they’re proudly on display in your closet there are things you can do to give them their best shot at longevity.
Because, as they say, with great handbags comes great responsibility.
How To Keep Your Handbags In Their Best Shape
For handbags with more intricate or delicate silhouettes, using an appropriate bag shaper can help to maintain their structural integrity — but only if you take the right measures when using the bag, too. This means avoiding over-stuffing and weighing down your designer bags with excess stuff, and only carrying the essentials.
Speaking of contents, make sure that any writing utensils are securely capped, lipsticks and cosmetics are properly closed, and if you take a chance by carrying a covered beverage inside — well, that’s pretty much on you. (No judgment of course, just don’t say we didn’t warn you.)
Remember, also, that just because a bag or designer may say it can handle the weight doesn’t mean it should. Even the most expertly crafted bags can, quite literally, snap under pressure.
To keep your handbags in the best shape it’s also important to keep reasonable expectations about a bag’s longevity and durability. Think of it like shoes — if you wear them every day they will wear out quicker and show more signs of wear and damage whereas if you use them sparingly or as part of a rotation, they’ll be a-ok. The same goes for your bag. An “everyday” bag will not look as good three months in as an “occasion” bag will.
How To Clean Your Favorite Handbags
It’s inevitable that even the most well cared for handbags will need some cleaning from time to time which is why it is incredibly important to follow the designers guidance.
And when in doubt, if you’re uncomfortable tackling the task on your own, reach out to the experts. It’s fairly easy to find a local service that will clean your bags for you and many high end designers are able to send your bags out to their preferred vendors for maintenance, cleaning and repairs.
Spot Treat Stains
Time is of the essence when treating a recently acquired stain so you’ll want to tend to any stains quickly and carefully. Only treat the area that needs it and avoid cleaning too large of a surface area to maintain.
Pat, Don’t Rub or Scrub
When cleaning or tending to stains, your approach is just as important as what you use. Be sure that you aren;t using much elbow grease at all and instead are gently patting the area to lift any debris or build up. Never rub and never scrub.
Always Spot Test
Just like they recommend with skincare, before using any products on your bag, always spot test a small area first. Choose a spot that’s out of sight, like the bottom or the side that’s closest to your body when carrying. That way if there’s an adverse reaction at least it’s in a small contained spot and not somewhere super obvious or large.
Take Preventative Measures
Hindsight is always 20/20 but if you find yourself in an unpleasant situation where you need to clean your bag or find it is damaged, it’s a great reminder there are preventative care measures you can take to avoid more grief in the future.
Using specific leather cleaner and moisturizer on your leather, waterproofing bags that can be waterproofed and using other specialty products like suede protector or even UV protectant sprays can help protect your pieces from future mishaps.
Make sure your hands are clean, dry and free of any excess oils before handing your bags, too.
How To Store Your Handbags
Many designer handbags come boxed in lush packaging, dustbags, tissue paper, boxes — the whole nine yards. For most of them, that is also how they should be stored. When it comes to new bags, typically however the store manages bag storage in their stockroom is how you should keep your bags when they aren’t in use. Of course this is an ideal recommendation, but not always super realistic when it comes to closet size, the vastness of your collection, and to be honest, the amount of space you might have in your daily routines to do so.
Don’t stress, though. These are some of the best lower-effort ways to store your handbags if restoring them to their original, freshly wrapped state isn’t always possible (or realistic).
In Their Dustbags
Ideally, any time you place your bag away for safekeeping it would be in its original dust bag. Why? Well, it’s in the name. They protect your bags from dust and debris while also keeping them safe from scratches and scuffs.
And if you don’t have the original dust bag — no worries. Pillowcases work just as good!
Away From Direct Sunlight or Prolonged Indirect Sunlight
Prolonged exposure to sunlight can cause the pigments on your bags to fade whether you have them out in the sun or in a closet near a window.
Sunlight can also cause damage to the material of the bag and potentially the structural integrity, too,since mediums like leather or canvas can dry out from the sun’s rays, losing flexibility and becoming brittle.
And don’t forget, keeping the hardware protected from the sun is important as well to avoid tarnishing, rust, and loss of luster.
In Mild, Cool Temperatures
Extreme heat and extreme cold aren’t your friends when it comes to storing your designer bags. Instead, finding a cool, dry place for all of your bags is the ideal environment to ensure they are comfy and cozy, preventing any temperature or humidity related damage.
Now, you can shop for designer handbags knowing you’re equipped to care for and maintain them for years to come.