The Art of Handbag Care

Handbags are one of the most essential elements of any wardrobe. Between purses and satchels, we tend to keep all of our useful possessions handy, and our accessories can suffer because of it. Here are a few tips on how you can always keep your bag looking brand new.

Make sure you only handle your bag with clean hands. Touching your face and then your bag right afterwards, for instance, can transfer grease and oils, which will clog leather pores and make cleaning difficult. Handbags are also notorious for harboring a huge amount of bacteria, which can range from E. coli to hepatitis and the flu. Be certain to practice good hygiene and to have your bag cleaned regularly.

If you notice that coloration has transferred from your purse to your clothes or vice versa, immediately contact a dry cleaner with experience handling quality handbags. This is called crocking, and it can occur when dyes come unfixed due to either friction or manufacturing defect. Also consider whether your bag can snag or damage your regular clothing—try to avoid matching pieces with leather and metal embellishments to very delicate garments.

Keep any chemicals that you use inside a secure container so that they don’t drip or spill on the inside of your bag. Because of mixed fabrics, delicate leathers, and temperamental dyes, exposing a piece to any sort of chemical is a big risk. Don’t even attempt spot-cleaning on your own. Leave stains to the professionals.

Be careful with storage. Keeping bags in plastic can dry out leather, but keeping them unprotected can cause them to gather dust. If it’s a special or seasonal piece, considering storing it with your dry cleaner, or else use a dust bag. Stuff it with tissue paper to preserve the shape, and release any tension on straps so that they don’t stretch the piece or create impressions. Most importantly, always consult your dry cleaner to discuss the best approach to caring for your stylish investment.