If you’ve spent the money on a leather handbag that you hope to keep for life, you need to take care of it to ensure its longevity. Of course, prevention is always better than cure, so take heed of these tips to prevent your designer handbags from getting dirty in the first place:
• Your handbag should not be your pen bag – ink is a pain to clean, even for professionals
• Make sure liquid contents are securely closed (juice, perfume etc.)
• Don’t rest it on the floor or dirty countertops
• Be careful of handling it after using cosmetics
If there are any grease or oil stains to start with, simply wipe them away with a dry cloth (make sure it is clean!). And if you do have any ink stains that are relatively small, you can try using rubbing alcohol: soak a cotton swab or cotton ball with the alcohol and, very gently, rub the ink stain. Make sure that you rub gently because excessive rubbing could essentially push the stain further inwards, making it even harder to remove.
Next, get a spray bottle and fill it with distilled water and a mild soap such as face wash, liquid detergent, or even baby wash – make sure to add just a few drops. Shake the bottle until it is thoroughly mixed and you see suds appear. Spray the solution onto a soft sponge or microfiber cloth (harder materials could scratch the leather and cause further damage), and wipe gently. Wipe with smooth and even strokes, and, to protect the integrity of the leather, go with the grain and not against. Finally, wipe the treated area with a clean, dry cloth to ensure that you’ve soaked up any moisture that may have remained behind.
Before taking any of the steps mentioned above, always do a spot-test before applying the method to the entire bag: choose a spot which is not very visible—like the inside of the strap, for example—and test the cleaning method there to make sure that it doesn’t cause damage.
Frequently wiping your leather designer handbags with baby wipes is a quick and inexpensive way to keep them clean on a regular basis – perhaps keep some in your car.
Avoid cleaning solutions that contain petroleum – it is known to damage leather.
Minor scratches can be touched up with shoe polish; just don’t uses too much as it could cause the leather to stiffen. Be mindful though, that this is a temporary solution as the polish will rub off over time to reveal the scratch that it’s covering up.
If you’re planning on storing your designer handbags for a lengthy period of time, don’t seal them in bags or containers – leather is an animal hide, and as such, it needs air to breathe. Incorrect storage could cause your best bag to dry out and crack. Rather use pillowcases or dustcovers so that the bags remain protected but not smothered.
Leaving bags on concrete floors can promote mildew and exposure to extreme temperatures can also cause damage.