You may be a bag lady, à la Carrie Bradshaw from Sex and the City, or a level-headed, penny pincher who just found the perfect handbag in the right size, either way, chances are you would want to make your precious handbag(s) to last long. After all, a good handbag is not just a fashion accessory but a carryall for all your essentials. So keep your handbags looking good as new with these 10 easy hacks:
- Give Material-specific Care
According to the material of your handbag, you would need to care for it. Some of the materials which are commonly used to make handbags are leather, faux leather, polyester, nylon, canvas, suede, vinyl, and cotton. And all of these materials require different kinds of care.
For example, for a leather or suede handbag, you need to apply an appropriate leather/suede protector to protect your bag from stains and moisture. Similarly, you must use a fabric protector for delicate and ‘Dry Clean Only’ fabrics like silk or wool.
- Protect the Handbag Lining
As they say, what’s inside counts as much as the outside. Keep the lining of your purse in a pristine condition by using a bag organizer (aka purse caddy) inside your handbag. This would not only ensure that the lining of your bag stays put but whenever you need to change your bags for the day, you can simply lift the bag organizer (with all your things in it) from one bag to the other effortlessly.
If you are carrying bottled liquids in your purse, ensure that the cap is firmly closed. Make sure you carry capped pens instead of the retractable kinds and keep all stationery (including pointy pencils) in a neat pouch inside your bag. For make-up, you can carry it in a neat little box or pouch.
- Give your Bag a Regular Clean
When it comes to maintaining your bag, cleaning your bag regularly goes without saying. However, how regularly you clean your bag depends directly on the amount of usage. As always, before washing your bag, you must consider the material that it is made up.
While you may be able to handwash your cotton or nylon bag, you must give your leather handbag to a professional for a clean. In most cases, a quick wipe with a damp cloth and airing out the bag to remove malodors would suffice.
- Don’t Put your Bag on the Floor
As the ancient Chinese saying goes, “a purse on the floor is money out the door”. There are several valid reasons why you must never put your bag on the floor. One, floors are usually teeming with dust and grime which will make your handbag dirty within short periods of use.
Two, someone can always trip or fall over your bag (hurting herself/himself in the process) or end up dropping something heavy on your bag, crushing it in the process. Three, your bag has higher chances of being disfigured by the elements when it is lying down (lit cigarette stubs, water spills…you get the drift).
- Store them Properly
If you are not using your handbags every day, store them in an upright position in your closet or in any cool, dry and dark place. It would be best to keep them in a handbag case they came in or even your cotton pillowcase if that is not available.
Keep them just like the retailers do by filling them up with tissues or foam to maintain their shape. You can also use clean old rags or acid-free tissues for the same purpose. Do remember to close the zips, remove any detachable straps before storing them away.
- Don’t Overstuff your Bags
Never stuff your bags beyond their capacity as it may not only spoil the shape of your bag but can also end up damaging it permanently.
For example, if you overfill a leather handbag, it may cause the leather to stretch irreversibly and cause it to lose its form. Similarly, the fibres of a cotton bag can weaken and the bag can eventually tear if it is stuffed beyond its capacity.
- Proceed With Caution While Removing Stains
Different stains need different treatment and it is always a good idea to spot care for any stain instead of washing the whole bag.
For a food stain, let white chalk powder sit over the stain for 8-10 hours and then brush it off. An oil stain can be removed by immediately rubbing in corn starch on it, and then brushing it off without letting it sit on the stain. Ink stain can be removed with a white eraser. However, if the ink has seeped inside the bag, you may need to give it to a professional for a clean.
- Keep your Hands Clean
Avoid touching your bag with soiled hands to prevent staining it. Be especially careful when you are eating with hands; organic matter deposited on your bag can eventually lead to a stink or even microbial growth which can be damaging to your bag. The lesser chemicals and products you use on your bag for cleaning it, the longer it will last.
- Sunlight and Moisture are your Bag’s Biggest Enemies
Never let your bag stay under direct sunlight as the sun can weaken the fibers of your bag and will give a frayed appearance to it sooner than usual.
This means that even when you’re basking in the sunshine; make sure you keep your bag is hanging in the shade. Moisture is another thing you must keep away from your bag. In the case of accidental spillage, wipe off your bag with a towel and then hang or keep it in the shade to air-dry.
10.Maintain the Metal Straps, Handles or Accessories
Keep the metal straps, handles or accessories of your bag shiny by using a metal shine liquid to clean it. You can also wipe it with a lightly damp cloth and then dry it using a lint-free tissue or soft cloth.
Avoid brushing the metal surfaces against hard surfaces as that may lead to scratches or even breakage. Never pull the zippers forcefully or try to force them to a close to ensure their sublime functioning.
Hope these tips help you keep your favourite handbags in tip top form! If you have any other tips to add or questions to ask, let us know in the comments below!