Cleaning Tips

Handbags & Purses

Protect your designer, vintage, and high-quality handbags from everyday wear and tear. Bags and purses are made from many different materials, but all can be safely dry cleaned with GreenEarth solution. We recommend that you utilize a leather care specialist. A list of leather care specialists is available on our Store Locator. The proprietary ingredients utilized by these professionals are designed to produce the ultimate in gentle, natural skin cleaning, and they offer a wide range of specialized expertise to help you keep your leather purse looking like new - from waterproofing and replenishing natural oils to re-dyeing leathers to repairing and altering.

Everyday care

  • Be mindful of where you set your bag down. The floor of your car, the kitchen counter, and shopping carts at the grocery store could soil it before you even notice.
  • Don't use your bag as a portable desk if you need to write a check or a quick note—the pen may bleed through and stain your bag, and the pressure from the pen point can leave permanent indentions, especially in leather.
  • Check that makeup containers, lotions, perfumes etc are tightly closed before you toss them in your bag. Use makeup cases or small pouches to hold these items and give your bag an extra layer of protection in case of a leak.
  • If you have several bags you like to use regularly, consider buying a removable bag liner. Not only does it make switching all of your items from one bag to the next a quick and easy process, but it also protects the inside of your bag from crumbs, leaks, pen marks, and other potential hazards.
  • If you store your purse in a file cabinet or desk drawer at work, keep it in a pillowcase so it doesn't get scratched by sharp edges or splinters.
  • Don't carry your favorite bag in bad weather—rain and snow can damage leather or leave watermarks. If you can't avoid it, keep it protected under your umbrella.
  • Avoid taking your best bags to places with heavy smoke, like bars and clubs. The smell will stick and light colored bags will become dingy over time.

Storage

  • Many women switch their bags according to the season. When not in use, stuff bags with bubble wrap to help them keep their shape. Try to avoid newspaper and tissue—they can attract moths, and newsprint ink may stain the inside of the bag if left for a long time.
  • Undo any buckles or fasteners to prevent permanent kinking in the material.
  • Store bags in a cool, dry place in a breathable dust cover or pillowcase. Do not store them in plastic.

Metal buckles and embellishments

  • If the gold or silver on your bag starts to lose its shine, a soft cloth with jewelry cleaner should do the trick.
  • If the hardware is brass, use brass cleaner.

Cleaning

  • Condition leather bags monthly if they are used heavily.
  • Do not use leather conditioner or cleaner on suede bags—purchase a suede brush from a leather specialty store and use it to gently rub away any marks.
  • Cotton and cotton-poly blends can be spot cleaned at home. See our “Stain Removal” section for directions on specific stains. Do not put the bag in your washing machine.
  • Snakeskin is different from leather—do not attempt to clean at home. Take it to a dry cleaner.
  • To remove odors, fill a small open jar or container with baking soda and let it sit in the bottom of the bag for a few days.
  • Take handbags to the dry cleaner for cleaning once a season, or more if they are stained or soiled.

Antiques

  • Antique and vintage handbags are more delicate because of their age, and may require more cleaning.

Metal mesh purses

  • Be gentle when handling, as chain links may have deteriorated and could break or unhook.
  • Simply wiping with a soft, damp cloth can remove years of oil and grime from a mesh handbag.
  • Use extra fine steel wool to gently buff frames and solid metal accents.
  • Blow dry when finished.
  • To restore luster and shine, use silver or brass cleaner.

Rhinestone purses

  • If the rhinestones are dingy or losing their sparkle, wipe them with a soft, damp cloth and a little bit of dish soap. If this doesn't work, try glass cleaner.
  • To clean the lining, use a clean, damp toothbrush and gentle detergent, like Ivory Snow. Use gentle circular motions to clean.