Dollsbags Blog

Cleaning and Caring For Your New Designer Handbag.

Posted on: November 14, 2008

Bolzano Handbags at

Bolzano Handbags at

Here at one of the most frequent questions that our customers often ask us is: “Do you have any tips for cleaning and taking care of my new designer handbag?” As a matter of fact, we do!

Now that you have received your new designer handbag, you’ll want to to take care of it so it always looks as good as the day you bought it.  Sometimes this is harder to do than one might think.  Why?  Because handbags get abused.  They end up on the floor, under the table, in resteraunts.  They get thrown across the front seat of vehicles.  Makeup spills and perfume disasters happen all too often.  Dust, dirt, grime, grease, pen marks, fading, water, environment, and a host of other things can quickly ruin your nice new expensive purse.  So what’s a gal to do?  Take a few precautions and learn to clean and care for your new bag like it was a piece of jewelry, many cost as much (if not more) than a fine diamond necklace.

Lets start with some tips:

  • When not in use, store your purse in its dust cover. This will protect it and keep it from fading. If you are concerned with the bag holding it’s shape, loosely stuffing it with tissues will help.  Be careful not to over-stuff it though as doing so may cause it to stretch.  A soft pillow case also makes a good dust cover.
  • Use a handbag organizer or bag liner. We have handbag organizers made by The Cherry Brand in various colors and sizes.  A handbag organizer will keep the interior of your purse free from those cosmetic and makeup disaster and, as an added benefit, make it very easy to switch all the contents of your purse to a tote or another purse in one easy step.
  • Be careful about where you put your handbag at work. Desk drawers are notorious for tearing or putting puncture holes in your expensive purse.  Thumbtacks, splinters, and sharp metal edges are all of your handbag’s enemies.
  • Use a Purse Hanger. Purse handgers are all the rage these days ladies!  It keeps your handbag off the dirty floor and can be used almost anywhere that there is a firm ledge to hold your purse.  This includes: resteraunt tables, desks, dressers, the neighborhood bar, nightstands, shelves, and more.  Floors and bathroom stalls are terrible for your bag and a breeding ground for bacteria.
  • Rain and water are bad for your bag. There are many good water repellent and leather cleaning products out there on the market these days. It is always preferable to wipe off a wet leather handbag immediately.  But if that is not possible for some reason, allow a wet or damp leather handbag to dry naturally in ambient room air temperatures, away from any heat sources.
  • Condition that leather. More often than not, your new designer bag has not been treated.  A leather handbag is no different than any other fine leather product on the market these days.  It deserves even more attention, so treat it with a high quality leather conditioner.  Doing so will keep it soft and pliable, which is very important so the leather doesn’t dry out or become brittle over time and exposure to the elements. Piel Leather Conditioner works well but there are many other wonderful leather conditioners out there.  Apply the product evenly (to the cloth first – not directly on the bag) and be sure not to miss any spots.  Make sure your handbag is clean prior to conditioning it.  Which leads us to the next topic…
  • Cleaning your designer handbag. Never ever use household cleaners or chemicals to clean leather!  Only use cleaners designed for leather materials.  Purchase a high quality leather cleaner and follow the directions exactly.
  • Mildew loves leather! Do your best to keep your new expensive designer bag out of high humidity environments.  Bringing your handbag into a steamy bathroom after a hot shower is always a bad idea.  If you need your cosmetics and they are inside your purse, throw them into a small cosmetic case and bring that into the bathroom instead.
  • Clean the inside of your purse. If your purse has a satin lining, a damp sponge and mild soap will work well.  Be careful with the pens and pencils.  Your cell phone can very easily transfer dirt to the interior of your bag, along with makeup that is not closed properly.  Don’t just toss the makeup into the bottom of your purse.  Get a small plastic soft-sided case to hold those essentials instead.
  • Clean the exterior of your purse. Ever watch your hubby wax the car? Don’t apply cleaners like that!  Remember to test your cleaner in an inconspicuous area before applying it to your bag.  In this way, you can be sure that it will not harm the material.  If you are unsure or uncomfortable cleaning your handbag, take it to a professional. Lovinmybags has some excellent cleaners and conditioners.  They even do handbag restorations.  Apple Leather Care products work very well too.

You can keep your expensive designer handbag looking “good as new” by following these small tips.  It really is amazing what some women put their handbags through.  A designer handbag is an investment.  You have worked hard to acquire one.  Treat it well and it will last you for years to come.

Every handbag reflects it’s owner in some form or fashion.  It reflects your individual tastes and personality.

What does your handbag say about you?


9 Responses to "Cleaning and Caring For Your New Designer Handbag."

This is such good advice, too bad I didn’t look for it before i really needed to know. Water spilled, or my handbag sat in water… wiped it off with dry cloth. Today it smells like a dead animal. It there any help?

Hi Heidi,

If it is the inside of the bag that smells of mildew from the water, place some baking soda in a small letter sized envelope, roughly 1/4 full, leave the envelope open and place it standing up inside the handbag for a few days to help absorb the mildew odor. Be sure the baking soda doesn’t spill into the handbag though. After a few days, the baking soda should have absorbed the mildew smell.

RI74hS Thanks for good post

Great tips as always, I always fail to take care of my designer hand bags.

Hi, Thanks for the great tips for keeping handbags looking nice. I have severak expensive leather bags, of course not all get rotated consistently. Was just giving my closet a fall cleaning and found that one bag has mildew stains in the interior pockets, but not outside. Can I use vinegar to clean and then your tip about the baking soda for smell? Also – have a really nice leather coat with similar problem. thanks for your help

Hi Sue,

Thank you for posting your question. I would refrain from using vinegar. I was told about a trick by a good friend once who wanted to remove mildew spots from the interior of an expensive Coach purse, and it worked. Empty the purse completely and try scrubbing the mildew with unscented, non-lotion baby wipes. Afterwards, be sure to leave the bag open to air dry and leave it in a well lit room. Mildew grows in damp dark places and a sunlit room for a couple days should stop it from coming back. If you need to store it again in the closet, put one of those small silica gel packages in it to absorb any moisture. As far as the smell goes, you can use baking soda but just make sure it is in something that won’t spill inside the bag. I have also had customers tell me that a dryer sheet works well too. Hope that helps!


Thanks Doll, you’re a “Doll” I will try the baby wipes – it’s hard down here in Florida to keep dampness at bay – I’ll never throw those silica gel packs away again!!! You wouldn’t know where u can buy some of those, do you?

Again – thanks – You’re a Doll !

Oh my goodness, I know! FL is wonderful but it is so humid. I am from TX originally and it was so dry there. One of our two distribution centers is right here in FL, along with our offices. We spend a lot of money on A/C and humidity control in our warehouses, but its worth it so our customers get their purchases in perfect condition.

Sue, try this place for the silica gel packs. I couldn’t send the place we use because they only sell in volumes of 10,000 or more and I don’t think you have that many purses! 🙂

Great chatting with you!!

Help!! My Margherita spilled into the interior of my Coach bag that has a silk lining. What an odor–how do I clean my bag? It literally saturated the entire inside of the bag. 😦

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