5 Ways to Care For, Clean and Restore Your Designer Handbags

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Joan Crawford famously said, “Care for your clothes, like the good friends they are” and good friends they are indeed – but it turns out that the handbag can become a bit of a money maker if you care for it correctly.

READ MORE: These Bags Were Everywhere at Fashion Week

Luxury handbags have become one of the most sought after items to buy and sell on the preowned market, rising in value by an average of 8% a year over the last decade – outperforming the price of gold.

Handbag Clinic co-founder, Charlotte Staerck says, “Since we opened the doors to our store in 2015, we’ve seen a seismic shift in the marketplace with cult and vintage preloved handbags fetching higher prices than ever – they are seen as collector’s items and, in the face of Brexit uncertainty, a sound investment.”

Handbag restoration chandbag cleaning products stain prevention
Handbag Clinic

The ‘will love forever’ mantra implemented by fashion savvy shoppers over the past few years is on the rise.

When it comes to sourcing the wardrobe heroes intended to last longer, quality has now become a key factor in our shopping habits, and with the Cash-in-the-Attic-style incentive, it’s vital these investment buys are cared for in the right way.

Whether you’re investing in a designer bag or a bag for life, how you treat your purchase counts. Making a conscious effort to make things last will ultimately have an impact on the planet as well as your pocket.

READ MORE: 5 Ways to Stop Black Jeans From Fading

Thankfully there are many tips and tricks on hand to keep, save and sustain your beloved arm candy.

Here are five steps to help keep your bag in tip-top condition.

Prevention

Prevention is key to keeping your beautiful new purchase good as new. 

It’s easy to get over excited about your brand spanking new bag and head on out without protecting it against accidental stains and spillages, but it’s worth taking the time to do so.

Treat your beloved bag with a protection spray suitable for the fabric of your bag. By using a prevention spray you will be creating an invisible barrier over your suede or leather bag repelling liquids, mud, dirt and spills as well as water, alcohol and oils even harmful UV rays.

Premium handbag protector spray, prevent stains, spillage and damage to handbags.

Liquiproof Premium Protector, £15, Fairfax & Favour – buy now

Mulberry Carbon Lite Leather Protection spray. Water resistant, prevents dirt penetration and UV filter to prevent fading from sunlight

Carbon lite leather protection spray, £14, Mulberry from John Lewis – buy now

Water based leather protector spray for body oil, dye transfer, grease and liquid staining prevention

Dermo Protect, £14.95, Handbag Spa – buy now

Storing 

It’s important to keep in mind where and how you store your bag when not in use. 

Dust bags are the perfect way to keep your bag clean, dust free, protected from daylight which can cause fading and avoid any accidental scuffs. 

If your purchase didn’t come with a dust bag, check out these stylish options that will look chic while your bag stays safe.

Velvet pouch with drawstring perfect for storing handbags and other small goods

Velvet drawstring bag, £11.80, Cosy Aurora from Etsy – buy now

Personalised dust bag, £5, LRM – buy now

Organic cotton drawstring dust bag for handbags and belongings. Natural undyed and unbleached sustainably sourced fabric bag

Organic cotton dust bag, £12, Alli Atelier from Wolf & Badger – buy now

READ MORE: The Only Designer Bags You Need to Know About in 2021

Cleaning

You may have taken preventative measures to ensure your bag lives a long and healthy life, but the upkeep will be vital to extending its lifespan.

Be wary of home remedies and wipes that could make things worse and cause further damage with their ingredients which can often include harmful chemicals.

It’s also wise to take care and go gently with solutions, creams and sprays, always following the instructions provided as fabrics will differ and the effect the products have will depend on the materials in your bag.

Deep cleaning bag care product suitable for leather, patent and vinyls. Recyclable plastic container

Leather cleaner, £10, Kate Spade – buy now

Handbag Clinic fabric care kit includes fabric cleaner, fabric protector and cleaning clothes

Fabric Care Kit, £19.95, Handbag Clinic from Harrods – buy now

Maintain perfect bag condition with three stage cleaning system. Includes bag cleanser, conditioner and protector. All natural

Pedag Cleaning Compilation, £32.99, Sarah Haran – buy now

For fashion advice and general chit-chat, join our Facebook group What To Wear Next.

Wear Next may receive a small commission if you click a link from one of our articles onto a retail website and make a purchase.

Caring 

It’s a handbag crime many of us are guilty of, but hanging your handbag will diminish the shape of the straps and can cause mishaps and malfunctions. 

If possible, store your bag (in a dust bag) on a shelf stuffing it with something soft like bubble wrap or old clothes to help keep the shape you fell in love with.

READ MORE: 9 Pairs of Cosy PJs to Get You into the Christmas Spirit

Restore, sell, buy handbags via Handbag Clinic
Courtesy of Handbag Clinic

Restoring

Thanks to so many talented handbag restorers now available, such as The Handbag Clinic, The Restory and Bag Spa to name a few, it’s easy to breathe new life into an old love if you haven’t taken perfect care of it.

From a quick clean up to a full blown makeover, these talented hands will restore your bag, giving it a new lease of life to wear or pass on and celebrating the fashion circle of life that’s so important to the way we shop and wear out fashion finds.