Keep Your Favorite Handbags and Purses Looking Like New - The Purse Ladies
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Keep Your Favorite Handbags and Purses Looking Like New

Keep Your Favorite Handbags and Purses Looking Like New

There will be some things in life you care for like they’re your children: pets, cars, and designer purses, to name a few. We don’t judge.

A luxury bag is an investment that requires proper love and care to maintain its good looks and longevity–a little bit like us. We’ve put together an easy-to-follow care guide for your handbag collection.

These tips are especially important if you plan on carrying your purses for years, passing them down to a relative, or have typed “sell my designer bag near me” into Google a few times. Here’s how to keep your designer handbags in the best shape possible.

Know the Material

How you care for your handbags will vary by the material. Whether your favorite purse is leather, lambskin, or canvas, knowing the textile makeup is critical to giving them the treatment they deserve. In addition to the body of your bag, you should get familiar with the straps, claps, linings, or decorations, as these may be different and require alternative care.

If you are working with vintage designer bags or other preloved designer bags that don’t have a tag with that material information, take some time to research your purse and find what fabrics the designer leans towards. From here, cleaning and caring for your bag will be different depending on the fabric style.


Canvas is a free-spirited, low-maintenance fabric that loves to go with the flow. Canvas bags have a relatively straightforward care process. While they aren’t waterproof like many leather bags, their lightweight construction and creative patterns can give them a personality almost as fun as yours.

Keeping your canvas bag away from liquids is one key to caring for your bag. Any spilled drinks opened makeup products, or even an uncapped pen can seep into the woven threads of the fabric, causing stains or lingering smells.

If staining does occur, spot cleaning is your safest bet. A damp cloth or soft sponge with a bit of soap or stain remover rubbed gently on the affected area does the trick. It’s essential not to use harsh detergents or rub too aggressively as the fabric, although sturdy, isn’t made for abrasive treatment. It’s best to address stains as soon as possible so they don’t soak in and set into the fabric.


The queen of purse materials, leather, knows she’s a classy lady. As such, she requires a little more maintenance and a bit of special treatment. The extra effort will be worth it when your leather handbag shines on her next outing.

Leather conditioners and soaps are specially formulated to care for the unique needs of this sturdy fabric. Investing in good care products is similar to spending money on quality skincare. We don’t want to get wrinkles and crepey skin, and since leather is an organic animal product, we need to treat it with the same care.

Patent leather, or in other words, super shiny leather, can be buffed out to keep it looking spick and span. While some patent leather bags come with a polishing cloth, if yours doesn’t, they aren’t hard to find online. Keeping a cloth in your bag is handy for when you have a bit of time in your taxi, on the train, or in an airport terminal to give your bag a little TLC.

Raw or unfinished leather is more delicate and needs more care. We recommend taking your raw leather handbags to a cobbler or other leather specialist. Although they may be durable, the material itself can be very sensitive. Anytime you see some dirt or dust on your bag, gently brush it away with a soft cloth to help keep your purses looking clean and prevent debris from piling up.


Lambskin is the unique it-girl who is always on trend and stands out. In true diva fashion, lambskin has very particular care instructions that are crucial to your bag's longevity.

First and foremost, unlike many types of leather, your lambskin bag is not waterproof. Like having a full face of makeup in the rain, water is public enemy number one to lambskin.

There are waterproofing sprays and spreads on the market, but your standard box store product is probably not right for your bag and could damage your purse permanently. A silicone-free water protector formulated especially for delicate leathers can help protect your bag, but this isn't a free pass to take to the SeaWorld splash zone.


You can often clean any bits and pieces of your metal handbag with a quick wipe of a cloth. Thankfully, there usually won’t be many structural weaknesses or finicky bits to maintain. A slight buff here and there and a gentle wipe or two can typically keep these pieces shiny and looking new.

All around care

Regardless of your bag's material, there are some universal laws of purse care that you should always follow to preserve and protect your accessories for as long as possible.

Proper storage

The dust bag your purse comes with is actually pretty important. When not in use, your handbag should live in its dust bag to protect it from, well, dust. Additionally, you should store your bag away from direct sunlight, which can bleach or fade leathers or dyes. Storing bags in a room with a pretty consistent temperature also helps maintain the structural integrity of purse materials. Not too hot, not too cold, Goldilocks.

Staying in shape

Bags with a rigid structure need some help maintaining their shape as they age. While we can’t send them to the gym, we can use hard bag inserts when they aren’t in use. These prevent your bags from sagging in on themselves when under the pressure of a closed drawstring dust bag or simply from gravity. These purse posture correctors can keep your bag standing tall, no matter how long you’ve had it.

Roster rotation

We’re always looking for an excuse to buy a new bag, and as it turns out, getting additional bags helps maintain the ones you have. A key aspect of bag care is giving them a break when necessary. Shelving a bag after a good stretch of frequent use prevents too much wear and tear and lets you show off all of the purses in your collection.