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Do's And Don'ts of Caring For Your Bags: Part One

by Richard Zakroff on February 08, 2017

Shopping around for the perfect designer bag can be an exciting experience, but caring for and maintaining it is another story. Designer handbags are an investment, and one that must be protected and maintained in order to ensure they hold their value. Making sure your bags stay in the condition in which they reached you is especially important when touting bags that were previously owned. Though second-hand bags can be a huge money saver for those of us on a budget, they come with a history that we often don’t know much about.

It’s hard not to hastily whisk away your bag as soon as it leaves the shelves or arrives at your doorstepbut before taking it out to brunch with you, there are some measures you can take to avoid ruining it before it forever carries the stain of those delicious mid-morning mimosas. Here are some DO’s for caring for your bags that will help you to prevent or fix any accidental or inevitable damage.

DO: Treat the material

There are many ways to care for your bags inside and out, and each bag requires its own special treatment. If you’re unsure where to start, follow these general rules of thumb about proper bag maintenance.

  • FOR LEATHER BAGS: Use leather cleaner to clean and protect the leather exterior of your bag—and don’t forget the handles and tags! Make sure to follow the directions on the package or bottle of leather cleaner to get the best results.
  • FOR SUEDE BAGS: Use water and oil repellant to deter any liquids from penetrating the delicate surface. It’s important to always test the mixture on a small sample of the bag to make sure it reacts well with the material and doesn’t cause any discoloration or deterioration.
  • FOR HARDWARE: Protect the hardware on your bag by not allowing sharp objects or other hardware from scratching against it. Keep clasps, rings, and other metal parts away from zippers and other sharp objects to avoid surface scratches or permanent damage. If you do find a scratch, buff it out and then coat the metal with a protectant for the future!
Metal Feet on Handbag
  • FOR THE BOTTOM: If your bag doesn’t already have metal feet on the bottom, consider having them installed. These will help to keep your bag from directly touching any potentially dirty surfaces, and away from being scratched or stained.

DO: Store properly

In order to maintain their shape, your handbags should always be stored in an upright position, with the straps crossed over one another to avoid sagging. Try stuffing them with scarves, tissue paper, or a handbag insert made specifically for this purpose. Never throw your bags in a heap on the floor or at the bottom of your closet—instead, line them up nicely with plenty of space to breathe. Tight, confined, or damp places often promote the growth of mold and mildew, so be sure to cover or wrap them loosely in a cotton pillow case to keep them dry and safeguard against the buildup of moisture.

DO: Keep up with regular preventative maintenance

After having your bag for some time, you may find that you begin to neglect doing all of the things that helped to keep your bag in the condition it is. Don’t forget basic bag etiquette:

Don’t touch or handle your bag if your hands are dirty, wet, or contain traces of harmful chemicals that may damage the finish or coloring of your bag. Avoid placing it on the floor, ground, or rough surfaces that could scratch the exterior. To keep the inside pristine, try not to overfill your bag with clunky objects, or throw in sharp or explosive ones, such as pens or food. (We’ve got you covered on all the handbag essentials for each occasion or special event in an upcoming post—so make sure you check back to see what you’re missing!)

In part two of this topic, we’ll go over all the DON’Ts of bag care and maintenance that will not only save your bag from any possible damages, but also save you from the headache of not handling those damages correctly.