How to take care of your handbag: Becoming an expert in leather cleaning

So you finally took the plunge and bought that luxury bag you've been dreaming of? Congratulations! The next step is to take care of it on a daily basis so that it follows you on your adventures with all the sparkle it deserves. Here are some tips on how to look after your handbag.

Use the right products

It can't be said often enough: when it comes to looking after your bag, using the right products is half the battle. For luxury bags, made of noble materials, you can turn to natural or specialised products, but always make sure to test them on a less visible part first. Each texture has its own cleaning solution: for leather, a specific spray or a cleansing milk are most suitable. For suede, you can opt for montmorillonite clay, a very effective stain remover. Finally, for the metal buckles that are used on the Fendi Baguette or the Gucci Marmont, among others, a mixture made from baking soda diluted in a little water will work wonders. To avoid spreading it everywhere, you can use a Q-tip.

Watch out for far-fetched advice found on online forums: you can try out home remedies when you've stained a pair of jeans, but experimenting new methods to make your Chanel bag shine is definitely not an option! Vintega has built up a strong expertise when it comes to maintaining women's bags, so don't hesitate to contact us if you need guidance on the right way to go.

Cleaning the outside of your bag

The outside of your handbag is the part that everyone will see when you wear it with pride, so it's the part that needs to be maintained with the most care. How often you clean it depends on how you use it: if it's your favourite bag and you carry it with you every day, you should make sure it's cleaned on a weekly basis; if it shares the limelight with your other luxury bags, you can space out the cleaning a little. 

For routine cleaning, opt for baby wipes: as long as they're alcohol-free and fragrance-free, they're as gentle on your leather goods as they are on mini fashion enthusiasts. To avoid streaking, wipe the entire bag in small circular motions without rubbing. Take extra care when cleaning contact areas such as the bottom and handles, which tend to attract dirt more easily. On these parts, you can use cotton wool with a little cleansing milk to give a good clean and shine.

If your clutch or handbag has a more visible stain, use one of the products mentioned above (do not use water on leather!) with a microfibre cloth. This type of cloth is delicate enough to remove small stains without altering the color of the leather. Do not apply any product directly onto the material: spray a little special leather cleaner on the cloth and gently dab your luxury handbag without pressing on any particular area. With a simple tissue, remove the excess product and let it dry in the open air.

For suede, a soft bristle brush will remove dust without damaging the surface. In case of stubborn stains, you can use montmorillonite clay in addition to the brush. It's great for removing grease stains, and it will also freshen up your bag. Simply dust it on the stained areas and leave for an hour before brushing gently to remove the excess. Your handbag will be as good as new!

Taking care of the inside of the bag

The inside of your handbag is your secret garden, where you keep your wallet, your lip balm and your spare pair of socks. But that's no reason not to keep it clean! Once or twice a month (depending on how often you use your bag), start by emptying it of its contents and turning it upside down to remove any small dust particles. You can use a lint roller and gently rub any stained areas with a damp microfiber cloth. And do us (and all those who buy second-hand bags) a favour: PUT THE CAP BACK on that pen you just used to sign an autograph (or was it a petition?) in the street.

Don't forget to inspect any protruding threads as well. If the lining is damaged, your entire handbag could be damaged by an object lying in it. Also, checking that there are no holes in the stitching will prevent you from blaming your sister next time you can't find a missing piece of jewellery! 

Calling in a professional is not a bad idea

You probably would not consider getting out your toolbox when your shoe sole is damaged or your carpentry needs repairing. Well, when it comes to maintaining your luxury handbag, you should also know when it is time to call in a professional. 
If your fashion accessory has a more noticeable stain – ink and oil-based make-up products are the most common culprits – don't try to clean it yourself. You should get help from a shoemaker or leather craftsman right away, who will either recommend the right products or handle the problem himself. 

The same applies to small snags on the leather or the strap, which should be repaired by a professional. Damaged corners are also an emergency situation that requires the intervention of a craftsman.

If your luxury handbag does not come back to life thanks to the expert hands of your shoemaker, you can always visit Vintega's online shop: you will easily find consolation among the selection of second-hand bags on offer!

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