How To Keep Your Bags In Good Condition So They Last You A Lifetime

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Knowing how to keep bags in good condition is no rocket science, but sometimes we all need just a bit of reminder about the basics.

It's amazing how handbags have quickly transitioned from mere accessories to a staple in our wardrobe. Most of us are willing to splurge on bags rather than on any other item in our closet. We believe it to be a wise investment and it also helps that they are not trend-bound and can retain their value if you know how to keep bags in good condition. 

And that is the tricky part.

Most of your bags might have makeup-marked linings or worn-our corners or scratches, dust and germs give their overuse. In fact, recent statistics suggest that an average woman's bag is dirtier than the toilet. The study reported that "The dirtiest item in a handbag was found to be face or hand cream, with more bacteria on it than the average toilet seat, closely followed by lipstick and mascara." Eeeks!

Luckily, there are a few steps that can ensure your precious totes are kept in mint condition. 

How to keep bags in good condition

If you think that wiping your handbag with a damp cloth can keep it clean, you'll be highly mistaken. There is more to maintaining handbags than just that. Scroll down to see the steps on how to keep bags in good condition. 

1. Wash the lining 

Begin by emptying the contents of your bag and shake it gently to get rid of any debris. Pull out the lining if possible and with a dry cloth clean clean the fabric. If you can't pull out the lining, use the fabric brush attachment of your vacuum cleaner to such out the debris.

However, if the lining comes out completely then clean it a wet soapy sponge dunked in liquid detergent and water. This solution can also remove lipstick and lip liner stains from your handbag. At this point, make sure that you do not overly wet the linings of your leather bag.  

Now either air dry the lining or sit it out overnight in an open space or in front of the air conditioner's vent. For quick results use your hairdryer.  

For lingering odours in your bag we recommend that you open a box of baking soda and spread it inside. Place the bag in a pillow case and leave it out for 24 hours. And viola! Your bag will smell as fresh as new. 

2. Clean the bag according to its fabric

Suede. In order to clean the bag from the outside you'll have to work according to the fabric. For instance, cleaning a suede bag is particularly tricky because it is delicate and fades in sunlight. So begin by rubbing a clean, dry towel on the surface to get rid of water marks or dust. 

Get a suede rubbing brush (you can find them at a leather store near you). This will clean debris off the bag and help to restore the smooth appearance of the bag.

Finally, for all the stubborn marks use a soft pencil eraser or a fine grade sandpaper to gently rub the stain off the bag. You can also use a stale bread to rub stubborn marks off the suede bag. 

Leather. Ideally you should start caring for your leather bags the day you buy them. But if you haven't, worry not.You can still salvage them. Get your hands on leather protection cream or treatment and apply it once every two to three months.  

Wipe your bag with warm, soapy water once every week and avoid using too much water. Remember to never use any home remedy like vinegar or baking soda to wipe clean a leather bag. Many of these products are strong and can cause more damage to the leather skin. However, for oil stains, you can leave them covered with baby powder overnight. 

For other stubborn stains take your bag to a professional and always make sure you store your bag inside a dust bag and stuff it with newspaper so it doesn't loose its shape.   


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Patent. Your patent bag is more durable that your leather bag but it might be plagued by the issue of colour transfer. So in order to keep it in good condition, make sure you avoid touching it with any other surface.

Always keep it in a dustbag and stuff it with a newspaper so it maintains its shape. As for cleaning, wipe off any dust or debris with a clean and dry cloth. And for stubborn stains you can use a glass cleaner on some cloth and gently rub them off.  

Straw and fabric. For your straw and fabric bags, you can first wipe any dust or debris off them with a slightly wet cloth. If its a canvas bag you can wash them with your laundry in the washing machine in the tumble setting.

If your bag has leather parts attached to its exterior, use a mixture of liquid soap and water to clean the stubborn stains.   

For your jute bags, you can use an upholstery brush or a vacuum cleaner. It will remove dust that can get collected in the crevices of the bag. For really bad stains, prepare a solution of mild soap and water and use your toothbrush to clean the crevices.  

3. Store it properly 

Storing your bag is just as important as cleaning it as it ensures a longer shelf-life. So begin from inside out. Always make sure that you store small items such as your makeup or stationary in small pouches before you shove them in your bag. 

When not in use, stuff your bag with a newspaper or an unused cloth so it doesn't loose its shape. Leather, patent and suede especially tend to lose their shape if kept without any stuffing. 

Another important way of keeping your bags in good condition is knowing where to keep your bag. Don't store them in places that are too cold, or too hot or too humid. It can cause leather, suede and fabric bags to develop mold and lose their softness and eve scratch. Keep them in dustbags when you are not using them. 


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Also, make sure that you have a dedicated shelf for your bags so you can store them properly. Don't just haphazardly shove them anywhere. Instead, line them up neatly as that not only keeps your closet neat and clean, but also makes it easier for you to grab them when on the go.  

If your bag has a chain handle, keep the handle inside and line it up against the others with just a bit of space in between and you're done.

Knowing how to keep bags in good condition is no rocket science, but sometimes we just need a bit of reminder. And this is just that. Our bags also need a bit of TLC because they go through a lot and if you love your bags just as much as we do, we're sure you'll be willing to go the extra mile. 

(Feature & lead image courtesy: Maxpixel)

Written by

Deepshikha Punj