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Handbag Cleaning 101

The Martha Stewart Show, September 2007

It's amazing how the handbag has gone from just an accessory to a staple in a woman's wardrobe. We all love our handbags and, depending on how much money you spend, they can become a real investment. That's why it's important to care for your bag properly to ensure that it has a long life. Periodic cleaning and correct storage will keep your bag looking like new.

Cleaning Your Handbag How-To
1. Empty all pockets and shake gently to remove dust and debris.

2. Clean interior of bag by gently pulling it inside out and using a lint roller. If you can't pull out the lining of your handbag, you can use the fabric brush attachment on your vacuum.

3. Clean exterior of leather bag with alcohol free baby wipes.

Tips for Extending the Life of Your Handbag
1. If there is a big stain, don't try to clean it yourself. Take it to a leather expert as soon as possible.

2. If your handbag does not have "feet" on the bottom, you can have them added by a leather-care expert. Feet protect the bottom of the bag from scratches and dirt.

Tips for Keeping the Interior Clean
1. Never put a pen in your purse without a cap on it.

2. Keep makeup in a separate makeup bag.

Tips for Handbag Storage
1. Handbags can be hung on a hook for a few days, but any longer puts too much strain on the straps.

2. Fill handbags loosely with balls of tissue paper to help keep the shape; stiff bags don't need this.

3. Put handbag in the storage bag it came with. If it didn't come with a roomy drawstring sack then make one out of cotton or use a pillow case.

4. Ideally, handbags would be stored in cubbies built into your closet, but you can also store them in baskets or bins made of plastic-coated wire. Stand them upright or lay them down and don't crowd them. They need to breathe, so don't put a tight-fitting lid on.

Special Thanks
Special thanks to Bag, Borrow, or Steal and Blueprint for the handbag fashion show, and Calvin Klein for supplying our studio audience with a Calvin Klein clutch.

Comments (15)

  • jojalaleal 7 Feb, 2014

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  • shifa1979 16 May, 2013

    well actually i have a query....i have this lovely burnt orange jasper conran bag i bought say 2 yrs back... i havent used it much and have always stored it in the soft cotton bag that came along with the J bag. but its outer skin or may i say the leather has started peeling. could you please suggest me as to how could i restore the outer leather or is there any DIY idea you could suggest so that i dont have to throw away my priced possession.. please help. thanks

  • mTeeThoughts 22 Jul, 2011

    That wallet is a Michel Perrin Handbag... and it's called the Martha, made after Martha's specifications.... They used to be a leather supplier for Hermes, and then decided to do their own thing... nice croc skin.

  • lovinmybags 27 Feb, 2009

    Yellowing of leather is due to oxidation and there is no product that can remove or eliminate the yellow - the only option available is refinishing - where the leather finish is restored to white. The bag looks like new again and if done with lightfast leather pigments the bag will remain white for a longer period of time.

  • kathy1261 16 Sep, 2008

    I have an off wite leather purse that has yellowed I need to know if there is a way to remove the yellow?

  • shoppingNYC 14 May, 2008

    The bag and cosmetic bag are Louis Vuitton. The wallet I'm pretty sure is from Hermes, I have never seen a croc one in store, Martha might have custom ordered hers. I have seen it in several colors of leather before, but they don't show up that much. Louis Vuitton also has a wallet that is similar and made from the same leather as her bag, it is just a little smaller.

  • christmasDec25 8 Mar, 2008

    I LOVE WHAT MARTHA DID WITH HER HANDBAG.I never would have used a baby wipe to clean my bags before.and i think its a good idea not to put your bag on the floor like she said, i don;t put my bags on the floor when i use the ladys room if iam out shopping or eating out at a resturant.

  • Birkingirl 7 Mar, 2008

    I wish i could figure out the make up case...Any ideas....

  • BarbaraJo 7 Mar, 2008

    Thanks to Birkingirl!! You got it..that is the bag. Now to look for that great wallet. Thanks again....

  • Birkingirl 7 Mar, 2008

    I think the brown bag is Louis Vuitton Taiga kasbek....Let me know if you agree?

  • nancywoodward 7 Mar, 2008

    Really love Marthas WALLET!! I have been looking for a leather zipp around (metal zipper only) wallet for ages now...eddie bauer used to have one years ago that zipped on 3 sides and had a nice metal zipper.....when opened it laid flat and you could keep your ck book, chg cards and money inside.....I prefer it to a purse actually....If anyone sees something like this, please lmk ...I will forever be truly grateful! Leather only, not fabric. Thanks!

  • Birkingirl 6 Mar, 2008

    Sorry I see you are talking about the wallet,I wneed that brown bag and make up case!!!!!

  • Birkingirl 6 Mar, 2008

    Cant seem to find one that is her one...:(

  • MarekaEnya 6 Mar, 2008

    Hi BsrbaraJo, I checked some of the web sites listed on Martha Stewarts Handbag Show 3/5/2008 check Bloomingdales they have some that look like Marths Stewarts Wallet .MarekaEnys

  • BarbaraJo 5 Mar, 2008

    What was the brand bag Martha used to demonstrate how to clean? Also, what is the brand name of her wallet???