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.

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