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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 big of a collection you have, they can become quite an investment. That's why it's important to care for your bag properly to ensure that it has a long life and survives all the opening, closing, stashing, storing, and toting you put it through. Periodic cleaning and proper storage will keep your bag looking like new -- even if it's last season.

HOW TO CLEAN YOUR HANDBAG

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.

INVESTMENT HANDBAGS

If you're the type to put a lot of thought and care into the bag you sling over your shoulder, carry in the crook of your elbow, or tote around as a clutch, you'll want to read up on our top 16 "investment handbags." From a Derek Lam hobo that elevates everything to a bright-red Calvin Klein flight bag for the stylish trendsetter to a delicate Kotur Wallace purse with a gold-plated brass frame, we've got a handbag for everyone right here.

HANDMADE CLUTCHES AND HANDBAGS

Are you more of the DIY handbag type? These projects are anything but amateuer. Love to sew? We've got a bunch of bags that are right up your alley. Never picked up a needle and thread? We've got no-sew options that are just as chic. Click here for our gallery of DIY handbags and clutches.

Special Thanks

Thank you to Bag, Borrow, or Steal andBlueprint for the handbag fashion show, and Calvin Klein for supplying our studio audience with a Calvin Klein clutch.

Comments (16)

Anonymous
January 16, 2016
You have to be careful using cleaners on purses. Many will "soak" the leather and stain it particularly on more delicate purses such as nappa. There is a product made in Germany called Clean and Care by Collonil that is gentle enough for purses made of any material. To protect the purse use Collonil's new product called Carbon pro which will protect purses made of just about any material but not stain or discolor. Hope this helps.
Anonymous
February 7, 2014
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Anonymous
May 16, 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
Anonymous
July 22, 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.
Anonymous
February 27, 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.
Anonymous
September 16, 2008
I have an off wite leather purse that has yellowed I need to know if there is a way to remove the yellow?
Anonymous
May 14, 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.
Anonymous
March 8, 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.
Anonymous
March 7, 2008
I wish i could figure out the make up case...Any ideas....
Anonymous
March 7, 2008
Thanks to Birkingirl!! You got it..that is the bag. Now to look for that great wallet. Thanks again....
Anonymous
March 7, 2008
I think the brown bag is Louis Vuitton Taiga kasbek....Let me know if you agree?
Anonymous
March 7, 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!
Anonymous
March 6, 2008
Sorry I see you are talking about the wallet,I wneed that brown bag and make up case!!!!!
Anonymous
March 6, 2008
Cant seem to find one that is her one...:(
Anonymous
March 6, 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
Anonymous
March 5, 2008
What was the brand bag Martha used to demonstrate how to clean? Also, what is the brand name of her wallet???