Nothing stings quite like watching a beloved handbag start to show signs of wear and tear. While it’s understandable that a handbag used on a frequent basis will gradually have a slightly worn appearance, nobody enjoys it when theirs becomes so worn out they must hunt down a duplicate.
The good news is there are steps fashionistas can take now to protect their handbags and extend their use. GOBankingRates spoke to Deseri Kelley, founder of luxury handbag brand DESERI, about the options available to those who want to keep their handbags — especially vintage and/or luxury bags — in good shape. Follow these tips to make it happen.
Use a Leather or Suede Protectant
If you have a leather or suede handbag, Kelley recommends using a protectant product to add a layer of protection to its exterior. It shouldn’t cost much, but it can pay huge dividends.
Utilize the Dust Bag
The best practices for handbag protection depend on the types of materials the handbag is made from. If your handbag comes with a dust bag, Kelley said utilize this bag. If you set your handbag down in the office, for example, make sure it goes inside its dust bag to protect it from sunlight and moisture.
Stuff Your Handbag
Most handbags are packaged full of pieces of paper. A lot of people will throw this paper out without a second thought — but think again.
Stuffing your bag, Kelley said, helps it maintain the shape when not in use. Once your handbag has been stuffed appropriately, store it inside its dust bag.
Don’t Let Oils Touch the Handbag
For handbags made of specific materials, like leather, it can be tricky to keep the bag from getting touched by oils. The dust bag can be an excellent help in protecting the handbag from oils, especially the ones on your hands.
“After you apply lotion or perfume to your hands, do not hold your fine leather bag because it will change the color of your bag over time,” said Kelley.
In addition, she recommends utilizing leather conditioners or other conditioners specific to the handbag’s material to protect it from oils.
Clean With a Damp White Cloth
If you need to clean your handbag, Kelley said use warm water and a small amount of mild soap on a white cloth to wipe down the handbag.
“I recommend using clear Dawn dishwashing soap and cleaning along the grain,” she said. “Be sure the cloth is just damp to not saturate the handbag.
After cleaning, Kelley said it’s very important the handbag dries completely. Once it is completely dry, you may store it after use.
Go to a Professional Dry Cleaner
Some handbags require a professional for their deep clean. Kelley recommends taking a leather handbag to a dry cleaner that specializes in working with this material.
“They will condition the leather and give it the care it needs and deserves to increase the lifespan of the bag.”
Practice Climate-Friendly Storage Practices
How you store your handbag will depend on the type of climate in your are. For example, if you live in a humid climate, Kelley recommends keeping silica gel packets in your bags when you’re not using them. Those who live in a dry climate will need to check their bags to make sure the silica gel packets do not dry out certain material types, like leather.
Most importantly, keep your handbag out of direct sunlight. Kelley recommends storing your handbag, stuffed in its dust bag, on a shelf.
“Remember that a handbag on the floor is money out the door!”
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