Are You Ruining Your ‘It’ Bag? 10 Genius Tricks to Keep it Clean

So you finally bit the bullet and bought that “investment” bag. Congrats, lady! If you’re anything like us, you’re probably pretty eager take your new designer purchase out for a spin (or, at the very least, snap an Instagram pic.) But before you do, it’s key to take a few measures to ensure that it holds up for as long as possible.

Read on for 10 genius tips and tricks all highlighting ways to clean your designer bag!

white chanel bag Are You Ruining Your It Bag? 10 Genius Tricks to Keep it Clean

Photo: Jenny Norris

1. Have you ever conditioned a leather bag? If not, it’s time to start, as the added moisture will keep the leather super-supple and prevent pesky cracks. Before you condition, use a soft brush to remove any dirt from the bag, then rub small amounts of leather conditioner onto the surface. Wait a few minutes then wipe it off gently—the leather will only absorb what it can. Most types of leather conditioners cost around $10, and will last pretty much forever.

2. If you get an oil stain on the bag, coat the mark with baby powder and let it stand overnight. By morning, the stain should be gone. If a bit still remains, repeat the process until the stain is completely gone.

3. To clean dirt off suede, remove the crust from a piece of bread and allow it to become stale. Gently rub dirt and stains with the edge of the stale bread, and they’ll disappear. To de-scuff suede, use an eraser or nail file.

4. Always use a makeup bag for your cosmetics. Loose items can break any time you set your bag down. Bronzer all over that white Chanel Le Boy? Not a good look.

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5. But, in the instance that blush or bronzer does explode in your handbag, pre-moistened makeup removing wipes will clean up the loose powder like a dream.

6. Where you keep your bag matters. Storing it in rooms that are too hot, too cold, too humid, or too sunny can cause suede, fabric, and leather to fade and scratch. Hang on to the dustbag your purchase came with, and place your bag inside when you’re not using it.

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7. One thing to always keep in mind: Haphazardly shoving your your bag  on a shelf or throwing it into the closet (we’re guilty!) is one of the worst things you can do, so if you’re going to keep it outside of a box or bag, neatly line place it on a shelf or a hook with ample breathing room between bags.

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8. Never overstuff a bag! This can alter the structure, stretch out the leather, and break the zipper.

9. Use a toothpick to remove any gum that’s stuck in the bag’s lining, and—if your purse is roomy—use a small dustbuster or the suction tool from your vacuum to clean crumbs, lint, and dust.

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10. Use the washing machine. It might sound crazy, but washing leather in the machine works. Disclaimer: Do not try this with schmancy designer bags (no Céline in the machine, ladies) but if you have a slouchy leather purse hanging around that you don’t use anymore because it looks too beat up, toss it in the washer with a little Murphy’s Oil Soap, and then in the dryer for about 10 minutes. Still not sold? A blogger tried it with her bags. See the results here.