How to Clean Dirty Handbags: Get Your Bag to Look Brand New

If you’re struggling with cleaning dirty handbags, you’re not alone. Handbags are prone to accumulating dirt, stains, and grime. But worry not; cleaning a dirty handbag is a manageable task. This article will show you how to clean dirty handbags step by step.

Things You’ll Need

Step 1: Identifying the Material

The first crucial step in how to clean dirty handbags is determining the material of your handbag. This is essential because the cleaning agents you use will vary based on the material. Usually, the material is mentioned on a label inside the bag or in the product description. The most common materials are:

  • Leather
  • Suede
  • Fabric
  • Synthetic Materials

Each material requires a unique cleaning process and cleaning agents. Leather needs leather cleaners, suede has its own specialized cleaners, and fabrics often work well with mild detergents.

Step 2: Emptying the Handbag

Before diving into the cleaning process, make sure you empty the bag completely. Open all the zippers, compartments, and pockets and remove every item. Lay them out on a table to ensure you’re not forgetting anything. Leaving items in your bag could lead to damaging them or missing spots during the cleaning.

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Step 3: Dusting and Wiping

Start by dusting off any loose dirt or debris from the bag. For the exterior, use a soft cloth or a microfiber towel to wipe down gently. Pay special attention to corners and crevices where dirt may accumulate. For the interior, use a vacuum cleaner with a fabric brush attachment. Gently vacuum the inside to remove any dust and particles that may have settled at the bottom.

Read more bag cleaning articles here – How to Clean Bags: Your Comprehensive Guide for Spotless Bags

Step 4: Cleaning the Exterior

Determine the Appropriate Cleaner

After identifying your handbag’s material in Step 1, it’s time to select the proper cleaning agent. For leather bags, you should use a specialized leather cleaner. If your bag is made of fabric, a mild detergent will usually suffice. Suede and synthetic materials often have specialized cleaners available as well. The key is to read labels carefully and make sure that the cleaner you choose is specifically designed for your handbag’s material.

Test Before You Proceed

Before applying the cleaner all over your handbag, it’s essential to test it on a small, inconspicuous area. This could be the underside of the bag or a corner that isn’t easily visible. Apply a tiny amount of cleaner to the test area and wait a few minutes. If the material doesn’t discolor or look damaged, you can proceed with confidence.

Application Process

Take a soft cloth, such as a microfiber towel, and apply a small amount of your chosen cleaner to it. You don’t want to oversaturate the cloth; a little goes a long way.

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The Cleaning Technique

Start by gently rubbing the cloth over the exterior of the handbag. Use circular motions and work your way around the bag systematically. Focus especially on areas that have visible dirt or stains. Take your time; there’s no need to rush. Consistency in your movements will help in effective cleaning.


After you’ve covered the entire exterior, inspect the bag for any areas you might have missed or that may require additional cleaning. If needed, go over these areas again until you’re satisfied with the result.

Step 5: Cleaning the Interior

Prepare Your Cleaning Solution

To clean the interior, you’ll typically want a milder cleaning solution to avoid damaging the lining. Mix a small amount of mild detergent with water to create your cleaning solution.

Pre-Wipe Check

Before you start wiping the interior, give it a quick inspection. Look for any specific stains or marks that will need extra attention. This way, you can allocate your time and efforts more effectively.

Dampen Your Cloth

Take another soft cloth and lightly dampen it with your cleaning solution. Be cautious here: the cloth should be damp, not soaking wet. Excessive moisture can lead to water damage.

Wipe Down the Interior

Begin by wiping down the lining of the handbag. Use gentle strokes and avoid vigorous scrubbing, as that can damage the material. Start from one end and work your way to the other, making sure to reach into corners and seams where dirt can accumulate.

Final Touch

After you’ve wiped down the entire interior, take a clean, dry cloth and go over the lining once more. This will pick up any remaining moisture and help prevent water damage.

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How to Clean Dirty Handbags: Conclusion

Cleaning a dirty handbag may seem like a daunting task, but it’s entirely doable with the right approach and materials. By following these systematic steps, you’ll have your bag looking as good as new. Keep in mind that routine maintenance will prolong the life of your handbag, so consider making this a regular practice.

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