How to Clean Outside a Handbag: Easy Steps for a Brand-New Look

If you’re wondering how to clean outside a handbag effectively, you’ve come to the right place. Whether your handbag is made from leather, suede, or fabric, our guide will help you get it looking as good as new.

How to Clean Outside a Handbag

Things You’ll Need: How to Clean Outside a Handbag

How to Clean Outside a Handbag

Follow the steps below to clean outside a handbag…

Step 1: Identify the Material of Your Handbag

Learning to clean the outside of your handbag begins with one crucial step: identifying the material your handbag is made from. Handbags can be made from a variety of materials, including leather, faux leather, suede, canvas, and fabric, each requiring a different cleaning approach.

Locate the Tag or Manufacturer’s Information

Inside the handbag, you should find a tag that indicates the material and provides care instructions. Sometimes this tag is located in a small pocket or stitched into the lining.

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If you can’t find this tag, check the paperwork that came with the bag or visit the manufacturer’s website. Many websites offer care guides specifically for their products.

Why is Identifying the Material Important?

Understanding the material is crucial because each type has its own dos and don’ts when it comes to cleaning. For instance, leather often needs a specialized cleaner, while a canvas bag may tolerate mild soap and water.

Being aware of the material ensures that you use the correct cleaning solutions and techniques, avoiding potential damage to your handbag.

Step 2: Empty the Handbag

Before diving into the cleaning process, it’s essential to empty your handbag completely. This step may sound simple, but it’s crucial for a thorough cleaning.

Remove All Items

Take out everything — not just larger items like wallets and keys but also smaller items that might be hiding in the pockets, such as pens, lip balms, or even receipts.

Shake Out Debris

Once it’s empty, hold the bag upside down and shake it gently to remove crumbs, dust, or any other loose debris. It may help to open all the zippers and flaps to ensure that you’re getting every last bit out. You might be surprised what falls out!

Inspect the Interior

Quickly check the interior to make sure it’s empty and free of debris. This is also a good time to spot check the inside for stains or areas that might need separate cleaning later on.

Step 3: Pre-Clean the Exterior

Before applying any cleaning solution, you’ll want to get rid of any surface-level dirt. This makes the actual cleaning process easier and more effective.

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Select the Right Brush

Use a soft-bristle brush for this task. The bristles should be soft enough to not scratch the material but firm enough to remove dirt. If you don’t have a specialized brush, an old toothbrush with soft bristles can work in a pinch.

Brush Gently

Hold your bag on a flat surface and gently brush the exterior, paying special attention to corners, seams, and any textured areas where dirt can accumulate. Make sure to brush in one direction rather than back and forth to avoid working the dirt further into the material.

Inspect the Bag

After brushing, inspect your bag to ensure that you’ve removed as much loose dirt and debris as possible. This prepares the surface for a deeper cleaning and helps you achieve the best possible results.

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

Step 4: Prepare Your Cleaning Solution

The next important step in knowing how to clean the outside of your handbag is preparing the correct cleaning solution, which is vital for achieving a gentle but effective clean.

Choose the Right Cleaning Agent

Depending on the material of your handbag, you’ll either use a mild soap or a specialized handbag cleaner. Leather, for example, requires a leather cleaner, whereas a fabric bag might just need a mild soap. Always consult the manufacturer’s guidelines or the tag to know what’s safe for your particular bag.

Measure and Mix

Take a small bowl and add distilled water to it. Into this, mix a small amount of your chosen cleaning agent. The ratio can depend on the cleaner’s concentration, but a general rule of thumb is a couple of drops of soap per cup of water. Stir the mixture until it is well blended.

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Conduct a Spot Test

Before you begin cleaning the entire bag, it’s essential to test the cleaning solution on a small, inconspicuous area to ensure that it won’t cause any discoloration or damage. Allow it to sit for a few minutes, then wipe it away. Check for any changes in color or texture.

Step 5: Clean the Exterior

Now that your cleaning solution is ready, it’s time to clean the exterior of the handbag. This is where your careful preparation starts to pay off.

Dampen the Cloth

Submerge a soft cloth into the cleaning solution you’ve prepared. Wring out the excess liquid; the cloth should be damp but not dripping wet.

Start Cleaning

Gently rub the dampened cloth over the exterior of your handbag, focusing on one section at a time. Use circular motions to work the solution into the material, as this technique helps to avoid streaking and provides a more thorough clean.

Be Mindful of Hardware and Embellishments

Be cautious around metal hardware, like zippers or clasps, and any embellishments such as sequins or gems. These areas can be sensitive to water and soap, so try to avoid them as much as possible.

Step 6: Rinse and Dry

After you’ve cleaned the exterior of your bag, it’s important to remove any remaining soap residue to prevent build-up and potential damage over time.

Prepare a Rinse Cloth

Take a second, clean cloth and dampen it with distilled water. This cloth will be used to wipe away the cleaning solution from the bag’s exterior.

Wipe Off the Cleaning Solution

Gently wipe the exterior of the bag with the damp cloth, making sure to cover all the areas where you applied the cleaning solution. This will remove any leftover soap or cleaner.

Dry the Bag

Once you’ve rinsed off the cleaning solution, take a microfiber towel and pat the bag dry. Avoid using a rubbing motion as this can cause the material to stretch or deform. If possible, let the bag air-dry in a well-ventilated area away from direct sunlight, which can cause fading.

Conclusion: How to Clean Outside a Handbag

Learning how to clean outside handbag isn’t difficult, but it does require some care and attention to detail. Follow these steps, and your handbag will look as good as new in no time.

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