Tips to Keep Your Designer Handbag Looking like New

Published: 11th August 2009
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A beautiful new handbag can be a bit of an investment, so, you want to keep it looking like new. A designer handbag that looks like it has been through a war is about as good as a cheap handbag that you picked up off the street and looks almost the same. Whether you chose a Gucci, a Versace, a Louis Vuitton or a Marc Jacobs handbag, put as much detail into caring for the bag as you did in selecting it. Here are some tips to keep your bag looking beautiful longer:

Probably the most important thing to do first is to invest in a good cleaner. If you have a leather handbag, make sure you purchase a cleaner suited to your particular leather bag. They have some very good cleansers on the market that are well suited for lambskin, calfskin, alligator, etc. It really does make a difference what kind of leather you have, as the pH balance may differ depending on the leather and your cleanser should be specifically tailored to your leather. The best cleansers will have a non-darkening agent added in, so that you do not accidentally darken the color of your bag when you clean it. Look for those cleansers that indicate this on the label. Also, the best cleansers will have a waterproofing agent as well. If you really like a particular cleanser for your bag that does not include a waterproofing agent, you can do this step separately and we will discuss waterproofing and other treatments of your bag later in this article.

If you have a cloth bag or any other non-leather material, make sure you learn the designer's and/or manufacturer's instructions for maintaining and cleaning. Some bags can tolerate water quite well, and others cannot. It depends on the porosity of the bag's surface and what the material is. A mild soap and water can sometimes be used, but it is important to check this and some bag designers will indicate that a leather cleaner should be used even if the bag is not leather.

After cleansing, treating your bag is just as important if not more important. You will want to waterproof your bag, certainly, but there is more to it than that. If you have fine hardware on your bag (and you should, if it's a designer bag!) you will want to treat the metal(s) with something that prevents darkening due to hand oils and dirt. Especially for bags with handles that are clutched, you can also use this type of treatment on the knobs and clasps on purses that do not have handles. Oil is one of the most detrimental substances for a bag, and you will want to avoid having oily skin residue or other oils on your handbag anywhere, even the metal handles. Some treatments protect against water and oil in one solution. These are your best bet. If your bag is of the patent leather variety or otherwise requires a shine to it, you can get a shining treatment as your last resort, but this is not as critical.

After you have cleansed, waterproofed, and oil-treated your bag. Now what? Make sure to do this every couple to few months for your best results and long-lasting beauty. Another practice you will want to make habitual is to empty out the bag's contents on a regular basis. Depending on the handbag, if it gets overstuffed or compartments become too full, it can stretch the material or poke it out in an unattractive way that may be difficult to re-shape. The best way to prevent this is to make a habit of emptying useless items before this occurs. However, if you do end up stretching your bag beyond its limits, you can take comfort in knowing that there are professionals out there who re-shape bags for a living! Hopefully you do not have to take such drastic measures, but if need be, they do exist.

It is also a good idea to clean out your bag so that any lint, dirt, and other potentially damaging particles do not transfer from the inside to the outside of your bag. You do not want dirt grinding into your bag, even on the inside, but especially on the outside.

Last, you will want a good cover for your bag. Many women omit this step and it really is a good protective habit. If you have a protective cover for your bag, it can be stored well when it's not in season. You can take all of the measures described above, and safely store it for the winter or summer season and it will be in perfect condition when you pull it out again after the seasons change. Sunlight can be damaging to leather and other materials, and a cover will ensure that your bag does not see the sun, or even the light of your closet!

Megan Hazel is a freelance writer who writes about a variety of topics including celebrities and fashion, often discussing specific items for women such as designer handbags .

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