If you’re going to invest money into your wardrobe, a handbag is a wise decision. Not only are they less tied to trends than clothes or shoes but they also retain their value – well, if you take good care of them, that is.
Even if your bag holds sentimental value – whether you received it as a gift or worked hard to be able to afford it – there’s no denying that the novelty of such a joyous item can wear off in the day-to-day.
You place your ‘durable’ bag on the floor of a coffee shop. You throw in a lipstick that accidentally leaks, and so on. Then suddenly, you realise that your bag isn’t in as good condition as it used to be.
So, that’s why in 2020, it would be wise to make a vow to focus less on the items you don’t have and instead, looking after the things you do have. We’ve asked Charlotte Staerck, the handbag restoration specialist and co-owner of Handbag Clinic, for her top tips to keep our bags in the best condition.
Keep your bag clean from day one
Now, let’s start with the obvious. According to Charlotte, “you should use a handbag protector from day one, keeping it topped up roughly every three months if it’s a bag that’s used daily or every six months for a weekend or occasion bag.”
Whilst it seems like common sense, keeping on top of this habit will not only prevent you from needing restorative work but it’ll help retain the value of your bag.”
What’s more, Handbag Clinic has transformed their expertise into an in-house range of products which have gained so much recognition that they’re available to purchase in the Luxury Accessories department in Harrods. Alternatively, if you’re Newcastle based, they’re also available in their shop or online.
Each Handbag Clinic Care Kit comes with everything you need – sponges, clothes and a brush (if you purchase the suede kit) so you have all of the tools to protect your bag against sun damage, spillages and even, general wear and tear.
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The internal part of the bag is just as important as the external
Have you ever had an accidental spillage in your handbag? From a foundation bottle to Tupperware, it’s a sickening feeling that makes your stomach drop at the discovery.
Charlotte states that “make-up and ink are some of the hardest stains to remove from fabric with the high oil content [so] the interior of your bag needs protecting just as much as the outside.”
With this in mind, it’s important to invest in an inner pouch for your bag. Not only is it a general handy item for those that like to alternate their bags, but it’ll help refrain from any accidental spillages from happening.
Never place your handbag on the floor
I won’t freak you out with how many germs harbour on the average handbag. But think about it realistically: how many times you place your bag on the floor of a restaurant without much thought? Or, much worse – do you ever place your handbag on the floor of a public bathroom?
Not only do situations like this attract more germs but often, placing your bag on the floor can lead to it having scuffed corners, as well as being in prime position for spillages from a table.
Instead, you should always place your bag on the back of your chair or on your lap wherever you go. Alternatively, you could even purchase a handbag hook which can be placed on the back of the chair.
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Keep your bag covered
After every usage, it’s important that you place your leather bag in an upright position in its dustbag. This should then be stored in a cool and dark place away from sunlight. Not only will this protect your handbag, but it’ll actually refrain it from fading – an added bonus.
And if you’ve misplaced your dustbag, don’t worry – you can use a natural, soft fibre pillowcase, instead. However, Charlotte advises “that it’s of high quality and won’t leak any colour onto your bag.” But whatever you do, do not store it in plastic or vinyl as these materials trap moisture, shockingly making your bag prone to mould.
If you want to take the protection of your bag to the next level, you shoulder consider using a handbag pillow to stuff your handbag. This will help maintain the shape and structure whilst avoiding wear and tear when the handbag isn’t in use. Again, if you don’t own a handbag pillow, you can use tissue but you must ensure that it’s acid-free.
Prevent stains from becoming permanent damage
If, unfortunately, you do manage to stain your handbag, Charlotte advises three steps you can take to immediately help minimise the damage.
“First and foremost, you must blot the stained area as soon as possible with a clean, dry cloth or tissue. You want to absorb as much of the liquid as possible – this will limit the overall staining once it dries.
Once you have removed the excess liquid, you should then blot the stained area with a damp cloth or tissue (using warm water only). Start at the outside of the stain and work inwards; this will stop the stain from spreading outwards.”
Last of all, if you own the Handbag Clinic Care Kit, you can actually treat the stain with the cleaner. “As before, you should proceed to dab the stained area with a dry cloth or tissue to absorb any left-over water or cleaner,” advises Charlotte.
But whatever you do, never rub the stained area or use heat as this can actually cause the stain to spread and set.
Finally, if all else fails, turn to the experts!
And finally, if all else fails, turn to the experts at Handbag Clinic. After all, they are experts who are passionate about expanding the life of handbags through their team of highly skilled ateliers.
At Handbag Clinic, stain removal starts at £50.00. However, they offer a wide range of services which can take care of scuffs, scratches, rips as well as colour loss, broken zips, worn edges, split piping and much more.