How to Spot Clean an LL Bean Tote Bag

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If you care for it properly, your LL Bean tote bag should stay clean and beautiful for decades.
If you care for it properly, your LL Bean tote bag should stay clean and beautiful for decades. (Image: Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images)

The classic LL Bean tote bag originally was designed to haul blocks of ice in the 1940s. Because the bags are so durable, many customers report that their bags have lasted for decades. They are made with heavy-duty, 24-oz. cotton canvas, and the seams are stitched with nylon thread. LL Bean recommends that consumers spot clean the bags, rather than using a washing machine.

Things You'll Need

  • Cool water
  • Soft-bristle brush
  • Laundry detergent - liquid
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • White paper towels

Use the brush to apply the detergent to the spot you would like to clean. If the spot is large, work from the edges inward to keep the dirt from spreading.

Rinse off the detergent with cool water, while rubbing with the brush. Work the detergent and water into the seams. Do not use hot water, as this can cause some stains to set.

If the dirty spot only has faded or gotten smaller, repeat this process until it disappears completely.

If you do not notice any progress, the stain must be cleaned with a solvent rather than a detergent. Apply rubbing alcohol to the spot, using a paper towel.

Blot the rubbing alcohol with the paper towels, as many times as it takes, to lift off the stain. Be sure to keep any parts of the paper towel that have picked up the stain away from the rest of the bag, to avoid staining other areas.

Tips & Warnings

  • Rubbing alcohol is usually the right cleaning solution for ink or waxy substances like crayon and lipstick. If you know that the stain is something like this, use alcohol first.

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