How to Care for and Clean Vintage Handbags and Purses


If you've invested in a vintage handbag or purse, maintain it with proper care and cleaning. Clean according to the material the bag is made of, and make sure to clean the lining separately. Test your sewing skills by making small repairs on the lining or on fabric bags, and don't forget to polish any metal hardware.

Things You'll Need

  • Cloths
  • Leather cleaner or saddle soap
  • Leather conditioner/moisturizer
  • Eraser
  • Suede brush
  • White vinegar
  • Clean leather by applying a small amount of leather cleaner or saddle soap to a cloth and lightly rubbing soiled areas in a circular motion, wipe clean and allow to dry. Moisturize the purse by applying a small amount of leather moisturizer to a piece of cloth, then rubbing the moisturizer onto the exterior of the purse using small circular motions.

  • Clean suede by brushing the suede in an upward motion using a suede brush or thick towel. Remove dry stains with a tip of a coarse eraser.

  • Clean the interior of the bag by removing small particles of dirt with a lint or fabric brush. Wipe the interior of the bag with a damp cloth.

  • Add a small amount of silver or brass polisher to a piece of cloth and lightly polish your purse's hardware. Remove excess polish and buff clean.

  • Rub zippers with beeswax to keep them running smoothly and easily up the zipper track. Apply a small amount of WD-40 to a rusted zipper to remove rust.

  • Sew loose seams and interior lining rips with a sewing machine or by hand, using an appropriate needle type and matching thread.

  • Stuff acid-free tissue paper inside the bag, place the bag in its original dust bag or into a cotton pillow case, then store the bag in a cool, dry location away from direct sunlight.

Tips & Warnings

  • Shoe repair stores can re-plate hardware.
  • Contact the manufacturer/designer to replace or repair FOBs, straps and other specialty hardware.
  • Leather bags naturally darken overtime creating a natural patina.
  • Don't use a toothbrush to clean hardware; scratches may occur.

Related Searches


  • Photo Credit Brand X Pictures/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images
Promoted By Zergnet


You May Also Like

  • How to Clean a Purse

    Whether you switch purses often or just have a favorite standby, toting a dirty, old handbag is definitely not your style. Keep...

  • How to Store Purses

    All kinds of handbags may sag, bend or become damaged when they're not stored correctly. All it takes is a few organizing...

  • How to Clean a Chanel Handbag

    Chanel is known for creating fashionable, high-quality handbags. These handbags are expensive, ranging from the upper hundreds well into the thousands of...

  • How to Identify Vintage Purses

    When a handbag collector buys vintage purses, she wants a valuable accessory from the past, not a fabulous fake. While each season...

Related Searches

Check It Out

This Is the Beauty Routine of an Ex-Pat in China

Is DIY in your DNA? Become part of our maker community.
Submit Your Work!