Follow or at least consider these tips when you use your handbag. Your priority is to keep your bag looking good and stain free, yet to enjoy using it.
Look after your bag and store it in its dust bag cover or
use a natural fibre soft pillowslip.
Handle your bag, especially lighter bags with clean hands.
Avoid handling the designer bag after applying beauty products, face foundations or hand
weather is really bad and raining consider using a less special handbag.
Be careful when you visit a hairdressers with your bag, as
hair products can easily splash onto handbags left on the floor at your feet.
Clippings of chemically treated hair can land on the bag and leave marks.
When carrying a light coloured bag consider using pencils rather than Biros - biro can be
difficult to remove. Don't use your bag as a rest to place paper and write
notes. Pointed pens can leave impression tool marks through paper
rested on firm leathers.
If your bag has a chain handle, store the chain inside the
bag to avoid scratching the outside leather when the bag is resting.
For storage, use bubble wrap to stuff your bags as it does not attract moths in the same way
as tissue paper does.
If you are doing a big weekly shop then unless you are
planning to impress a prospective Mr Right, avoid taking your special bag to
the supermarket! Trolleys can scratch your bag and mark it permanently,
as can spillages from foodstuffs such as yoghurts, cream, dips, squashy fruit,
milk and even leaking cleaning products.
Today even high street handbags come with dust bags so use
that dust cover well to protect your treasure whether it cost £50 or £5000.
Store your bags in dust bag covers or pillow cases.
Don't use plastic bags to store your best bags. When your precious bag is not on display, protect it with the dust bag.
There is no reason why you cannot just drop your handbag into your dust bag
even when you are at home and the bag contains your worldly goods. This way,
a bag is less likely to get scuffed or scratched by pets and family or have odd
spots of coffee dripped on it as others pass by.
If you have to store your bag in your desk or filing cabinet
at work, check the drawer first for rough splinters or sharp edges that could
damage and scratch your bag. Consider keeping a spare pillow case in
the drawer to cover your bag.
constantly change handbags consider buying a handbag liner made especially for
the job. Purpose made
handbag liners such as these shown right enable you to change your handbag
contents quickly moving everything in one go. You can shift essential items
such as keys and mobile phone in one smooth operation. This is a good way
to tackle contents if your designer bag has a special lining that you wish
to protect from make up and other lotions. Each range is in several colours.
Bag liners can be especially useful when on holiday. The version of a
special holiday bag liner, is designed to enable
ease of access to extra items such as sun lotions. Since the original
banasoup.com site that gave me these images is no longer online I suggest you
search Google for VIP hand bag liners. You will quickly find a bag website
selling them at around £22 and £25.
There cannot be a woman who has not had a spillage of some
kind in her handbag in her lifetime. I used to have a spillage of some
type small or large and ruinous about once a year. I have become more
careful in the past decade as it just became annoying. Now I
have got into the routine of using small easy view make up style bags within
my bags to compartmentalise my must have items. I have to say I do
have my eye on one or two of these bag liners above as they do look perfect
for the job.
However, don't be obsessive with your designer bag. It cost you
a lot of hard earned money so use your bag and enjoy it. If it cost
you £400 and you use it everyday for a year that is good value compared to
buying a special event dress that costs £400 that you wear no more than once
Care of your bag is a very personal concept. I contacted the John Lobb
direct to enquire about caring for both my Dolce and Floto bags.
They wrote to me 'The jar of polish costs £13.62 + VAT 17.5%. The package
will weigh about 300g, price for postage will be about £5.00 if we send
anywhere in Europe. We would recommend the neutral polish as it will
not spoil your clothes.'
For any cleaning you undertake, I suggest an assortment of quality soft non-abrasive cleaning
dusters, plus a roll of quality soft, non-scratchy quilted kitchen paper.
Some people do nothing more than wipe their handbag with a damp cloth, whilst
others pre-treat with anti stain and
waterproof sprays such as Scotch Guard. Many
bag owners also suggest using products such
as John Lobb Lotion.
Always apply leather conditioners to a
cloth rather than directly onto the leather.
Only use the rain repellent after firstly conditioning the
bag. Then apply the repellent in smooth continuous sweeping motions to avoid concentrated areas of
product, which if uneven could stain a bag.
You may also like the restoration handbag services provided at
Lovinmybags.com. Lovinmybags -
specializes in handbag leather aftercare. They have developed their products
for the delicate handbag leathers and they offer full handbag restoration
services. They say they are seeing a lot of repairs needed because people
have been using car leather polishes. Car leather polish has too high a pH
and it strips off the finish on some leather bags. Anything to do with car
or furniture care is not the best for today's handbag leathers. Years ago it
might not have been such an issue.
product instructions to the letter.
I must warn you never to inhale any stain repellent spray products. Always use a well
ventilated area and wear a mask. I have to say after my head
and neck cancer experience, I would never now use an anti repellent stain as
I believe certain products sometimes contain carcinogens harmful to the body
- just my opinion. I am particularly thinking of old cans of stain
repellent product you may have tucked away in a cupboard, but which were
bought 4 or 5 years ago in UK before new recommendations were introduced.
Play safe if in doubt.
Other treatments that people recommend, include using baby wipes on coated canvas, and hairspray on cotton buds to remove stubborn marks.
Saliva is also also a suggested method by museums to clean leather, particularly carved leather
in panels in ancient homes. Such carved leather panels may be dirty with age and
smoke. So this 'spit' technique should
also work on leather bags.
Saliva is used too by those who sew, to remove a fresh blood stain from a pin
prick stain mark that can happen when sewing. But you do need to act quickly so the
saliva can in effect digest the blood. So you can see where this idea
is coming from - it's a very old method which may seem distasteful, but
which can work when all else proves futile. Always trial any cleaning or repair method on an inconspicuous
part of the bag and make sure you do not get bits of lipstick in the mix if
you do try the saliva method!
Many bags today have a great deal of hardware. This ironmongery can be an
integral part of the design of a bag and if it is looking a little tired it
may need a clean. Some people use Silverware cleaner or Brasso wadding
for the hardware, but if you do use any of the metal cleaning products be sure you completely
cover the leather or other material of your bag with a protective layer of
material. By inserting layers of
kitchen roll, you can protect any Brasso or silver cleaning fluids going on
the bag cloth or leather bag materials.
Contralto cards are important extras that come with your top range designer
Keep the contralto cards, original tags and authenticity cards inside the dust bags.
Some manufacturers will not repair bags without this proof of authenticity.
If you carry mineral water such as Evian, make sure the top is screwed tightly after you have had a sip. Leaks can leave water marks. I had about 300
ml of Evian leak out into my Floto bag last year, annoyingly it left a watermark to half way.
Despite finding the problem quickly and wiping the residue out of the bag
the residual water continued to gradually seep up the bag leather by capillary action. I
left the Floto bag to dry naturally for 2 days as I didn't know what else to
Once dry I was hugely disappointed. The watermark ridged mountain like darker stain was very
noticeable. So having nothing to lose I dunked the whole bag for a few minutes in a
bath of lukewarm water rubbing the water into the bag with my hands. Then
I drained it dry on an oven rack over a sink. I stuffed it with kitchen roll paper and let
it dry naturally. When dry I must say it seemed to have evened out the stain ridge and I
was able to use the bag again although it did take a couple of weeks use to soften up again.
The inside striped fabric was a little wrinkled, but was not awful. The bag does look acceptable again and suits the careworn
distressed look it develops
with time, but frankly I preferred it pristine new.
My point is that the bag
looked much better before the accident. I now make sure the bottle cap is
secure on any container stored in my bag and in every other bag!
If you need to send your bag anywhere do make sure
it is well packed and the box has padding around the bag. Put dangling
metal logos or charms inside the bag or cover them with bubble wrap. Chain
handles should be padded and if possible also placed into the body of the
inner bag to prevent
scratching the bag outer material.
You don't want the box being damaged like this one I had on arrival.
You may wish to consider bag insurance. Most household
policies only cover goods to a small specific limit. Therefore check with your insurer that the handbag and its contents are covered by
your policy. This may mean adding a small extra premium to cover bag
Insurance. Specialist item extra insurance may be costly.
Whether or not you take up insurance is your business, but be aware of the
Consider these facts - The average designer handbag may be worth anything from £300 to £1500. Even if your bag cost £50 it will probably be filled with items of value such as cash,
cards, keys, leather gloves and make up. A few lipsticks, gloss, a mascara, face foundation, shadow, blusher, pencils, brushes, perfume etc., at just £10 a go on average
your bag contents will soon add up to £100 -
These days we also have technology in our bags. I'm
not even thinking of a laptop here in a business brief bag, but just
everyday techie items we now take for granted and cart with us everywhere.
Add in a mobile phone, a digital camera and perhaps an iPod,
a Blackberry device, emergency hair straighteners and other personal items
like a costly 3 month season ticket. To this add some harder to
replace items in terms of time, inconvenience and sentiment - £300+
spectacles (needing half a day to sort out a replacement), plus a couple of pieces jewellery, perhaps just a spare
gold necklace and earrings to revamp to evening looks and you will see that your
bag if stolen is quite a loss.
So look after your bag at all times. For safety on a
day to day basis, always choose a bag with a full zip closure and inner zip
pockets so random thieves cannot rifle through it in a moment. Open
bags are easier to lose items from as well as attracting pickpockets. How
often have you seen someone with their bag a gaping? If you noticed it then so will an an
unscrupulous chance thief. Probably often enough to know that
care is not just about keeping your bag clean, but also preventing others
from stealing it.
If your bag has short handles hold the bag in the crook of
your arm or by fully gripping the handles. Avoid carrying any bag by the finger
tips so if someone tries to tug at it, you can at least attempt to whack them
one with the bag, than let it slip away from your fingertips. If you are out
and about in what you know to be a less safe area and your bag has a
shoulder strap version, consider wearing the bag across the body, messenger
style. You can hold it at the front of the body where you can keep a
real eye on it.
Think I'm over cautious - not really. I left my bag on
a train one morning 30 years ago. I still recall the sick feeling in the pit
of my stomach at losing my nice new black patent bag as I knew it contained
valuable and sentimental items. By the end of the day that bag, found by the guard, was returned to
the station lost
property. The purse had been rifled of money even of pennies, with
everything else left in the handbag.
So if you lose your bag in a hotel or restaurant, or similar
place, always tell the staff immediately. Your bag may be lying around in
another part of the building with just cash and the most desirable valuables
(cash and credit card) removed, but the bag may be intact and still have the items that are
valuable to you. These days chances are you'll need to cancel your
credit cards and maybe change locks at home, but you will have the bag
itself back. Alert anyone at your home that the bag was in someone
else's hands so they can take safety precautions.
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