How To Revive A Vintage Handbag At Home | pebble magazine
Live

Shopping Secondhand? How To Revive A Vintage Handbag At Home

Share article on...

Facebook

Whatsapp

Twitter

Pinterest

Become a Patron

Shopping Secondhand? How To Revive A Vintage Handbag At Home

Live

Love a vintage or luxury handbag?

Looking after it can be the most sustainable option, there's no need to send it to landfill.

Georgina Wilson-Powell

Tue 30 Mar 2021

The preowned and vintage handbag market has exploded in recent years – driven largely by the fact that we’ve all become much more conscious of the life and quality of luxury items and the impact that waste is having on the planet.

If you're interested in buying secondhand, if you've bought a vintage handbag or whether you just want to look after the handbag you already have, we have the perfect guide for you.

woman in pink suit with luxury handbag

Why buy a preowned or vintage handbag?

1. It's good for the planet

Buying a preowned item and using it for another nine months can actually reduce its water and carbon footprint by 20 to 30%.

And of course, a sense of do-gooding is all the more delicious when giving in to the lure of a Dior Tote.

2. It's a savvy investment

The pandemic has heighted this trend and we’ve seen preowned luxury handbags rise in value by an all-time high of 13% in the last year, outperforming all other collectable assets including art (5.2%), stamps (6.4%), rare whisky (5.0%), fine wine (0.7%) and jewellery (-6.7%).

3. It saves money

You’ll never see brands such as Louis Vuitton and Chanel mark down their products and Hermes limit their sales to a very exclusive clientele so buying preowned, especially for vintage and cult bags, is the canny and sustainable loophole.

woman sewing up a luxury brand

How To Revive A Vintage Handbag At Home

Professional restoration can perform miracles and add hundreds and even thousands of pounds onto the value of your bag.

From removing stubborn stains, repairing scuffs and tears or replacing broken zips, split piping, worn edges and damaged hardware, improving colour loss, reinforcing shape and stretched straps; Handbag Clinic’s dedicated team of artisans combine the finest craftsmanship, technology and innovative techniques to achieve the seemingly impossible.

If you’ve snapped up a vintage treasure on the preowned market and want to spruce it up at home, here's a 5 step guide to reviving or restoring it at home.

1. How to clean a handbag properly

Cleaning your bag for the first time can seem a little daunting.

First and foremost, it’s essential you have the right tools and products. The wrong ones can cause more damage than what you're trying to fix.

Make sure you choose products that are specially designed for gently cleaning the specific material of your leather, suede/Nubuck or fabric handbag. The Handbag Clinic has a special at home handbag cleaning kit.

Abrasive chemicals and luxury materials are disastrous bedfellows! You will need specialist cleaners for leather, fabrics and suede.

black luxury handbag against a pink wall

Want to refresh your look? Does your handbag just need a clean?

2. Give your bag a proper clean and massage

With a handbag cleaning kit, start with one panel of your handbag and apply your leather, suede or fabric cleaner onto the cloth provided.

Work up a foam and massage this into each panel of your bag in turn, using a circular motion. Be sure to use an even covering of the leather cleaner to the panel to avoid water marks – it’s all about even distribution which is why applying the cleaning solution to the cloth will work best.

Work round the bag concentrating on one panel at a time and then, after removing any loose dust or debris, you can do the same with the lining of the bag.

Repeat this process, until the cloth you are using no longer shows any further dirt coming off the surface of the leather, suede or fabric. Leave to dry naturally at room temperature so as not to dry the leather too quickly.

woman cleaning a handbag with a cloth

Make sure you're cleaning your handbag with the right stuff

Once the cleaning process is complete and the bag is fully dry, add a Protection Cream to the provided sponge.

As before, apply this in a circular motion to each panel of the bag.

You should pay particular attention to handles, corners and frequently used areas. The Protection Cream not only feeds and nourishes the leather but, once absorbed, creates a liquid repellent barrier on the surface.

This means that, should an accident occur such as a spilled drink, hand sanitiser or uncapped pen mishap, you can quickly wipe this away as it delays the absorption period.

Allow five minutes for the Protection Cream to dry. If you have a light-coloured bag or if it’s a particularly absorbent leather you may want to repeat the protection process a couple of times to really look after those easily stained leathers.

Protecting your bag takes no more than 15 minutes and could save you a fortune on restoration treatment in the future and it will also keep the value in your bag so you get the most longevity.

To reduce odours on fabrics, a fabric freshening spray will help but do not saturate the fabric or you may risk warping the bag or damaging any leather or metalwork.

woman cleaning a brown luxury handbag with a cloth

Cleaning and adding a protective layer to your handbag can keep them going for decades

3. Buff up

Once all coats have been applied, buff off with a lint-free cloth.

This ensures there is no product residue remaining on the surface of the leather and ensures a tight seal under the surface.

The best way to keep your items looking their best is to keep them protected against any eventuality.

This process should be repeated every three months, or more if your bag is used more frequently.

Woman cleaning a beige handbag

4. Stuff and store properly

Using helpful tools and tricks to avoid signs of wear will also keep your bag looking new for as long as possible.

When your bag is not in use it should be stuffed to keep your it looking structured and avoid losing shape – you can use soft tissue or – better still - a handbag pillow.

Keep your bag in its dust bag when it’s not in use too to prevent dye contamination or damage from sunlight or other garments.

The bag should always be stored in cool, dry environment such as a wardrobe.

High temperatures can make waxed edges or handles tacky to the touch which will, in time, affect their appearance and will require professional help to remedy.

They should never be stored anywhere that contains moisture as this leads to bad odours, mildew or water staining.

black woman with red luxury handbag

Make sure your pens and liquids steer clear of your luxury handbag

5. Watch out for liquid stains

Most items in luxury fashion are made from lightly treated leathers for their luxurious butter soft feel, which means they are super absorbent.

Because bags are used outside and inside, they are prone to coming into contact with common liquids such as rain water, beverages, perfume leaks and believe it or not hair dyes.

Always protect your handbag when taking it to the hair salon as dye splashes are one of the most common liquid stains seen by experts.

At its most basic level, the must-have for every handbag is a make-up bag and a pen lid.

Throwing make up brushes, a smashed powder, lipstick that loses its lid or an open pen into your bag causes the bag to become heavily stained on the interior.

Make up and ink are some of the hardest stains to remove from fabric with the high oil content and the interior of your bag needs protecting just as much as the outside.

“Make up and ink are some of the hardest stains to remove from fabric with the high oil content”

6. Don't use these things on your handbag

There are a lot of tips and tricks that don't work to clean a handbag, and can actually damage it.

  • Baby wipes contain various cleaning chemicals, these can be too abrasive on pigmented leather and can lead to colour loss and leave water marks
  • Vinegar and nail varnish remover. Using highly abrasive chemicals such as vinegar and nail varnish remover is one of the most damaging misconceptions out there and leads to the pigmented colour being drawn out of the leather.
  • Washing up liquid can still result in water marks and lines which requires specialist treatment.
  • Washing machine. It’s the surest way to ruin the shape and structure of your precious handbag. What’s more, it’s not even effective at drawing out the dirt or stains.

Need more help restoring or reviving your handbag?

Professional restoration can perform miracles and add hundreds and even thousands of pounds onto the value of your bag.

From removing stubborn stains, repairing scuffs and tears or replacing broken zips, split piping, worn edges and damaged hardware, improving colour loss, reinforcing shape and stretched straps; Handbag Clinic’s dedicated team of artisans combine the finest craftsmanship, technology and innovative techniques to achieve the seemingly impossible.

Comment on this article

What to Do Next

Subscribe To
pebble

Stay up to date with all the latest eco news and features. We plant trees for every subscriber. Every 100th subscriber wins their own tree.

Join our Digital
Community For Free

Ripples helps you smash your sustainable goals. Share your journey, ask questions and inspire others.

Sign up To
Swell

Join our new business group in our Community. Collaborate and network with other ethical entrepreneurs.