Handbag Repair

Fixing Your Bag

An errant ink pen. Coffee drips. Chocolate candy. Mints. Money. Hair clips. It all adds up to an interesting array of gunk that can total a beautiful bag unless you know how to save that purse with these tips!

AND, it is true that a dirty purse can carry disease just as sure as licking the handrails at the subway station. No joke!spillage

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Preventing Excessive Wear and Tear

You just justified spending over a grand on the latest "It" bag by calculating "days of usage" then dividing to find your cost per day (It seems so much more worth it this way, doesn't it?). Now you've got to make sure that your bag will last you those few thousand days so your money doesn't go to waste! Here are some tips to ensure that your expensive bag will retain its value way into the future.

Miu Miu Coffer Bag in Green Leather, $1445

Miu Miu Coffer Bag
in Green Leather, $1445, currently available at Net-A-Porter.
  • Always store your bags upright like books. Do not stack them!
  • Always stuff your bags with a breathable material like tissue paper or old t-shirts so that it will retain its shape.
  • Never hang your bags! It will stretch and misshape handles quicker than you think.
  • Rub down leather and patent leather bags with mink oil spray every few months so the leather won't dry out and crack. Be very gentle -- don't rub the formula in.
  • Store purses in felt dust bags (a pillowcase with a 220+ thread count will also work) to prevent dust (duh!), fading, and color transfer.
  • Take your bags out and let them "breathe" at least once a year to avoid smells or mildew.

Gettting Expert Help

There are plenty of professionals out there whose business is to troubleshoot when your purse needs emergency care.

Use this space to list and recommend companies and individuals. Note: It is highly recommended to send all high-end designer bags back to their vendors for repairs (i.e. A Gucci bag will go back to Gucci to be repaired)!

  • Avelle (formerly Bag Borrow or Steal) the luxury handbag rental company recently launched Avelle Refurbishment. They offer handbag repair, cleaning, part replacement, and general reinvigorating of your favorite bags -- luxury or not! The team at Avelle has a great before and after photo gallery so you can see how close to brand-new they can make your bag look.

  • Beaded Purse Repair specializes in restoring antique beaded purses.
  • Newsole in Pasadena, California, is an authorized repair and restoration center for major retailers, such as, Saks Fifth Avenue, Coach, Chanel, Cole-Haan and many others.
  • Fortuna's Shoe and Luggage Repair, in Bethesda, MD. Their Florence trained leather craftsman can replace or repair:Handles, Chains, Straps, Leather Threaded Chains, Snaps, Corners, Frames,Catches, Bottom Studs, Loops,Zippers, Linings, Draw Straps...
  • Artbag,a New York-based company, repairs and restores damaged purses. To find out how it works logistically and how much it may cost read their FAQ pages. According to In My Bag, many top retailers send their customers to Artbag for repairs.

Do-It-Yourself Tips & Tricks

Uh-oh!! Bag-ccident? Was it a nasty pen mark on your Pucci or denim dye on your Dior? There are thousands of bag cleaning tips & tricks out there, but which ones really work? Share your best bag cleaning secrets below!
Handbag Repair - Handbags
CHALLENGE: Margarita winecooler on leather purse .
SUGGESTION: Dab a mixture of hydrogen peroxide and soap
on the stains, rinse and air dry.

: grease on coated canvas
SUGGESTION: baby wipes

CHALLENGE: Ink pen on suede.
SUGGESTION: Ice and then a little bit of dishwasher soap.
WHAT HAPPENED: Holy moly. It bled a bit and then came out but it looks a little rough there. I tried removing a stain from a fabric purse with dishwasher soap. It ruined it! The stuff is like bleach. Be very careful with it.

Handbag Repair - HandbagsCHALLENGE: Ink pen on leather
SUGGESTION: Pen is just about impossible to get out of leather (especially lambskin!). Dab hydrogen peroxide on the pen marks with a Q-tip.
WHAT HAPPENED: A black pen broke on my white leather Chanel purse. I was completely disheartened (and cried for about 30 minutes straight). I got to work quickly and used hydrogen peroxide very carefully applied with a Q-tip. After an hour, the ink blots were remarkably lighter, however, it also brought up some of the dye from my purse and caused some finish damage! Hydrogen peroxide will usually do this, so be very careful when using it on colored purses!

CHALLENGE: Denim dye rubs off on light colored leather.
Dark denim jeans are all the rage, but they'll ruin your light colored leather purses!
SUGGESTION: Girl, don't fret. These marks are superficial and easy to remove. I used Bally's Shoe Milk (I can't seem to find it available online) and rubbed it off my green lambskin Chloe Betty Bag very gently with a a soft shoe cloth (came with the Shoe Milk).
WHAT HAPPENED: None of the color came out of the purse, but the denim dye came up in minutes. The Shoe Milk solution is a cream, so if you can find some similar leather cleaner, it will lift those stains up in no time.

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