How We Clean and Restore a Designer Leather Handbag The Right Way

Its 2am on a Saturday night at the Gansevoort. Your having a blast with your girlfriends, maybe a little to much fun. You spill a drink on your Jimmy Choo, you drop your Prada in a puddle, you set your Hermès on an icky seat. These are the realities of being fabulous in New York.  For those that are fashion conscious in this city, accidents are bound to happen to your designer handbags. A great handbag is an investment to your style and social life and needs to be cared for. Luckily there are trained experts who can clean and restore your designer handbag the right way.

For those minor day to day stains that happen, a great emergency spot clean technique is to use some baby wipes. Baby wipes are a fantastic way to lift up drips and spots and help to ensure they don’t eventually set in.  For those stains that can’t be blotted off or areas that have serious wear and tear to the material, it may take a lot of work to get it back to its original glory. When this happens your going to want to take it to the professionals.

Because a handbag cannot be dry cleaned the traditional way, they have to be cleaned by hand. When we receive your item our staff meticulously examines the entire handbag to determine how to move forward with the cleaning and restoration.

Bulgari Bag examined for stains

There are two types of stains, “water based” and “oil based”. We always test in a small area of the handbag to see how we need to approach the stain removal. For water based stains, a cleaning agent is used. This wet approach works well for stains like food and various condiments. Our agents act as degreasers and lift out the lesser oily stains. Then we go over the spots with various tools to see if they can be brushed or scraped off.

leather bag cleaning restoration with scraper

The worse the stain is or depending on the material of the handbag, we may use a different approach towards the restoration.  For stains like lipstick or salad dressing spots, most likely they will need  a bit of  dry cleaning.

For items like patent leather and vinyl, dye from jeans pose a real problem to the finish of the material. Dyes from jeans transfer onto handbags as you walk and typically don’t want to come out, especially from light colors such as cream or white. The best thing for this is preventative care. Be mindful of the materials you wear when going out and how they will affect one another. If you have just bought some really dark denim jeans, you dont want to go out with light colored shoes or accessories.


After we spot clean the handbag, we check for any open seams, tears, or any damage to the fabrics and skins of the handbag and carefully repair them.

Ripped Bulgari Bag Repaired

Next we meticulously match the leather finish to the original color of your handbag. If you go to your local store and try to purchase leather finish, your most likely going to find either black or maybe a cream, and there is no guarantee the colors will match your handbags original color. Our staff works with a rainbow of colors to ensure a proper match.

leather bag coloring

To get the handbag restored to its original beauty, it takes a lot of trial and error to get the colors just right. Our expert Hassan painstakingly matches the color so your handbag looks as good as when initially purchased it.

Designer Bag Color Match

Designer Bag Restoration color

For this particular handbag, the tone had gradations from darker pink to lighter pink. To get this just right, Hassan will use various techniques like airbrushing to match the color.

matching bag color

After we have finished matching the color,  the handbag is moisturized and hung to dry.

The best care for your handbag is always preventative care. Be mindful of your surroundings when you go out. Watch out for areas where you rest your handbag. Be mindful off its contents as well. Ink, lipstick and other oil based products are difficult to get out, even at the hands of a professional so be careful. Make sure you put all stainable products in their own container like a small makeup or pen/pencil case.

For long term care keep your bag moisturized with a non staining moisturizer. Remember, leather and suede are animal skins and will dry and crack if not looked after. You should never store your handbag in any air tight plastic containers. Your handbag must be able to breath to maintain itself. The best thing to do is store the bag in light fabric covering. This will allow it to breathe and keep it secured from dust.

22 Comments

  1. sharon Harriston
    Posted October 29, 2010 at 5:10 pm | Permalink

    My orange patient leather purses was seating next to my black patient purese. The black patient dye got into my orange patient purses.

    Help!

  2. benjamin
    Posted December 7, 2010 at 10:58 am | Permalink

    Depending on how bad the stain is, some of it may lighten up but patent leather loves to stay dyed. Patent leather is leather with acrylic applied on top of it. What happens is the color that bleeds onto it is not really coloring the leather but coloring the plastic on top of it. Getting color out is not very possible. You can someties help lighten areas a little but not much.

  3. naomi herring
    Posted October 6, 2011 at 3:11 am | Permalink

    Hi there are some darker stains on the bottom of an LV alma I purchased as well as a few water marks on the monogram leather. Do you guys restore or clean Louis Vuitton? Would you be able to clean this bag? I can provide pictures.

  4. yanna almonte
    Posted December 25, 2011 at 7:01 pm | Permalink

    Hi,

    I have a leather Dooney&Bourke. I think it is crocidile skin. It is a color between gray and beige, but the leather is dirty and it looks darker. Also, the zipper is ripped and it might need some stiches in on of the corner. Can you let me know if this could be fix and what is the estimate price for this services. I have a shoulder bag •L 8″ W 4″ H 6.25″

  5. Posted February 6, 2012 at 5:51 pm | Permalink

    Hi, I have a british tan Dooney Bourke sling backpack and it
    shows leather wear on the piping in three places at bottom of bag. Can this be fixed. Thanks so much…

  6. A
    Posted January 28, 2013 at 1:54 pm | Permalink

    Hi, I recently noticed stains on my gray Coach patent leather handbag. One of the stains looks like the “best if used by” stamp that is found on food items. I’ve tried several cleaning tricks to no avail. Is there something that I can do to lighten or remove the stains?

  7. Charlene Folsom
    Posted February 17, 2013 at 11:39 am | Permalink

    How do you reshape the flat bottom of a sagging purse?

  8. Brenda
    Posted April 3, 2013 at 10:44 am | Permalink

    Help i need to restore my Prada handbag it is a Patent Tan leather. how much will this bag cost to restore please let me know Thank you

  9. CL
    Posted July 21, 2013 at 2:56 pm | Permalink

    Hi is this bag worth restoring ? Thanks for your advice…if so what would the price be, apprx. ?

    http://www.fashionphile.com/FENDI-Nappa-Leather-Spy-Chocolate-31111

  10. Posted August 7, 2013 at 3:26 am | Permalink

    i have a vintage all weather dooney and bourke bag thats light blue but the british tan on the outside rim has faded because of rub marks on the leather . can you fix that piping ?? please reply back thanks

  11. connie
    Posted September 2, 2013 at 5:18 pm | Permalink

    had my nails done today, sadly, the manicurist spilled some acetone on my new coach bag; is there any hope for me?

  12. eileen askew
    Posted September 16, 2013 at 11:41 am | Permalink

    I have a 20th. Anniversary tignanello purse that I have used everyday. It’s a small hobo purse, about 13″ x8″high. the color is worn from the handling over the years and I would like to have it restored. can send pictures if requested.can you redo the color? purse has no scratches or marks on it. lining is worn, but thats incidential, just trying to get it recolored. Thank You
    Mrs. Askew
    ealaskew@gmail.com

  13. Yahaira vivieca
    Posted November 20, 2013 at 9:28 pm | Permalink

    The patent gold leather label on my coach purse looks like someone painted over it with beige paint. I tried to clean it and made it worse. Is there any way to fix this?

    Thank you

  14. jhay salazar
    Posted January 10, 2014 at 2:04 am | Permalink

    Hi, i have a chanel vintage bag but the leather inside already cracked, can u fix it?how much? pls advice tnx

  15. Diana
    Posted March 30, 2014 at 8:06 am | Permalink

    I have a beautiful grey patent leather coach purse that has been heavily used and the section where the hands go constantly to close the magnetic button and of course the handels when held hand show signs of color fadings and when I went to clean it with a palmolive dish soap application the affected area turned orangie and now it is more noticeable than ever, what can I do.
    thank you for your prompt reply

  16. Vivian
    Posted May 8, 2014 at 11:51 pm | Permalink

    I have my LV alma monogram canvas handbag. The bottom corner part of my purse has a water stain and some scratches i would like to know how do i cost for the cleaning of my purse.

  17. PC
    Posted May 17, 2014 at 6:53 pm | Permalink

    What is the name of the non staining oil you treat leather bags with?

  18. Lanny
    Posted May 22, 2014 at 12:49 am | Permalink

    Hi,

    I have a MINI Blue Juliette Cross body Shoulder Bag Louis Vuitton.
    May i know how much does it cost to clean it? It has a slight yellow discoloration.

    Thank you.

  19. J. Farry
    Posted June 5, 2014 at 9:48 am | Permalink

    I have a yellow Sak shoulder leather bag. Needs cleaning. But I also had a spot on the bag where I attempted to remove an ink mark and the color came off. Little bigger than a half dollar spot. Can the bag be repaired and what is an approximate cost for such. Thank you.
    J. Farry

  20. Donette
    Posted July 21, 2014 at 11:09 pm | Permalink

    I was carrying my Yellow Ralph Lauren tote yesterday and some how my black shirt rubbed of on it in several places. I reall like the bag. Would it be possible to fix? And how would it run?

  21. Nay
    Posted July 31, 2014 at 8:10 pm | Permalink

    My black patent leather bag transferred color onto my purple patent leather bag. Can this be fixed? Help!!!!

  22. Doris Swanson
    Posted August 12, 2014 at 4:35 pm | Permalink

    I have a rare antique white leather purse. No stains or wear. The age of the bag has dimmed the bright white of the leather. It is not due to wear, just age. Is there a solution to this? What would the charge be?

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