Tips for restoring your designer bags


Whether you’re dealing with minor hardware scratches, cracking and flaking, or even tears in the leather, the shape of your items can make or break an outfit —or the possibility for you to resell your bag.

That’s why it’s so important you take care of minor or significant imperfections before you take them out of your closet. If you choose to take the bags to your local cobbler, you run the risks of further damaging the items and you may be presented with a huge bill simply because they’re probably experts in shoe repairs and belts but haven’t a clue about pre-owned designer bags by Chanel, Dior, and Gucci. If your goal is to continue wearing the bag, the safest bet is always to take the bag to the original designer maker and cough up the bucks for the repair work.  It may be a pretty penny however this is because you are taking it back to the mother ship and allowing the experts to do what they do best, and also this ensures the no impact to the authenticity. 

While we’re not here to suggest you take on huge price tag or major restoration projects on your beloved bags, we’ve got a few tricks up our sleeve to help you out. And if your prized possessions need more help than a little DIY project can offer, we strongly suggest you contact two of our favorite expert leather repair businesses that we love: Rago Brothers and Leather Surgeons.

Bag Cleaning Tips & Tricks

Remove oil-based stains: Use a mild solution consisting of one part dish soap to 10 parts water and gently apply it to the stain with a wet white cloth or a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser. Then rinse and let it air dry.

Remove scratches and marks in patent leather: Grab a clean Q-Tip and use it to apply a leather scuff remover solution to the bag and then buff it out with the Q-Tip. Afterward, use a clean cloth to remove any leftover residue.

Remove scratches in leather: For most leathers, you can easily buff out the scratches using a microfiber cloth, but you can also cut a small piece of Mr. Clean Magic Eraser and lightly scrub it out too.

Remove hardware scratches: While you’ll need to consult the pros to expertly remove hardware scratches, you can reduce the appearance with a polishing pen or apply a polishing solution to a microfiber cloth and gently buff the hardware a few times. Remove the residue with a clean cloth.

How to remove water stains from leather: Using alcohol-free and fragrance-free baby wipes, gently rub over the watermark in a circular motion for about 10 seconds and let the spot air dry.

Sticker residue: If you have sticker residue on either microfiber, suede, or similar textile interior, you may be able to remove some of it by brushing the material with a suede brush, but it’s important not to apply any moisture as it could stain the fabric.

Remove smells: To remove musty, mildew, or smoky smells in older bags, use charcoal or a bag of open coffee beans to absorb, rather than mask, these scents. Put a few briquettes of charcoal or coffee beans in a small bowl, or place inside pantyhose, tie it up and leave it in the bag for a few hours.

Pen and ink stains: Apply a mixture of one-part mild laundry detergent or gentle dish soap and 10 parts of water to a clean white cloth or use a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser. Then gently rub the spot in a circular motion until it starts to disappear and allow it to air dry.

While you can try these methods at home, the pros at Leather Surgeons and Rago Brothers or the original designer maker(s) are still your best bet, especially if you’re dealing with tears, broken hardware, difficult stains, a slouchy silhouette, replacement parts, luxury vintage pieces, and more.


Content and images for this blog post have been sourced and referenced from LePrix.

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