How to Upkeep Your Pre-Loved Designer Bags


Investing in pre-owned designer pieces is a big deal, but sometimes it can feel like a gamble. Of course, you can read the descriptions and spot tears, broken zippers, and discoloration in the photos, but what about the wear when you get it home? We’re talking about real life scenarios: stains interior (that pesky lip gloss explosion, again?!) stickiness, scents, and small hardware scratches. These are all of which are common in pre-loved pieces, but when the you take it our for regular usage in addition to what you've accepted when you purchased the item, then what? Luckily, you’ve got lots of options.

While we’re not here to suggest you take on major restoration projects on your beloved bags, we’ve got a few tricks up our sleeve to help you prepare your new-to-you bags for your arm. 

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 your local cobbler 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.

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