How to take care of your bags

By Deneb R. Batucan
Illustration: Bern Fabro

 

THEY carry what we hold dear — supplies that are deemed imperative to our daily lives. And sometimes, they take a beating as we tend to overstuff them and fill them to the brim. So it’s an absolute must that we take care of them as well. After all, they hold the things we consider essential.

Bags are a part of our everyday wear, whether for practical or stylish reasons. There are dozens of different type of bags and many ways to keep them clean and last long. But here are the most common types of bags and how to keep them looking brand-new every single day.

Illustration: Bern Fabro

Suede

Suede is a tricky material as it absorbs liquid, which means it’s very susceptible to stains. Use a clean and dry cloth and rub it all over the bag to clear surface marks and water spots. Then with a suede brush or a soft toothbrush, dust the inside and outside of the bag. After cleaning it, you can condition the bag with suede conditioner to make it look brand new. Rub gently with short and steady strokes. For stains, use a soft pencil eraser or fine-grade sandpaper to rub them away. For storage, place suede bags in a dust bag to keep from deteriorating.

Leather

One of the most traditional materials that are made into bags, leather is both stylish and durable, which means leather bags are almost always a classic. Most bags today are already made from patent leather or colored leather, but still it takes the same kind of effort to keep leather bags at top shape.

Use a damp white cloth to clean the surface of the leather bag. Don’t use too much water as leather can take hours to dry. Use a leather cleaner one or two times a year to keep your bag clean. Remember to apply the cleaner in a circular motion and wipe off with a slightly damp cloth so it won’t clog the pores of the leather.

Patent leather is more durable than traditional leather but it’s notorious for color transfers, so don’t let it rest with similar bags or on other surfaces without a dust bag or pillowcase. Colored leather can lose its vibrant color the more it’s exposed under the sun, so store them in a dust bag inside a dark closet.

For bags made of traditional leather, use bubble wrap to hold its shape.

Vinyl

What’s wonderful about vinyl bags is that their inherently waterproof. But like leather, it should be away from extremes of heat and cold and be stored in unprinted crumpled paper and inside a dust bag.

Unlike leather, vinyl doesn’t need regular maintenance. The less you do with the material, the better. So if there are stains, clean them with a damp cloth and wipe it dry immediately and hang it or put it in an area with good air circulation to dry.

Fabric/Canvas

For sturdy fabric bags, it’s best to clean it by hand. Empty the bag and get rid of the interior and exterior dust. After, take a clean, soft white cloth and dampen it. Don’t use colored cloth as it could bleed dye into the fabric. Wipe down the bag rigorously. If stains and soils remain, add a few drops of canvas cleaner, dish detergent or Castile soap into a quart of water and use a white cloth to rub away the stains. Allow the bag to dry in a cool place away from direct sunlight or heat.

For soft fabric bags, use cool water and gentle soap. Do not wring as it could destroy the shape of the bag. Rinse and allow to air dry.

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