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How To Clean A Fabric Handbag


by Dorian Weems



Welcome to our comprehensive guide on how to clean a fabric handbag! Your handbag is not just a fashion accessory but also a daily companion that carries your essentials. Over time, it is inevitable that your handbag will gather dirt, grime, and even the occasional stain. However, with proper care and cleaning, you can keep your fabric handbag looking fresh and extend its lifespan.


In this article, we will take you through the step-by-step process of cleaning your fabric handbag, from gathering the necessary supplies to maintaining it for long-term use. Whether your handbag is made of canvas, nylon, or other types of fabric, these cleaning tips and techniques will help you restore its original beauty.


It is important to note that cleaning methods may vary depending on the material of your handbag. We recommend consulting the care tag or manufacturer’s instructions before proceeding with any cleaning process. Additionally, for delicate or high-end designer handbags, it may be best to seek professional cleaning services to avoid damaging the fabric or any embellishments.


Now, let’s dive into the world of fabric handbag cleaning and learn how to keep your beloved accessory spick and span!


Gathering the necessary supplies

Before you begin the cleaning process, it’s important to gather all the necessary supplies to ensure a thorough and effective cleaning of your fabric handbag. Here are the essential items you’ll need:

  1. Mild detergent: Opt for a gentle detergent that is suitable for delicate fabrics. Avoid using harsh chemicals or bleach, as they can cause color fading or damage the material.
  2. Soft-bristle brush: A soft-bristle brush will help remove dirt and debris from the surface of your handbag without scratching or damaging the fabric.
  3. Microfiber cloth: Use a microfiber cloth to wipe away excess dirt and to gently buff and dry your handbag after cleaning.
  4. Warm water: You’ll need warm water to mix with the detergent for spot cleaning and overall cleaning of the fabric.
  5. Cotton swabs: Cotton swabs will come in handy for targeting and removing stains in hard-to-reach areas of your handbag.
  6. Talcum powder or cornstarch: These powders are great for absorbing grease and oil stains. They can be used as a pre-treatment before cleaning.
  7. Stain remover: Consider having a stain remover specifically designed for fabric on hand. This can help tackle stubborn stains that regular cleaning methods may not completely remove.

Having these supplies prepared and readily available will make the cleaning process much more efficient and ensure that you have everything you need to effectively clean your fabric handbag. Now that we have all the necessary tools, let’s move on to preparing the handbag for cleaning.


Preparing the handbag

Before you start cleaning your fabric handbag, it’s important to properly prepare it to avoid any potential damage. Here are the steps to follow:

  1. Empty the contents: Remove all items from your handbag, including wallets, makeup, and personal belongings. This will allow you to clean the bag thoroughly without any obstructions.
  2. Check the care instructions: Take a look at the care label or any manufacturer’s instructions that came with your handbag. This will give you guidance on specific cleaning methods or precautions to take based on the fabric and construction of your bag.
  3. Test in an inconspicuous area: Before applying any cleaning solution or technique to the entire bag, it’s important to test it in a small, hidden area. This will ensure that the cleaning process does not cause any damage or discoloration to the fabric. Choose an interior or less visible part of the handbag, and perform a spot test with your chosen cleaning method.
  4. Protect delicate components: If your handbag has any delicate embellishments, such as beads, sequins, or embroidery, consider protecting them during the cleaning process. Cover them with a soft cloth or plastic wrap to prevent damage or snagging.
  5. Remove detachable parts: If your handbag has any removable straps, handles, or accessories, take them off before cleaning. This will make the cleaning process more manageable and prevent them from getting damaged or tangled.

By going through these preparation steps, you’ll ensure that your fabric handbag is ready for a thorough cleaning without risking any damage. Now that the handbag is prepped, we can move on to spot cleaning any stains that may be present.


Spot cleaning stains

Spot cleaning is an effective method for tackling specific stains on your fabric handbag. Whether it’s a coffee spill, ink mark, or makeup smudge, here’s how you can address common stains:

  1. Blot the stain: Use a clean, absorbent cloth or paper towel to gently blot the stain as soon as possible. This will help remove any excess liquid or residue without spreading the stain further.
  2. Avoid rubbing: It’s important to avoid rubbing the stain vigorously, as this can push the stain deeper into the fabric or cause it to spread. Instead, use gentle blotting motions to lift the stain.
  3. Spot cleaning solution: Depending on the type of stain, you can create a homemade spot cleaning solution using mild detergent and warm water. Mix a small amount of detergent with warm water until it forms a soapy solution.
  4. Apply the solution: Dip a clean cloth or sponge into the soapy solution and gently dab it onto the stain. Be careful not to oversaturate the fabric, as excessive moisture can cause damage.
  5. Blot the stain: After applying the cleaning solution, continue blotting the stain with a clean cloth or paper towel. This will help lift the stain and remove any remaining residue.
  6. Rinse with water: Once you have successfully removed the stain, dampen a clean cloth with water and gently blot the area to rinse away any soap residue.
  7. Air dry: Finally, allow the spot-cleaned area to air dry naturally. Avoid using a hairdryer or applying direct heat, as this can cause shrinkage or damage to the fabric.

It’s worth noting that certain stains may require specialized stain removers or professional cleaning. If the stain persists or if you’re unsure about treating it yourself, it’s best to consult a professional cleaner or follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for stain removal.


Now that we’ve addressed individual stains, let’s move on to deep cleaning the fabric of your handbag.


Deep cleaning the fabric

Deep cleaning your fabric handbag is essential to remove dirt, oils, and build-up that may not be visible on the surface. Here’s how you can give your handbag a thorough cleaning:

  1. Prepare a cleaning solution: In a basin or sink, mix a small amount of mild detergent with warm water. Be sure to follow the instructions on the detergent packaging for the appropriate ratio.
  2. Immerse the handbag: Submerge your fabric handbag in the cleaning solution, allowing the fabric to soak for a few minutes. Gently swirl the bag around to ensure all areas are being cleaned.
  3. Clean the exterior: Use a soft-bristle brush or a sponge to gently scrub the exterior surface of the handbag. Pay extra attention to any areas that appear particularly dirty or stained.
  4. Interior cleaning: If the interior of your handbag is fabric-lined, use the brush or sponge to clean the inside as well. Be cautious when cleaning any pockets or compartments to avoid damaging any lining or stitching.
  5. Handle and straps: For fabric handles or straps, gently scrub them with the brush or sponge. Take care to clean all sides and angles, as these areas can accumulate dirt and oils from frequent use.
  6. Rinse thoroughly: Once you’ve finished cleaning, rinse the handbag thoroughly with clean water to remove any residual detergent.
  7. Remove excess moisture: Gently squeeze out any excess water from the handbag. Avoid wringing or twisting the fabric, as this can cause stretching or damage.
  8. Drying the handbag: Place the handbag on a clean, dry towel or hang it on a clothesline in a well-ventilated area. Allow it to air dry completely before using or storing.

It’s important to note that not all fabric handbags are machine washable. Always check the care label or manufacturer’s instructions to determine the recommended cleaning method for your specific handbag. If machine washing is suitable, use a gentle cycle and place the handbag in a mesh laundry bag to protect it from getting caught or damaged.


By following these steps, your fabric handbag will receive a deep cleaning, leaving it refreshed and ready for use. Now, let’s move on to the final steps of drying and maintaining the handbag.


Drying and maintaining the handbag

Proper drying and maintenance are crucial to preserving the longevity and appearance of your fabric handbag. Here are the steps to follow:

  1. Avoid direct sunlight: When drying your handbag, ensure that it is not exposed to direct sunlight, as it can cause fading or discoloration of the fabric. Find a shaded area or dry it indoors.
  2. Pat dry: After rinsing and squeezing out excess water, use a clean, absorbent towel to pat dry the surface of your handbag. Gently blot away any remaining moisture.
  3. Reshape if necessary: If your handbag has lost its shape during the cleaning process, carefully reshape it while it is still damp. Stuff the bag with tissue paper or a clean cloth to help maintain its form.
  4. Avoid heat sources: Never use a hairdryer, clothes dryer, or direct heat source to dry your fabric handbag. High heat can cause shrinkage, warping, or damage to the fabric and any adhesive or embellishments.
  5. Natural air drying: Allow your handbag to air dry naturally in a well-ventilated area. This may take several hours or even overnight. Ensure that it is completely dry before storing or using it again.
  6. Storage: When storing your fabric handbag, it’s important to keep it in a cool and dry place. Avoid crowding or stacking other items on top of it, as it can lead to creasing or distortion of the shape.
  7. Dust protection: To prevent dust accumulation, consider storing your handbag in a protective dust bag or a pillowcase. This will help maintain its cleanliness and protect it from light exposure.
  8. Regular maintenance: Keep your fabric handbag looking its best by regularly removing debris, dust, and dirt from its surface. Use a soft brush or a lint roller to gently clean the exterior, and occasionally wipe the interior with a clean, dry cloth.

By following these drying and maintenance tips, you can ensure that your fabric handbag remains in top condition and lasts for years to come. Proper care and attention will keep it looking fresh and ready to accompany you on your adventures.


We hope this guide has been helpful in providing you with the knowledge and steps to clean your fabric handbag effectively. Remember to always refer to the care instructions specific to your handbag and exercise caution when using any cleaning methods or products. With proper care, your fabric handbag can continue to be a stylish and reliable accessory for your everyday needs.


Happy cleaning!



Cleaning a fabric handbag is essential to maintain its appearance, cleanliness, and longevity. By following the step-by-step guide outlined in this article, you can effectively clean your handbag and keep it looking fresh and new.


Starting with gathering the necessary supplies, such as mild detergent, a soft-bristle brush, and a microfiber cloth, you ensure that you have everything you need for a thorough cleaning. Preparing the handbag by emptying it, checking care instructions, and protecting delicate components sets the stage for a successful cleaning process.


Spot cleaning stains using gentle blotting, homemade spot cleaning solutions, and careful rinsing helps tackle specific stains without causing damage. Deep cleaning the fabric involves creating a cleaning solution, scrubbing the exterior and interior, and rinsing thoroughly before air drying.


Proper drying and maintenance, including patting dry, reshaping, and avoiding direct heat sources, are crucial for preserving the handbag’s quality. Storing the handbag in a cool and dry place, using dust protection, and performing regular maintenance will keep it in excellent condition.


Remember to always consult the care label or manufacturer’s instructions specific to your handbag. Certain materials may require specialized cleaning methods or professional care.


With the knowledge and techniques provided in this comprehensive guide, you can confidently clean your fabric handbag, keeping it clean, fresh, and ready to accompany you on your adventures for years to come. Happy cleaning!