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Tips to prolong the life of your Designer handbags

How to store and protect designer handbags: 7 tips to ensure they last for years

You’ve spend 1000s of Rand on your designer handbag collection and you want to make sure you can enjoy these pieces for years to come. Continue reading to learn some of our favourite tips how to keep your designer bag collection looking pristine.

  1. Use dust bags

Most designer bags come with a dust bag. Always store your bag in its original dust bag to protect it from dust, dirt, and scratches. It’s a small extra step to take them out and put them away, sure, but well worth it if it means that you can enjoy your favourite bags for longer!

If your bag didn't come with a dust bag, consider using a soft, breathable fabric bag (for example 100% cotton) to shield it from environmental elements.

  1. Help the bag keep its shape

Most designer handbags are crafted from beautiful leather or other delicate materials and are not designed to be folded. Help it keep its shape by stuffing it with acid-free tissue paper or fabric scraps. It’s advisable to avoid bubble wrap as it prevents air circulation and can set up conditions for mold and mildew, especially if you live in a humid environment, and may react with the leather causing damage over time. This helps prevent creasing and maintains the bag's structure. Do not use newspaper or other printed paper to avoid any colour transfer from the ink on the beautiful interior of your bag!

If you don’t have any tissue paper on hand, you can also use your socks or unused scarves or other soft items to stuff your bags.

If your bag has empty spaces, like pockets or compartments, fill them with soft items (e.g. scarves) to maintain the bag's shape.

Some people like to use hanging storage. While it can be convenient for a short while, it's advisable not to leave them hanging for extended periods, as it can cause strain on the handles and distort the shape. The same goes for leaving a full and heavy bag hanging for extended periods. It’s best to store them on a flat surface.

For bags with metal hardware, it’s advisable to wrap the hardware in a soft cloth to prevent scratches or damage during storage. Heavy chain straps or embellishments can easily tent your beautiful bag.

  1. Keep them out of direct sunlight

Handbags set out on a shelf are nice to look at but not practical…Store your bags in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight. Prolonged exposure to sunlight can fade colours and damage materials.

Humidity can be detrimental to the materials of your designer bag. Store it in a cool, dry place to prevent mould or mildew growth.

  1. Always clean after use

It’s of no use storing your precious handbags correctly, if you put them away all dirty and soiled. It goes without saying that you should always handle your designer bags with clean hands to avoid transferring oils, dirt, germs or makeup onto the bag's surface. And it is equally important to gently clean them after use and before storage. I like to give my bags a gentle wipe down with a soft, damp cloth after every use to remove any oils and dirt and ensure it’s ready for the next outing. For leather bags its best to use a soft, dry cloth.

You can also pick up a leather handbag cleaning kit if you prefer. Just be sure to allow your handbags to dry before storing. If you like you can also occasionally moisturize your bags to keep the leather soft and subtle and prolong your bag’s lifespan. But beware, do not over-clean them!

  1. Rotate your collection

If you have a collection of designer bags, consider rotating their use. Sure, we all have that one favourite handbag we always gravitate towards and it just goes with everything. It’s fun to sometimes mix things up and if you felt like being in a style rut, this might just be the small change needed to make you feel excited about your outfits again. Added bonus:  This prevents any single bag from experiencing excessive wear and tear.

  1. Regularly air your bags out and check them

Periodically take your bags out of storage or just open the cupboard door to air them out. This helps prevent any musty odours and ensures the bag stays fresh. And while you are there, give them a quick glance over to ensure there are no signs of deterioration.

  1. Use a bag insert

A bag insert helps keep the bags inside pristine and also helps maintain the shape of the bag. Nasty scratches from keys or an accidental pen mark – no more! Bag inserts can be bought online  - or if you are crafty, you could even attempt making your own. They often have compartments, making it easier to organize your belongings, which can be very handy if your bag does not have them.

If you cannot get hold of a bag insert, you can also use a small pouch instead.

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