Handbag cleaning done right. Whether there is a specific stain or just an overall “grubbiness” we can usually help restore your handbag back to “clean and beautiful” for you. We have great experience in cleaning most leather types and many of the fabrics used in handbag making.
We use a cleaning system developed by years of practical work within the industry, we get all our cleaning products from Uniters SpA, based in north Italy, in the heart of the leather and handbag manufacturing region. This gives us great confidence in our techniques and processes to achieve safe and reliable results for you.
In addition to cleaning we also offer an odour removal service, I think that cat urine is the most common request here, though vomit and milk are also reasonably frequent culprits too!
Handbag Cleaning costs begin at £35.00 plus postage, though exact prices will vary with complexity of the challenge we face.
In recent months we have been asked about what we can do to restore handbags which have been damaged quite severely by attempted theft, or accidental damage due to ‘bags getting caught in car doors or dragged along the road etc. In most cases the best thing is to look at each individual handbag and decide what the best course of action could be, sometimes things are just uneconomic and would require a total rebuild from the start.
We have successfully restored several “family heirloom” handbags, which have deteriorated over many years of use, we can usually do something to help make these useful once again, without losing the cherished appearance that age gives a vintage handbag. One leather type we cannot restore if the gloss has been lost is “patent”, very high gloss leather, unfortunately there are no techniques that we have found to successfully match the original mirror gloss look to this leather.
Vintage fabric handbags can be restored, as long as the fabric is not too fragile or damaged before we get hold of it. Seams can be remade, components refreshed and dirty marks removed – again, it will depend on the condition and extent of the damage as well as the fabric type used originally.
Other, non handbag, items we have worked on include: Vintage binocular case, briefcases, suitcases, shoes and boots and motorcycle leathers. Garments such as jackets and hats have also been repaired by us too.
As you can imagine, giving a price “menu” for this sort of work is very likely to be inaccurate, simply due to the variety and degree of difficulty that there will be between each example. The best thing to do is send us a message, with some photos and we’ll get back to you with our ideas and estimate of cost.
We can repair many of the common and not-so-common faults that occur either by accidental damage or simple wear and tear through use. These include the replacement of zips, replacing buckles, clasps and rivets. Sam Browne fixings, magnetic closures, pop-studs and so all are available from us. Even if we can’t obtain the exact replacement (many manufacturers are very reluctant to supply components with their brand on) we can usually get something that will look great and work just as well for you.
Clasps and buckles on handles can often be repaired or replaced, if you can keep any broken parts and send them in with your ‘bag we may be able to re-use some parts for you.
When the seams have parted or corners have come apart we can help, by careful selection of threads and sewing techniques we can blend the repair into the original to make an invisible repair. When the seam has become damaged (usually on corners where they have rubbed away) we will use repair products to replace lost leather, use colours and finishes to conceal the repaired section for you.
If the handles have broken or just not looking as they should we have several techniques to re-enforce the handle and repair the piping etc around the damaged area. Leather strap handles that have become too damaged to repair are replaced with new leather, and if required we use new poppers, rivets or Sam Brownes to fit it back to the ‘bag.
Handbag linings do get a hard life sometimes, and eventually they can get so damaged or stained that the ‘bag becomes unattractive and unused. We can replace many lining types, we use synthetic, very strong but light, materials for the linings, many colours are available, we select the most suitable or will be guided by you. Not all linings are simple to do, however, it does depend on the way the ‘bag was constructed at the factory, so we do need to see the ‘bag before confirming whether we can help or not.
Zip replacement starts from £60.00
Components – from £30.00 for example.
Lining replacement – from £70.00
Seam and corner repair begins at £45.00.
Here are a few pictures of some of the previous work undertaken for clients.
Firstly, these suggestions are based on our experience from many years of dealing with accidental damage and stains that happen to handbags. They cannot be universally guaranteed or used without your accepting that you do so at your own risk We cannot be held responsible for their success or any consequent effect brought about by their use. No two handbags are identical and it is your responsibility to read and understand the instructions fully before attempting these remedies.
Secondly: Don’t Panic! Calmly read through our suggestions and procedures before starting.
Thirdly: Whatever the incident here are some golden rules for every occasion: Never rub at a stain with anything. Always dab with a clean white paper towel/napkin/kitchen roll. Gentle padding will lift any liquid into the cloth rather than spread it wider over/into the surface. If you see the surface changing, losing colour/dye or beginning to look rough – stop, pad dry and leave alone until you can contact us for further advice.
Coloured napkins etc. should not to be used as they can leak their colour into your leather or fabric, making matters worse for you.
Damp or wet leather and fabric is “weaker”, less rub resistant, than dry, which is why you should never rub a stain because the surface will be damaged and need much more restoration later.
Food spills: Remove as much as you can with clean white kitchen towel or napkin. Try to lift the spill away from the surface rather than smear/spread it over a wider area. Use a spoon or blunt edged knife to lift off any lumpy bits. Next, with a moist white paper towel or similar, gently dab any remaining food from the surface, work from the outside toward the centre of the mark, turning the towel to use fresh surface every time. Dry with another pad of paper towel, pad, not rub, leave to dry. If you can, use a hair dryer on a cool setting to dry the affected area, this will help reduce the risk of water marking or tide marking.
Liquids: Use a pad of white paper towel to lift of the excess liquid, do not rub, pad it away. If a mark remains use a moistened paper towel to gently rinse the stain away, alternating with a dry pad to lift the stain/water out, and repeat as necessary. Don’t rub it! Allow to dry, with a hair dryer if possible, on a cool setting.
Makeup: Lift off any larger bits with an edge of a spoon or blunt knife, try not to spread it across any more of the surface. Try a corner of a moist tissue to see whether you can lift any more of the makeup off the surface. Do not attempt to rub the surface with makeup remover, nail varnish remover or any kind of solvent. Contact us if the stain still remains.
Vomit and urine (cats are often guilty of doing this) should also be dealt with similarly – if you have the stomach for it. Also see the lining section if there is any inside the ‘bag.
This leather has a nap or “fuzzy” surface that you can feel with your hand, and it changes shade depending on how the nap is moved around.
This leather is very absorbent and is really quite susceptible to spills and stains, particularly from anything greasy.
However, as a first aid remedy – try and remove as much of the spill as you can by using clean white paper towel, a blunt edge spoon of knife can help, if used carefully so as to not damage the surface. If you have been able to remove the worst of the spill by padding with a dry towel you could try using a moist towel to gently pad any residual liquid away – working from the edge to the centre and dry carefully with a cool hairdryer. If the nap has become rather “flat” as a result you can dry brushing it with a soft-bristle brush – a clean toothbrush can be quite useful. Contact us for more specific advice if required.
Fabric: There are so many types of fabric used in handbag making that we are having to be very general and circumspect about what we can advise. The safest way to deal with fabric is to read any instruction or information that came with the bag when you bought it. Failing that try a hidden area of the fabric before using any cleaning method/product – test to see if any of the fabric colour transfers to the cloth, if you do see some, stop and seek professional help.
Silk: If the bag is made from real silk then there is very little that you can do, silk becomes extremely weak when wet, and can be very quickly spoiled by even gentle rubbing, so only ever dab it dry with a folded pad of clean white paper towelling. You will need to get professional help to deal with anything that remains after padding, sorry. Generally, it is recommended to use solvents (“dry” cleaning) to remove greasy stains, which is why we suggest getting in touch with us if you have a silk handbag.
Other fabrics should also be treated gently, removing any excess that you can by use of a blunt edge spoon of knife, dab away any liquid with a pad of dry white paper towel, if you notice any dye that matches the colour of the bag coming out into the paper, stop immediately, otherwise you will leave a pale faded area behind. Seek professional cleaning advice instead. Gently dry fabrics with a cool hair dryer to reduce water/tide marking.
If the lining can be pulled inside-out from the ‘bag then you may be able to rinse this under a cool tap, taking care to keep the outer dry, to remove spilled stuff from within the ‘bag, pat dry with a paper pad and allow to dry with the lining still outside the ‘bag.
Large volumes spilled into the ‘bag, pint of beer, large glass of wine, plates of food etc. Try and empty it as quickly as you can by turning the ‘bag upside down, catching all your valuables before they disappear, spoon or gently scrape any solid stuff out too. Depending on how the lining is attached you may be able to pull the lining out and you might be able to rinse the worst away under a cool tap, being careful not to get the leather parts wet. Dry with clean towel, and inspect for any extra bits you can clean again, pad dry again and leave to dry with the lining still pulled out of the ‘bag itself.