When you keep things like lipstick, pens and creams in your handbag, you often end up with accidental stains on the lining of your purse. Follow these five simple steps to clean them up and avoid spreading makeup stains all over your bag.
Never soak your purse in water
Many tips for removing lipstick, foundation and pen stains from clothes will tell you to keep a towel on the other side of the fabric to transfer the stain to. And they will usually also end by telling you to put your clothes in the washing machine after you’re done scrubbing.
This won’t be possible for most handbags. High-end purses and bags will normally have the lining stitched down, so you can’t turn it inside out.
And let’s all please put the idea of washing an expensive leather purse in a machine in the trash where it belongs. Don’t soak leather, or the leather fairy will come to you at night and steal your handbags (they deserve a more caring owner after all).
Ask the producer for cleaning instructions
Most high-end purses will have a lining made from either suede leather or microfiber, but sometimes, it will also be made of cotton.
You should always check with the producer of your purse if they have a recommendation for cleaning. Unfortunately, many won’t say much because there is always a risk that whatever you use to clean stains from your purse lining can damage it further.
Luckily, there are some guidelines you can follow to get stains like foundation, lipstick or ink out of your handbag lining.
Step 1: Dry
First, make sure that the stains are dry and that you have taken as much off it with a dry tissue as possible. If lipstick or ink is still wet, it has a tendency to spread the stain further, and you end up damaging the inside of your purse even more.
Use clean tissue paper and gently press it against the purse lining. If you see any colour come onto the paper, keep on pressing new, clean paper against it until the stain is completely dry.
Step 2: Brush
If the lining of your purse is made of microfiber, you have an additional step of brushing the stain before you do anything else. You can either use a microfiber brush or a toothbrush.
For many stains, this will be enough to clean the lining, as particles of the stains get lifted off the suede and microfiber. Continue brushing until you don’t see anything else coming off the stains.
Step 3: Dab with a q-tip and a cleaner
When you wash the stain, you want to contain it as much as possible, meaning you don’t spread it out to other parts of your purse lining. You do this by putting the cleaning agent on a q-tip and dabbing the stain.
You will likely see that some of the stain come off the lining and transfer to the q-tip instead. Change to a clean q-tip so you don’t get any of the colour back onto the bag again.
You will likely have to try out different cleaners depending on what your stains are made from. But a good rule of thumb is to go from less strong to stronger.
Lipstick: dishwashing soap
It can be easy to get lipstick stains on the lining of your purse if you throw your lipstick into a big room in your bag along with everything else. Lipstick will be most easily removed with makeup remover, a specialist stain remover or a mix of dishwashing liquid with water.
Depending on the size of the stain, you can rub the liquid over the lipstick using either a q-tip or a toothbrush. You might have to rinse the stain and put on more cleaning solution more than once.
Foundation: makeup-remover or dishwashing liquid
Foundation and other makeup are made to stay on your skin and can be tricky to get out of fabrics like suede or microfibre in particular. But like lipstick, it will be oil-based, and you can use the same cleaning methods here. Try using either a makeup remover, micellar water, a specialist stain remover or dishwashing liquid.
Ink stains: rubbing alcohol
Pens can make stubborn little stains that are difficult to get rid of. You can begin by soaking a q-tip in stain remover and follow the same steps as for removing other stains, but you will sometimes have to resort to rubbing alcohol if that does not work. Use small amounts at a time and make sure you dry the lining as you go so you don’t end up with water stains instead.
Step 4: Wash
When you have removed as much as possible of the stains from the lining of your purse, you should try giving the rest of the lining a gentle clean.
Use a microfiber cloth that is just gently dabbed in water with a bit of detergent on.
Wash the lining gently and try to make sure you don’t soak the lining completely as you could end up with water stains.
If you still have some stains left, you could use a toothbrush to scrub over the purse lining to try to remove any leftovers. Only do this if you have removed almost everything before, as the stains are less likely to move to other parts of your purse lining.
Step 5: Dry
Make sure you dry the purse lining quickly, so you don’t end up ruining it. You can use a towel to pat it dry and then leave it open to dry on its own, or you can try using a hairdryer.
If you use a hairdryer on microfiber lining, make sure you keep the heat on low and don’t let any part of the lining become excessively warm. Heat can ruin microfiber, so be careful with it.
All stains won’t come off completely
You might have to come to terms with the fact that there will still be small marks from the makeup stains left on your purse lining. While microfiber can be easier to clean than suede leather, some types of stains, like from a pen, are almost impossible to get rid of completely.
Please avoid things like bleach, vinegar, nail polish remover or hairspray completely as they have a high likelihood of ruining the lining of your purse.
- Read more about how to clean the inside and outside of a leather purse here.
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- Try these tips to keep your handbag organised.