How to Clean a Fabric Handbag

by Tiffany Silverberg
Don't let the fear of stains stop you from using your fabric handbag.

Don't let the fear of stains stop you from using your fabric handbag.

Even your most treasured handbag is not immune to the tragedy of spilled sippy cups and a baby spitting up, unless you hide it away in a museum-quality glass vault. There's no fun in that. You got that handbag so you could show it off and tote it around. It's stylish. It's a symbol of your fashion and finesse. Throw that bag over your shoulder, and head out to the school, the park, the pool or the gym, unafraid of the barrage of life. With some cleaning tips and a hot handbag, you can do anything.

Items you will need

  • Paper towels
  • Baking soda
  • Dry cleaning solvent
  • Vacuum
  • Toothbrush
Step 1

Isolate the stain or spot as much as possible. Pull out any inserts in the handbag and unfold anything tucked near the spot. You need to pull away any clean fabric from the stained fabric

Step 2

Lay the stained section on a stack of paper towels. If the spot is wet, cover the stain in baking soda and leave for 20 minutes. Shake off the baking soda into a sink, and repeat until the area is nearly dry.

Step 3

Pour some dry-cleaning solvent onto a clean paper towel, and dab the spot to remove any additional stain. Scrub the stain if necessary, but don't move into any clean areas or push the stained area onto a clean area, to avoid spreading the stain.

Step 4

Cover the spot in baking soda again, and leave for 20 minutes. Shake off the baking soda, and repeat until the solvent and stain are lifted.

Step 5

Vacuum the spot to remove any residual baking soda. Brush with the toothbrush to lift the baking soda particles.


  • If the manufacturer's instructions allow, throw the bag into the washing machine to remove any solvent. Lay flat on paper towels to dry.

About the Author

Tiffany Silverberg has written grants and copy materials for over three years. She graduated from the University of California Berkeley with a degree in linguistics. Silverberg has conducted research regarding language development in deaf children and worked as the lead reporter at the Kingsville Record and Bishop News in Texas.

Photo Credits

  • handbag and hats image by Charlie Rosenberg from