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Handbags -- no matter the shape or size -- truly are the perfect marriage of style and utility, fashion and function. Just the right bag can go a long way to define your style, yet keeps everything you need in arm’s reach. But almost any clutch can start to show signs of wear with time, especially when it’s a favorite. To keep your clutch looking like new, it often comes down to how you care, clean and store the bag.
Caring for Your Clutch
Minimizing the wear on a clutch begins with paying close attention to where your set it. Floors, tabletops and bars are often fraught with dirt, debris and spills that can stain otherwise pristine fabric. The same can also be said for your hands. A little foundation, lipstick or liner left on the tip of a finger can soil your favorite bag. Keep your clutch next to you or on your lap when out and about, and always wash your hands after freshening up your makeup. What goes inside your clutch can also wreak havoc on its outside. Double check the cap of any pen you’re putting back into your handbag. Better yet, don’t even bother keeping them in your favorite bag. Ink stains are troublesome for professional cleaners to get out, let alone a layperson like yourself. If you must carry a pen, consider keeping it a re-sealable plastic bag. As with the cap of pen, twist tight the lids of containers containing any liquid, such as mouthwash, cold medicine, nail polish and perfume.
Moisturizing Your Clutch
Another good habit to get into with a clutch is moisturizing its leather. Many designers have moisturizers formulated for their specific fabrics, so invest in one for your leather clutch — or any leather handbag, for that matter. Ask a sale associate where to purchase and how often to apply. Before applying, however, test along an inconspicuous spot. You never know how the fabric will react to the product.
Cleaning Your Clutch
To keep your clutch looking fresh, wipe it down with a little baby wash from time to time, suggests Meurice Garment Care. Mix a drop or two in about 8 to 12 ounces of water and transfer to a spray bottle. Spray the mixture on a microfiber cloth and wipe away the grime. If you spill something on your clutch, blot it as soon as it happens. Leaving it for later lets the stain really set in, while rubbing a can make a stain much worse. When you get home, follow up with a little leather cleaner. Like moisturizers, many handbag lines have cleaning products formulated for their specific fabrics. If one isn’t available, you may also be able to use a standard leather cleaner or saddle soap. "Dry” stains, on the other hand, should be left to the professionals. This would include anything from lipstick to wax to oil-based cosmetics. Trying to clean these mishaps on your own could ruin a perfectly good bag.
Storing Your Clutch
Before storing a clutch, always stuff it with tissue paper or even newspaper to help maintain its shape. This is especially important for your leather or cloth clutches. From there, slip it in a dust-bag. Most high-end purses come with them, making care and storage much easier. If a bag wasn’t included with your purchase, put the clutch in a pillowcase when not in use. Storing any handbag this way not only keeps it free of dust but also slows fading and prevents color transfer from another purse sitting next to it. Prop the clutch upright on a shelf and never stack it atop another. Storing handbags one on top of the next can really do a number on their shape, adding to the wear and tear of the fabric. For those clutches with a shoulder strap, resist the urge to hang it on a hook. The weight can stretch out the strap and pull on the stitching, which could eventually fray and split the fabric.