About 95 percent of handbags can be cleaned (inside and out) using a cloth dampened in mild soap or detergent solution. Wipe dry, taking care not to wet the handbag any more than necessary. The shoulder strap, grip or handle gets the most body contact, so let the solution sit there for a minute to dissolve and eliminate skin oil, hand lotion and perspiration. Never store a leather handbag above or below a plastic one, as the plastic bag will absorb dye from the leather bag and become permanently stained.
Evening bags: Beaded bags should be treated with care, as one broken thread can cause you to lose beads. To clean white-beaded bags, dust them with talcum powder and wrap in a folded towel. Leave for 48 hours, then lightly brush off the powder.
Fabric: Most can be washed using Eucalan Woolwash and warm water, applied with a cloth. Wipe clean with a damp cloth and air dry.
Leather: These require a gentle cleaner, such as saddle soap or a cream leather cleaner, available at any shoe repair shop. Rub in and wipe out using a soft cloth. Buff with a clean cloth.
Patent leather: Patent leather scratches very easily, so use a patent leather cleaner and apply it with a slightly damp, very soft cloth.
Plastic: Sponge clean with a damp cloth lightly coated with a high quality household soap. Removal the soapy residue with damp cloths. Dry, spray with silicone wax and buff.
Straw: Vacuum to remove any dust. If necessary, wipe using a cloth dipped in neutral cleaner solution, then wipe clean with a damp cloth. Hang to dry, but take care to avoid sunlight which will shrink the straw.
Suede handbags: Use a suede brush to remove mud and dirt. If the mud or dirt gets worked into the bag, your best bet is to have the bag professionally cleaned by a dry cleaner or wet cleaner. To protect your bag from staining materials, you can spray on suede protector (available at shoe stores or shoe repair stores). There are a couple ways to raise a flattened nap. First, you can rub it lightly with fine sandpaper. Alternatively, you can lightly steam the bag by holding it over boiling water in a shallow pan (i.e. a frying pan). Dry, then raise the nap with a sponge or suede brush. Do not steam for more than a couple minutes, as prolonged steaming can dissolve adhesives.