Caring for Your Handbag

Leather Care

Here at VVA we are certain you will want to keep your beautiful VVA hand crafted handbags in pristine condition. We thought the following information would help you but if you have any questions on the after care of your handbag please do contact us on and we would be delighted to assist.

Keeping your Handbag Clean. 

The kind of cleaning treatment you should use depends on the type of leather that VVA have used in your hand crafted handbag. Most VVA handbags are made in grain leather, pigskin, cow furs or patent leather. The following information should give you some hints on keeping your handbags clean, and remember the most important thing is not to pop them in the washing machine – our handbags will really hate that!

The most common stains to remove from handbags are finger marks, but simple regular treatments will stop them from building up into unsightly stained areas. 

Grain leather

  •  Regularly dust or brush with a soft brush, or wipe clean with a slightly damp cloth.
  •  You can use cleaners or polishers but make sure you stick to the manufacturer’s instructions and always test product in a small non visible area just in case.
  • Once or twice a year the handbag should be wiped with a damp cloth. It should then be given a very light treatment with a proprietary polish, and finally rubbed up with a soft clean cloth.

Patent leather bags

  • Clean with a damp cloth, plus a little neutral detergent if needed.
  • Do not use a wet cloth as it will cause streaks on the patent leather.
  •  Polish using a dry soft cloth.


  • The linings in our handbags are pig skin which is a type of suede
  •  If you wish you can spray the interior lining with an anti-stain protector but again please test before becoming liberal with your spraying!
  • If the bag does become stained you can use a suede shampoo to gently clean the interior - our Dahlia handbags are very soft so they are easy to turn inside out if you wish.
  • Before you do anything make sure you test the products that you are going to use.

Cow Hair on or Fur

  • Regularly dust or brush, shaking gently as this will remove dirt particles. Use a slightly damp cloth and wipe over in the direction of the fur/hair.
  • For very dirty areas you may use a small amount of shampoo on a damp cloth and wipe over the areas of dirt. Wipe off with a clean damp sponge and leave to dry at room temperature.

Wear and Tear…

Wear and tear is normal and whilst VVA use the best premium leathers, over time your leather will age and develop a beautiful patina. This is usual leather handbag behaviour. Here are some hints to keep your bag looking timeless:

  • Leather is natural so keep it out of direct sunlight and don’t leave near radiators as these will dry the leather out. Should this happen you can spruce the handbag up by applying a natural leather cream (testing again first though as you don’t want unexpected colour change). Apply and brush with a soft cloth.  
  • Getting wet – in the UK you can expect a few showers so a wet handbag is inevitable. If your handbag catches a shower wipe over with a dry cloth. If it gets a deluge then wipe it over with a soft cloth and stuff it with newspaper to help keep the shape and leave it to dry out. Do not put on a radiator or in the airing cupboard as these are both very dry places and will cause the leather to stiffen. Once dry you can use a natural leather cream to smooth out any water marks. If it's fur or hair on cow then give the handbag a good shake and wipe over with a dry cloth and leave to dry.
  • Colour is injected into the leather during the tanning process and it will in time rub off or lose its brightness. This is normal. In small areas (normally at the corners) you can touch up with a leather dye (Dylons shoe dye works well). We do not recommend that you attempt to re dye a full handbag yourself and should you wish to do this then there are a number of companies that specialise in leather dying. 
  • Your clothing can rub off on to handbags (particularly dark indigo jeans) be wary of this and remove dye with a damp cloth
  • Cow hair on fur will rub off with constant use so it’s always a good idea to style and wear your handbag in different ways so that the rubbing is not uniform across your handbag
  • Never spray perfume or hair spray near any of your leather handbags. It’s almost impossible to reverse the damage or remove the smell from leather. 

 Dealing with Grease Marks.

  • Wipe any surplus grease off your bag immediately with a clean dry cloth or tissue.
  •  A grease spot will absorb into the leather over time but if you wish to clean it use a mild neutral soap and water and dampen the spot and the area around it. Don’t rub to hard (this will take the colour out) and don’t use to much water. Allow it to dry and then polish using a soft cloth and natural leather cream.
  • If you stain your bag with something which does not easily come off other washable surfaces (such as red wine, or ink from a pen) please use the correct leather remover or contact a handbag specialist cleaning company. 

Storing a VVA leather handbag…

Make sure the bag is emptied out, particularly make sure you haven’t left any old lipsticks that might leak! Try to flatten it and make sure that there are no creases that might deepen when the bag is stored. It’s not a good idea to put them in plastic as this can lead to discolouration in the leather, so wrap in tissue paper and then pop the handbag into the VVA storage bag and store it out of direct sunlight and heat – somewhere like the top of your wardrobe.

We hope this information helps you keep your VVA hand crafted handbag in tip top condition. If there is any information that you do need we would be delighted to assist.