All GCC bags will eventually need to be cleaned.  Cleaning by hand is the best way to restore your bag.  All GCC bags that have been made with outdoor fabric were already pretreated in the factory where the fabric was made.  All other home decor and quilting fabric has been sprayed by Gina using Scotch Gard.  (Retreat yourself in ~ 6 months) Never wash in a washing machine or a dryer. 


First Steps for Cleaning Any Type of Handbag

Begin by emptying all pockets, opening all zippers and clasps and shake well upside down to remove dirt and trash.  Next, if possible, pull the interior of the bag to the outside or turn a fabric bag inside out so you can see the lining.  Use a lint roller to capture dust and crumbs. You can also use the fabric brush attachment on a vacuum to tackle the interior.  The vacuum works great on exterior fabric.


Canvas or Fabric Handbag Care

For an overall cleaning, after you have emptied the bag and taken the first steps to get rid of interior and exterior dust, find a clean, soft white cloth (colored cloths could bleed dye onto the fabric). Begin by dipping the cloth in plain water and wring out the excess. Wipe down the bag completely. You will be amazed at what just some water will remove.  Because the bags have been pretreated, you need to be sure to do this type of cleaning periodically to stay on top of any dirt that might be on your bag.  If you wait too long to wipe down your bag, the dirt will actually embed into the treated fabric even more than on untreated fabric.  So, stay on top of the dirt and grime from everyday use. 

If stains and soil remain, add a few drops of commercial canvas cleaner, dish detergent or Castile soap to a quart of water.  Use this mixture on the white cloth to rub away heavily soiled areas.  Keep moving to a clean spot on the cloth as grime is transferred.  Follow up by rinsing the cloth well and wiping away any detergent residue.

Allow the bag to air dry in a cool place away from direct sunlight or heat. If the bag will not hold its shape while damp, fill with white tissue paper.  Don't use colored paper or newspapers since ink can transfer. Do not use the bag while it is damp, as damp fabric picks up stains more quickly than dry fabric.


For hardware on the handbag, use a good quality metal polish or brass cleaner to help bring back the shine.  This will work best if you use a light hand because most of the hardware is simply plated base metal.  Dip a cotton swab in the polish and apply to the metal.  Use a clean soft white cloth to buff away the tarnish.  Be very careful to keep the cleaner off the handbag fabric as it can cause discoloration.


For specific stains on the interior lining or exterior fabric, use as little of the recommended cleaning products as possible and take your time. It is much better to retreat than to use too much product that damages or leaves residue on the fabric.

Once dry, press with appropriate temperature.  If you have a bag that is made from outdoor fabric, then it is probably polyester.  If this is the case press with a cool iron.  All other bags are generally made from cotton and can be pressed with a warm iron. 

Waxed Canvas Bags

If you need to remove dirty spots or stains simply use a soft scrub brush. For stubborn spots it is okay to use a mild bar soap or saddle soap. It is best to allow fabric to air dry. You will notice that by folding and creasing waxed canvas it creates burnishes or "craze marks" which is a part of the unique character of waxed canvas.  Only use heat from a hair dryer to restore the uniform surface.

Handbag Care Tips

  • Retreat GCC fabric bags with a protective spray like TexGuard or Scotchguard to ward off stains ~ 6 months after purchase

  • Keep makeup in a sealed waterproof bag/make-up bag, within your purse.

  • Never store handbags in plastic bags. Use an old pillowcase or cotton bag to prevent dust from accumulating during off-season storage.

  • Stuff bags with tissue paper when not in use so they will keep their shape.

  • Do not hang. Store upright or lie flat to preserve shape.

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