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How to Clean the Suede Interior of Handbags

by Kimberly Johnson, studioD

Lipstick, ink, food and dirt can leave the inside of your handbag looking like an art project gone bad. If your posh purse liner is made of suede, getting those stuck-on stains out will require a creative approach. The key to removing stubborn suede stains is fluffing up the natural nap, which releases the dirt from the fibers. While cleaning the inside may require some minor acrobatics, the result is a handbag you don’t have to hide.

Remove all items from inside your handbag and set them aside in a safe location.

Hold the bag over a trash can and turn it upside down. Shake the bag briskly to remove all crumbs and foreign matter.

Hold the bag open with one hand and insert a suede brush into it with the other. Move the brush in quick, side-to-side motions to fluff up the nap of the suede. Continue brushing until you cover the entire inside of the handbag. If you don’t have a suede brush, use a terry cloth towel instead.

Examine the suede carefully to identify any stained areas. If needed, direct the beam of a flashlight into the handbag to illuminate it.

Scrub any visible stains, using a suede eraser or a pencil eraser. Move the eraser in a side-to-side motion using short, brisk strokes. Turn the bag upside down over a trash can when you are done and shake out the eraser remnants.

Apply 1 tablespoon of white vinegar to a white towel. Gently dab the vinegar onto any remaining stains inside the bag until they come out. Reapply vinegar as needed and turn the towel to a fresh section often to prevent from transferring the stains back onto the purse.

Spray the interior of the handbag with a light layer of suede protectant spray to prevent further staining.

Wait until the interior of the bag is dry and reinsert all items bag inside.

Items you will need
  •  Suede brush
  •  Flashlight
  •  Suede eraser or pencil eraser
  •  White terry cloth towel
  •  White vinegar
  •  Fine-grit sandpaper (optional)
  •  Suede protectant spray


  • If the handbag design allows, turning it inside out makes cleaning the interior much easier.
  • You can also remove stubborn suede stains using a piece of fine-grit sandpaper. Rub the sandpaper over the stain very gently. Do not rub hard, as this may remove the fibers and leave a bare spot on the purse.
  • If stubborn stains remain on the suede interior, visit a dry cleaner to have them removed.

About the Author

Kimberly Johnson is a freelance writer whose articles have appeared in various online publications including eHow, Suite101 and Examiner. She has a degree in journalism from the University of Georgia and began writing professionally in 2001.

Photo Credits

  • Stockbyte/Stockbyte/Getty Images