How to Clean the Suede Interior of Handbags

by Jaimie Zinski

Harsh, abrasive detergents will permanently damage suede.

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Many brands of high-end handbags provide an extra layer of luxury by lining their pieces with suede. Created from the underside of a split piece of leather, suede features a soft finish, or nap, that is prone to discoloration if exposed to moisture and friction. Maintain the value of your investment by cleaning and caring for the suede lining of your handbag properly. If the handbag is labeled “dry clean only,” don't attempt to clean the suede interior. Instead, seek the assistance of a professional.

Items you will need

  • Suede brush
  • Soft-bristled toothbrush
  • Suede eraser
  • Pencil eraser
  • Washcloth
  • Small bowl
  • White vinegar
Step 1

Remove all the contents from the handbag and set them aside. Turn the handbag inside out, and shake it gently to remove any small pieces of paper, dirt or other debris.

Step 2

Lay the handbag flat, and clean off any loose dirt or debris with a suede brush or a soft-bristled toothbrush. Using back-and-forth, noncircular motions, gently rub the suede with either brush to not only remove the dirt but to restore the suede's nap.

Step 3

Examine the suede for any water marks or stains. Rub a suede or pencil eraser over the stains. Suede erasers are available from shoe stores and leather retailers and will disintegrate while eliminating the stain or water mark.

Step 4

Dampen the corner of a washcloth with water. Dip the washcloth into a small bowl filled with white vinegar. Wring out the excess liquid, then dab at any stains not eliminated by the suede or pencil eraser. Continue to gently work the vinegar into the stain until it's eliminated. Dampen a different corner of the washcloth with water, and dab at the suede to rinse out the vinegar.

Step 5

Allow the interior of your handbag to dry completely before using it again.

Photo Credits

  • Jupiterimages/Creatas/Getty Images

About the Author

Residing in Chippewa Falls, Wis., Jaimie Zinski has been writing since 2009. Specializing in pop culture, film and television, her work appears on Star Reviews and various other websites. Zinski is pursuing a Bachelor of Arts in history at the University of Wisconsin.