RAVE FabriCARE's True Quality Cleaning Blog

Straight talk about caring for your fine garments, household textiles and accessories
from experts who call things like it is. In plain English.

Shoe repair shop handbag cleaning: Exercise caution

Shoe repair shops offer $5 to $10 shoe shines. Cleaning and restoring handbags is a vastly different process.
By: Stu Bloom

If you’re going to drop off a handbag, purse, wallet or backpack at a shoe repair shop for cleaning, we’d suggest that you exercise caution.

Why?

Because shoe repair shops are in the business of repairing and shining shoes. And, because they “sew leather”, some offer luggage and handbags repair. A few even offer “handbag cleaning”.

The rationale for offering handbag cleaning is that “we know how to shine shoes” and that “there’s no difference between shining shoes and cleaning handbags.”

The problem for the owners of high-end handbags, purses, wallets and backpacks is that shoe repair shop typically won’t invest the time necessary to hand clean, condition, refinish and sanitize the exterior of a handbag and hand clean and sanitize the interior of a handbag.

In this blog post, we illustrate this point with an example of a handbag that was “cleaned” by a shoe repair shop and then reworked by a handbag specialist. The difference is night and day.

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Cleaning and restoring handbags: Killing the germs should be part of the process

A professional cleaning of your handbag should involve killing the germs hiding inside your handbag
By: Stu Bloom

You rest your handbag on the floor or seat of your car, on the floor of a restaurant, cafe, bar or movie theater, on the counter at a retail store, on a desk top at an office, on a kitchen counter, and a host of similar locations.

Bacteria transfers from these surfaces to your hands and to the exterior of your handbag. And from your hands and the exterior of your handbag to the interior of the handbag when you dig for something.

All of which points out the need to clean clean both the exterior and interior of your high-end handbags, purses, wallets and backpacks on a more frequent basis.

In this post, we discuss why every handbag cleaning specialist must incorporate a deodorizer, sanitizer and virucide as part of their cleaning process.

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Cleaning and restoring sports memorabilia: Sporting patches

RAVE FabriCARE restores vintage sporting patch featuring the hydroplane, Miss Seattle, a two-time Gold Cup Winner
By: Stu Bloom

Collecting vintage sporting patches occupies a relatively small corner of the entire market for sports memorabilia.

We restored a sporting patch that was in relatively poor condition: the fabric was fragile and exhibited rust, grease stains and yellowing associated with poor storage over the years.

In this blog post, we illustrate the results that can be obtained through professional restoration.

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Cleaning and restoring handbags: Sometimes the only option is to replace the lining

Replacing stained, soiled and/or torn linings can transform a handbag from unusable to perfectly wearable
By: Stu Bloom

Stuff happens.

The lining of your favorite handbag, purse, wallet or handbag gets soiled from general usage and/or stained by a cosmetic, pen, beverage, candy and the like.

In most cases, these stains and soils can be removed by gentle hand cleaning.

On occasion, however, the accumulated soils and/or stains are so extensive and/or so ingrained that no amount of hand cleaning is going to return the lining to “like new” condition. At this point, it’s appropriate to consider replacing the lining.

In this blog post, we illustrate this idea with the transformation of a white Chanel handbag from disastrous to perfectly wearable.

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Cleaning and restoring a custom-made vintage silk coat

The restoration of a vintage garment requires skill, judgement and process. And often, a healthy dose of compromise and luck.
By: Stu Bloom

When you’re restoring a garment, household textile or accessory of historical significance, maintaining the integrity of the original components (color, buttons, hardware, linings, etc.) is critical.

When you’re restoring a garment, household textile or accessory for your own use, you might need to compromise in order to achieve the result you desire.

In this blog post, we illustrate this point by guiding you through the restoration of a 40 year old, blue silk coat. While the results exceeded our client’s expectations, the rotted lining could not be restored and required replacement. In other words, we compromised to achieve the desired result.

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Cleaning and restoring handbags: Returning discolored white handbags to brilliant white

Soiled or yellowed white leather or leather-trimmed handbags can be restored to brilliant white with professional cleaning
By: Stu Bloom

White leather handbags, purses, wallets and backpacks are the perfect accessory.

The only problem, however, is that white tends to magnify soil, stains, scratches and scuffing. White also tends to yellow over time when improperly stored.

The internet is awash with Do-It-Yourself cleaning products that are “guaranteed to produce a professional result in the comfort of your own home”. And let’s not forget every shoe repair shop that offers “handbag cleaning” on the side.

The bottom line is that you may need the professional help of a handbag specialist. Particularly, if your handbag, purse, wallet or backpack is a high-end brand. And particularly if it’s white.

In this blog post, we illustrate the results that can be achieved with professional cleaning and restoration.

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Cleaning and restoring sports memorabilia: Signed Muhammad Ali Robe

RAVE FabriCARE entrusted to restore a signed Muhammad Ali robe in poor condition
By: Stu Bloom

Many collectors of sports memorabilia own textile-based memorabilia — jerseys, jackets, shorts, robes, sporting patches and the like. Typically, they’ll display these textile-based memorabilia in display boxes.

For the most part, these displays are esthetically-pleasing. In other words, they look good.

The problem is that, despite all your best intentions, these artifacts may be deteriorating (and losing value) with each passing month.

That’s because of factors such as exposure to natural or artificial light, physical contact with acidic woods or plastics used in the construction of these display boxes, proximity contact to acids that off-gas from these woods and plastics over time, lack of air circulation, and the like.

In this blog post, we highlight the destructive nature of mounting textile-based sports memorabilia — such as a signed Muhammad Ali robe — in a display box that’s not archival using mounting techniques that are not archival. We further explore the results that might be achievable through professional restoration.

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Do-it-yourself handbag cleaning: Exercise caution

DIY leather and suede cleaning products are a dime a dozen. In most cases, that's all they're worth.
By: Stu Bloom

If you’re going to clean your leather or leather trimmed handbag, purse, wallet or backpack at home with any type of “cleaning product”, we’d suggest that you proceed with caution.

Why?

Because there is an element of experimentation involved with using these cleaning products. The outcome is often a crap-shoot. Maybe it works, maybe it doesn’t. You’ve got a 50:50 chance of getting it wrong and the consequent results can be disastrous.

In this blog post, we illustrate this point with a Tory Burch leather handbag that was cleaned at home with one such “cleaning product”. Then we show you the results that can be achieved with the application of the right skills, judgement, products and processes.

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