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Cleaning and restoring handbags: Removing ink stains from interiors and linings

By: Stu Bloom

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RAVE FabriCARE in Scottsdale, Arizona cleans and restores handbags and other accessories stained with ink

An ink stain on the interior or lining of a handbag is amongst the most difficult of all stains to remove

Ink stains are tough

 

The most frequent stains found on the interior or linings of handbags, purses, wallets and backpacks is general soiling and liquid spills as well as oil, cosmetic and ink stains.

As a general rule, these types of soil and stains — with the exception of ink stains — can be removed or remediated.

One of the most difficult stains to remove from the interior or lining of an accessory is ink.

The reason why ink is so problematic is because of the number of variables involved and the thousands of combinations of those variables:

  • type of ink (water-based, oil-based, oil- and water-based combinations, permanent, etc.)
  • type of pen (ballpoint, gelled, rollerball, highlighter, magic marker, check safe, etc.)
  • type of skin or material (suede, leather, patent leather, canvas, nylon, cotton, etc.)
  • quality of skin or material
  • color of skin or material
  • type of finish on skin or material. 

Most of the handbags we see arrive with a similar story: I just throw my pens into my handbag. Most of the ink stains are small blotches and lines but, occasionally, a pen leaks.

Ignore the Helpful Heloises

 

Your first stop on the way to recovery might be the internet. Just google “ink stains on the interior or lining of a handbag” and you’ll find a host of suggested miracle cures — all guaranteed to remove the ink from the interior and linings of a handbag or other accessory.

These suggested miracle cures will range from from rubbing alcohol, hairspray, perfume and nail polish remover to dish washing liquid, mayonnaise, baby wipes and white erasers.

Almost every one of these suggestions comes from someone who has either used one of these products themselves or knows of someone who has. And their stated results vary from “I was completely successful” to “I ruined by handbag”.

The fascinating part is that every recommendation seems to come with a warning: The suggestion may or may not work.

In other words, go play Russian Roulette with your high-end handbag or other accessory. If it works great; if not, tough luck. Just don’t blame me. I’m just trying to help.

The problem with these DIY miracle cures is that the suggested miracle cure rarely produces a satisfactory result.

The problem for handbag specialists is even more challenging: not only do we have to remove the the ink stains, but we also have to deal with all the additional stains and skin and/or material damage caused by the products that have been used in the unsuccessful attempt to remove the ink.

Bottom line

 

The restoration of a handbag with ink stains on the interior or lining involves science, art, skill and experience. Not a suggestion from some Helpful Heloise who wouldn’t dare apply that very same suggestion to their own high-end handbag, purse, wallet or backpack. 

Transformations

 

The following two examples illustrate the results that can and cannot be achieved.

In the case of the Gucci handbag, the results were excellent (although a small trace of permanent ink remained).

In the case of the Bottega Veneta handbag, the faux suede lining could not be cleaned  (the lining would disintegrate with the application of any liquid cleaning agent) and required a full replacement.

 

Example: Gucci GG fabric/leather trim handbag with blue dye transfer on the exterior and ink stains on the canvas interior lining

The results of the transformation can be seen in the following BEFORE and AFTER photographs:

RAVE FabriCARE in Scottsdale, Arizona cleans handbags and other accessories with ink stains on the interior or lining. This example is of a Gucci GG fabric/leather trimmed handbag.

For even more BEFORE and AFTER photographs on the transformation of this handbag, please view our slide show below:

To view this slide show on a full screen, hit the X button with the arrow tips.

 

Example: 1980s Bottega Veneta leather handbag with ink stains on the faux suede interior lining. As faux suede linings cannot be cleaned, our client elected to replace the lining with a light beige canvas lining white retaining all the original hardware.

The results of the transformation can be seen in the following BEFORE and AFTER photographs:

RAVE FabriCARE in Scottsdale, Arizona cleans handbags and other accessories with ink stains on the interior or lining. This example is of a Bottega Veneta handbag with ink stains on a faux suede lining. Because faux suede linings cannot be cleaned, our client elected to replace the lining, keeping the original hardware.

For even more BEFORE and AFTER photographs on the transformation of this handbag, please view our slide show below:

To view this slide show on a full screen, hit the X button with the arrow tips.

The takeaway

 

The takeaway from this post is simple: 

Handbags, purses, wallets and backpacks with ink stained interiors and/or linings can, in most cases, be cleaned and restored but only if cleaned by hand. And then only by a cleaner who

  • specializes in cleaning and restoring handbags, purses, wallets and backpacks,
  • employs full time handbag cleaning specialists and
  • completes all work on premises (does not ship the work to an unknown, undisclosed, out of state subcontractor).

In Arizona, there is only one cleaner who meets these 3 criteria: RAVE FabriCARE in Scottsdale.

By the way, if you don’t live in the metro Phoenix area, all is not lost. We ship throughout the USA and Canada.

Send us your photos for a free, no-obligation evaluation and price guesstimate.

 

What’s been your experience cleaning and/or restoring handbags, purses, wallets and/or backpacks with ink stains on the interior or linings?

 

Photo credit: flickr.com/Chris Lott

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Filed Under:

Handbags, Purses, Wallets & Handbags

Author

Stu Bloom

Stu Bloom is Founder and President of RAVE FabriCARE. RAVE FabriCARE, based in Scottsdale, Arizona, cares for fine garments, household textiles and accessories and serves clients throughout the USA and Canada. Stu is the author of various ebooks on these subjects, all of which are available from www.ravefabricare.com/freestuff. He is an evangelist for true quality cleaning and is a contributor to and editor of True Quality Cleaning, RAVE FabriCARE’s blog. You can find Stu on Twitter, Google+ and LinkedIn.

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Additional Resources:

http://ravefabricare.com/services/handbags-purses-wallets-backpacks/

http://ravefabricare.com/cleaning-restoring-handbags-removing-exterior-ink-stains/

http://ravefabricare.com/cleaning-restoring-handbags-sometimes-only-option-replace-lining/

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