Our Guide to Disinfecting Your Leather, PVC, and Canvas Handbags

Your handbag carries all your precious belongings, which means you likely hold it tight and keep it by your side at all times. Unfortunately, unless you disinfect it regularly, handbags usually carry 10,000 types of bacteria, often without us knowing it. Given the increased emphasis on the importance of hygiene, it’s more crucial than ever to disinfect our handbags. Our hands are primary carriers of germs, and the next thing we touch is our handbags, making them a breeding ground for bacteria and viruses.

It can be tempting to soak your bags in alcohol or baby wipes, especially when trying to wipe away accidental spillages. However, leather, PVC, and canvas handbags all have different disinfection protocols, and using the wrong product can ruin your bag beyond repair. 

How to Clean Leather Handbags

Leather can be tricky to clean, but it takes around 15 minutes or less to disinfect it. All you need is a lint roller, a medium-sized makeup brush, two clean rags (preferably white), and warm water.

To start cleaning, wash your hands properly, then wear disposable gloves and a mask to protect yourself from the particles that will come off your leather bag. Empty your bag of its contents and use the makeup brush to dust over the nooks and crannies that host germs, like inside seams, bag handles, and pockets. A soft brush is necessary to avoid scratching up your bags.

Use a lint roller to clear your bag of tiny debris like dust and food particles. If you don’t have a lint roller, masking tape should do the trick. Then, grab your clean rag and make it damp with warm water, but make sure not to soak it. Use light circular motions to clean the bag’s exterior. Pay extra attention to the handles and bottom parts of the bag since they’re exposed to the most number of surfaces. Be sure to clean the hardware as well.

Lastly, use your other dry rag to remove the bag of excess water. Allow the bag to air dry and avoid using hairdryers. Do not leave it under direct sunlight since this will damage the bag.

How to Clean PVC Handbags

PVC cannot be thrown into the washing machine, which means you’ll need to disinfect them by hand. Use cool water and gentle detergent when doing so, and as always, do not put them under direct sunlight. You can use alcohol or hand sanitiser on any PVC or plastic handbag, but make sure not to overdo it. Warm water and soap are best for disinfecting it. 

How to Clean Canvas Handbags

Canvas and nylon handbags are easy to wash, as you can simply toss them in your washing machine for a 10-minute cycle. Before you do so, be sure to empty it of its contents and double-check the pockets for hidden debris. Then, put your bag in a net laundry bag and set your washing machine to use cool water on a gentle cycle. When exposed to heat, nylon shrinks, so you’ll want to avoid that happening to your precious bag.

Allow your canvas bag to air dry and turn it inside out. Do not leave it under direct sunlight or use a hair dryer or dryer to accelerate the process, as excess heat will damage the bag. Although you can handwash the bag, you’ll need to make sure you wash it thoroughly to avoid leaving soap on it.

Other Reminders to Remember

Some aspects can complicate the cleaning process. If your luxury bag has makeup, ink, grease stains, or even mould buildup, that’s something that needs professional treatment. Don’t try to address this yourself, as household items may worsen the problem.

If you find silica gels lying around, don’t throw them out. They protect bags from moisture, which attracts germs and bacteria to nestle comfortably among your belongings. Lastly, consider sanitising your everyday bag once a month, and try cleaning your special occasion bags every three months. 


Disinfecting your handbags is essential for protecting yourself from harmful germs and bacteria. By following our guide, your handbags will undoubtedly be in great shape for a long time.

Troop London is your go-to resource for bags in London. We have a wide range of canvas bags, like messenger, shoulder, travel bags, and suitcase luggage. Shop our catalogue today to get your next canvas bag!