How to prevent your handbags from moulding
Louis Vuitton advises that you never store your handbags in your wardrobe. Well that's all well and good, but if you don't live in a house with a spare room just for your bags.... how do you store them?
Image: Kylie Jenner in her handbag closet
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
To prevent your leather handbags from getting mouldy, its important to understand how it get there in the first place. Anyone who lives in places that is hot and humid like Sydney, Brisbane, Hawaii, Singapore, Malaysia and most parts of Asia, well you know what I'm taking about.
The optimal growth temperature range for molds is 77°F to 88°F (20°C to 30°C), though some growth may occur anywhere between 32°F to 95°F (0°C to 35°C).
Mildew or mold requires moisture. The optimal growth range for mildew is 70 to 93 percent relative humidity (RH).
The key to mold prevention is simply moisture control. Following are some moisture control tips to help to prevent your handbags from turning mouldy.
1. Air it at least once a month, avoid putting it a closet for too long. Let it bathe in sunlight during the most dry and not so hot hours of the day. The sun will kill the mold. In fact molds are just a type of mushroom that thrives in dark and wet conditions, and will die in the sunlight. Do not leave your bag outside during the night, humidity will worsen the situation.
2. If you put your handbag into a dust bag, make sure it is a breathable material. Avoid using dust bag that is made from man-made synthetics. All NIKKI WILLIAMS dust bags are made from 100% cotton, so they're a great place to store your bag.
3. Put dehumidifier in places where you store your handbags to reduce humidity. This seriously is the key. Mold doesn't like dry air. If you can, store your handbags in an air-condition area as cool air holds less moisture than warm air. If that isn't possible then heat the air in closets by keeping a light bulb burning, if there is one in the closet.
4. If you use your handbag out on a rainy day, make sure it is 100% dry before storing it.
5. After using your handbag, clean it. The first step is to empty it of its contents and dust. You can turn the bag inside out if it is soft, and use a lint roller to get to those hard-to-reach places. If your bag is crafted from hard-pressed, grained leather, wipe the exterior of the bag softly with a damp paper towel or an alcohol-free baby wipe ( using general baby-wipes may damage to the color, dry the leather out, create a build up of grease). If it is made from natural or untreated leather, or if it is exotic or suede, then dust it with a dry paper towel. For more serious issues, take it to a professional.
OH NO! MY BAG IS COVERED IN MOLD
If your bag does get moldy, the best thing to do is take it to a professional cleaner. If there's not one in your area then here's a few home-helpful tips for removing mold from your leather goods.
Please Note: We don't recommend cleaning bags yourself and that you should always seek professional advice, but we know that's not always possible so we've put together a guide on the best way to clean mold at home. We ask that you please use caution and do a spot clean ( like on the inside the bag) before applying any cleaning solutions.
1. Lay an old sheet outside in a sunny location. Place the open bag on the bed sheet. Allow the sunshine to kill the mold and bleach mold stains as the bag airs out for two to four hours. The sun will kill the mold.
2. Vacuum the dead mold spores from the bag. Use a hose attachment to clean along the seams and other grooves and crevices. Throw out the vacuum bag afterward so mold spores aren't transferred to other surfaces.
3. Mix a small amount of vinegar (if you don't have vinegar you can use lemon juice). With a damp cotton cloth softly swipe upon the moldy area. Do not overdo with water, the cloth should be just damp. Excessive use of water could damage the bag.
4. Put your bag in the non-direct sunlight to dry it out. Direct sunlight can dry out your leather. However its important to make sure it is 100% dry before storing.
5. Ensure that you remove mold and mold spores from the storage area, by cleaning with vinegar or a specialised mold killing cleaner (we've heard that bleach only bleaches mould, it doesn't kill it!).
We hope this helps!