A travel, fashion and lifestyle blog

A travel, fashion and lifestyle blog

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Restoring canvas handbags (denim or dye transfer)

I adore canvas handbags. Whether its just canvas, coated canvas, or some combination bag (leather/canvas) these bags are always in style.

From top (Louis Vuitton, Coach and Burberry Bags. The Louis Vuitton is combination canvas, the Coach is canvas and the Burberry is coated canvas.)

However, anyone who has ever owned a canvas purse, designer or not, has come across with several problems with this type of bag. Namely, if you like to wear black tee shirts or dark denim. The color from your shirt, jeans or dark jacket may transfer directly on to the handbag! This is true even if the colorful item has been in the laundry.

Restoring handbags takes some effort and a lot of it depends on the type of bag you are carrying. Pure canvas bags are the easiest to clean. The hardest type of bag to clean is the coated canvas.

Here are some tips to help restore your canvas bag from a denim or dye transfer:

1. Mr. Clean magic eraser. Take one of these, and cut it into four small pieces. Run each piece under cold water for about a minute, and gently rub the dyed area. This will get rid of most stains better than fabric cleaner, the cleaner sold at most Coach stores, detergent or any other type of soap. Also, it will not take the color off of the handbag itself.

2. Tide to Go works well if it is a stain do to some food or beverage product. I.e. you get soda on your purse. This cleans most smudges but is not good on any larger area over 1 square inch.  

3. Warm soapy water on a sponge works well on coated canvas. Work on small areas at a time and never soak the entire bag in water. It will lose its shape. However, if you are unable to clean a coated canvas bag with the magic eraser by Mr. Clean, it may be that the dye is between the canvas and the plastic coating, which make it all but impossible to clean.

What type of bag do you carry? Have you ever tried to restore a handbag?

I will have future posts on more restoration projects :)


  1. I tried cleaning my coated canvas Kate Spade with all of the above and nothing worked 😥

  2. Hi there reach out through the contact page with more information on the bag and I can help you out with other strategies for cleaning.

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  4. I have a coated canvas dooney and bourke bag someone gave to me. It's supposed to be white but it's really dingy looking and discolored. No idea what the stains are but the whole bag is yellow looking. Any way to get it white again?

    1. Hi Emilia, respond via the contact link on the upper right hand corner. I can then respond via email. I will need pictures of the bag and then I can offer some suggestions to clean it. Best wishes.

  5. I used the Magic Eraser on my white & beige canvas purse to remove denim stains and it worked beautifully! I cut the Magic Eraser into half inch cubes, moistened each one lightly and scrubbed quickly without a lot of pressure on the soiled areas. When a cube turned blue (the color of the stain I was removing) I changed to a clean cube. The canvas eventually became somewhat wet but when it dried, the purse looked new again. Great tip!!! Thank you!