How Can I Remove a Stain from My Purse?

Use these quick stain-removing tricks to prevent a stubborn spot from ruining your favorite bag.

patent-leather-plastic-bag-stain
Photo by Peter Oumanski

“I left my patent-leather purse in a yellow plastic bag, and the color rubbed off on it.”

Adrienne, via e-mail

The fix: For any stains on patent leather, whether you’re dealing with a bag or a shoe, dab white vinegar onto cheesecloth and gently rub the stain, says Chris Moore, the owner of Artbag, a handbag-repair shop in New York City. The blemish should vanish instantly. If it doesn’t, dip a cotton swab in acetone-based nail-polish remover and lightly run it over the mark, says David Mesquita, the vice president of Leather Spa, a New York City leather-repair shop. (Spot-test first in an inconspicuous area.) To prevent dye transfer in the future, store patent leather away from colored plastic or cotton bags. (Polyester or rayon bags are fine.) And keep hand-bags separated; leaning one against another can also cause discoloration.