My idea of a perfect long weekend is a productive one amidst visiting family and outdoor excursions. Since we have out-of-town guests this weekend, I planned a to-do from my annual household chore list that would take a minimal amount of time, but still cross something off the list: cleaning my cloth purses and bags, which in my case, all happen to be of the Vera Bradley variety. I like what I like — then I get a whole bunch of it :).
Disclaimer: I’m not affiliated with the Vera Bradley company, and the following advice is my personal opinion and experience. Always use your best judgment — not just someone’s words on the Internet — when cleaning your own belongings.
This is how I’ve freshened up my Veras for the past 10 years, usually doing this every 1-2 years. Since I rotate my bags, some need it more than others, so I don’t always wash all of them each time — just the ones that need it. I start by making sure the bags are empty — even those pesky gum wrappers — and, if applicable, removing the cardboard base that keeps the purse upright. If you’re doing several at once, it’s helpful to line up the cardboard pieces and stick on a post-it note describing which purse it belongs to. They are similar shapes/sizes, so trust me on this one.
Then, I run them through the washing machine on the gentle cycle, using all cold water and a normal amount of liquid laundry detergent. I use a gentle detergent given my family’s sensitive, dry, eczema-prone skin, so if you use something harsher, consider a softer soap for this project. I’m a fan of All Free & Clear, Tide Free or Arm & Hammer (whichever is on sale).
Then, I let them air-dry outside about 8-10 hours on a warm, sunny day — long enough to use the sun’s natural bleaching properties but without fading the bag patterns.
That’s it! Put the cardboard pieces back in, and store. Remember my New Year’s goals? This chore is helping with my luggage closet organization, too. Now that everything is out and cleaned, we can start working on an organizing solution.