Home Cleaning Tips How to Clean Your Purse/Handbag for Mold: Part II

How to Clean Your Purse/Handbag for Mold: Part II

by Catherine

Now that you’ve (hopefully) read my post about why you should clean your handbag, purse, folio, etc. for mold, and know how to clean it properly for more of a maintenance-type clean, today’s post outlines a more extensive and invasive cleaning method. I also finish this post with helpful tips and hints on keeping your handbag mold free.

I do want to warn all those with “investment” purses or handbags that this one is probably not for you, unless you feel that your purse has had a major mold exposure and either needs to be completely sanitized or needs to be thrown out. In other words, this intense-type of clean would only be a last resort for that type of purse.

The MAJOR Clean:

When your purse needs a more extensive, all-over, inside and out cleaning, this is what I would recommend. This process will clean any stains from your purse and remove mold and bacteria. I do want to add the disclaimer, that you clean your leather at your own risk. I DON’T recommend this procedure for an expensive investment-type bag. I will say that I have successfully laundered my own bags this way with zero damage and all clean wonderfulness, but I can NEVER guarantee that your leather will react and launder the same way. Please proceed with caution and possibly crossed fingers.

Here it goes…

  • First, remove all items from the inside of your purse. Dispose of anything old and not necessary—trash, old receipts, etc. Wipe down all other items with antibacterial wipes, or a vinegar and water cleaning solution. Cleaning your purse isn’t going to do you any good, if you are putting filthy items right back inside of it! Make sure to search in the side pockets and to check that the inner liner of your purse does not have a hole where change or a lipstick has become trapped. Your purse MUST be totally EMPTY to proceed.

When I remove everything from my purse, I try to always place it on a covered surface. That way, when I am finished, I can wash the covering, and never have to worry about spreading germs or mold spores.


  • Next set your washing machine to its gentlest, smallest and coolest water settings. Mine has a handwash setting, so that is the one that I use.


  • Turn your machine on and allow it to start filling.
  • Pour one tablespoon of a wood-safe cleaner, like Murphy’s Oil Liquid Soap, or all-natural liquid castile soap directly into the water.


  • Now, to kill any mold or bacteria that the soap may leave behind, I add a tablespoon of EC3 Laundry Additive to the water. The directions on the bottle for regular laundry ask that you add the EC3 to the liquid bleach/softener reservoir, but I find that adding it directly to the water for works better for cleaning a purse. You could also add 5 drops of tea tree oil to the water, if you do not have the EC3 Laundry Additive.


  • Put your purse into the machine. Note: only wash one purse at a time.


  • Allow the machine to run its cycle.
  • When the cycle is complete, remove the purse and reshape it, if needed.
  • Toss the purse along with 1-2 of your cleaning or not-as-good towels into your dryer—the towels should be dry. You are just adding them to the dryer with your purse as a buffer.
  • Set it on its lowest heat setting and allow it to run for 10-15 minutes, or just until the interior liner of the purse is totally dry.
  • Remove purse from the dryer, reshape and hang it out in the open to finish drying.
My clean, mold-free purse hanging out to finish drying out the last bit of dampness from the wash.

My clean, mold-free purse hanging out to finish drying out the last bit of dampness from the wash.

  • When it is completely dry, it is ready to use.

Quick Tips for Keeping your Purse Clean:

  • Never place it on the floor in a restroom, restaurant, sporting arena, etc. Rather, hang it on the door or a hook or the back of your chair.
  • Wipe your purse handle down with an antibacterial solution frequently—more often than you clean your whole purse.
  • Mist your purse with the EC3 Mold Solution Spray at least once per week.
  • Have a designated rack or hook in your home on which to hang your purse. Try not to place it on surfaces where you eat, or on furniture that your family uses.
  • Just be generally conscious of germs and bacteria when you are out and about, and try to avoid putting your purse anywhere what you would not put your hands. It cannot always be avoided, but if you are mindful, you can prevent a lot of the contamination.

Those are my tips and cleaning directions. I hope they help you. I will also be posting a shorter article on steaming your purse or handbag with the mold solution and a steamer with an upholstery attachment. Look for it soon!

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