Can I Put My Handbag in Washing Machine: Easy Hacks 101

As a lover of handbags, you understand the commitment of time and money. You invest in finding the perfect bag that showcases your essentials with style. However, over time, even the most well-crafted handbags start to show signs of daily wear and tear. If you have minor stains, try a quick spot clean. But what if your favorite handbag needs a deep clean to look new again? Putting an expensive handbag into the washing machine can be scary. It can also be risky. 

Before diving in, assess if your handbag can handle a spin cycle. This article will guide you in evaluating if your favorite handbag can be washed in a machine. It will also explain the best method to clean it without causing any damage. With proper care and technique, washing your handbag at home is possible. It can also help prolong the life of your handbag.

Risks of Machine-Washing a Handbag

Risks of Machine Washing a Handbag

Machine-washing a handbag can damage its materials and shorten its lifespan. Machine washing can weaken handles, straps, and hardware over time. The tumbling action and heat can also cause colors to fade. Delicate embellishments like beading or sequins may fall off completely.

Leather handbags face additional risks in the washer. The water can cause leather to become dry, cracked and misshapen. Agitation can lead to scratches, abrasions and tears in the leather. A leather bag can survive the washing machine, but it may look worn and aged afterwards.

Suede handbags should never go in the washer, as water causes the nap of the suede to become matted and ruined. The texture and appearance of suede will be permanently changed.

Before washing a handbag in a machine, check the care instructions. Make sure it can be safely washed. High-quality bags often require dry cleaning or spot cleaning only. This is because they are made with delicate materials. When in doubt, it is best to avoid machine-washing a handbag to prevent damage. Spot-clean stains. Freshen bag with odor eliminating sprays or sachets.

Some casual handbags made of durable canvas can be washed in a machine. Take proper precautions and use a gentle cycle with cold or warm water. However, there are many risks to be aware of in order to avoid a disastrous outcome. Alternative cleaning methods are recommended over machine-washing. They help extend the life of your handbag.

3 Factors to Consider Before Machine-Washing

3 Factors to Consider Before Handbag in Washing Machine

Before tossing your favorite handbag in the washer, consider the following factors:

Fabric Durability

The material your handbag is made of plays a large role in whether it can withstand a machine wash. Do not machine wash delicate fabrics like silk, suede, or patent leather. These fabrics can be easily damaged. Heartier fabrics like canvas, nylon, or polyester are better for machine washing. Closely woven fabrics are also good options for machine washing. To check if the material can handle washing, do this. Look at the handbag’s care label or do a spot test.

Color Fastness

Darker colors bleed more in the wash and transfer onto other items. Pastel or brightly colored handbags can fade over time. Repeated machine washing increases the risk of fading. If you are worried about color staying, you can hand wash. Professional dry cleaning is also an option.

Closures and Hardware

Zippers, clasps, and buckles can get caught or damaged in a washing machine. Other hardware components may also experience the same issue. Take off or firmly attach any removable straps, tassels or decorations. Do this before you put them in the washing machine. Check that all pockets, clasps, and zippers are closed securely. This measure will inhibit the escape of petite objects.

Certain handbags, when properly considered, can handle a cycle in the washing machine. These handbags are sturdy and colorfast. When you’re not sure, choose hand washing or professional cleaning. These methods are the gentlest and help your handbag last longer.

The Bag Should Be Safe To Use In A Machine Wash

Washing machines can clean various bags, but not all handbags work. Before placing your favorite handbag in the washer, consider the following factors:


The material the bag is made of is the most important factor in determining if it can handle a machine wash. Natural fibers such as cotton or linen hold up better. Synthetic materials or leather don’t hold up as well. Do not machine wash delicate materials such as silk, velvet, or suede. If unsure of the material, check the bag’s label or do a spot test in an inconspicuous area.


Bags with strong zippers or latch locks wash well. Snap closures are also good in the washer. Avoid magnetic or hook-and-eye closures as they can easily come undone. Remove any loose straps, tassels or other attachments before washing to prevent damage.


Oversized bags are more prone to damage in a washing machine. Small to medium sized handbags will move more freely, leading to more even cleaning. Ensure the washer drum is spacious to prevent bag wedging. This can cause tears or uneven wear.


An expensive designer handbag is typically not worth the risk of machine washing. Agitation can damage the bag, reducing its lifespan and resale value. For a high-end or cherished bag, hand washing and air drying is the safest method. Consider these factors. Determine if your handbag should not go in the washing machine. Spot-clean any stains. Freshen the entire bag with a damp cloth. Air out the bag away from direct heat before storing. With proper care and handling, your favorite handbag will provide you with years of use.

Some Alternatives for Handbag Washing

Some Alternatives for Handbag Washing

There are alternative ways to clean handbags that cannot be machine washed. These include spot-cleaning, hand washing, and professional cleaning.


For small stains or marks on a handbag, spot-cleaning is an easy fix. Use a damp cloth or sponge and a mild detergent to gently blot at the stain until it lifts. Be sure to rinse the area with water and pat dry completely. Test any product in an inconspicuous area first to check for colorfastness.

Hand Washing

For a dirtier handbag, hand washing may be necessary. Fill a sink or bucket with lukewarm water and a mild detergent. Gently submerge the handbag and swish it around, soaking all surfaces. Rinse thoroughly with clean water until the water runs clear. Gently squeeze out excess water and then lay the handbag flat on towels to air dry, reshaping as needed. Turn inside out if possible. The key is to be very gentle to avoid damage. This may take 24 to 48 hours for larger or leather handbags.

Professional Cleaning

Professional cleaning is the safest method for high-end designer handbags. It is also the safest method for handbags made of delicate materials like suede. In your area, look for a trustworthy dry cleaner or handbag spa. They specialize in cleaning and restoring handbags. They are trained, equipped, and have solutions to care for your prized item. The cost will depend on the specific services needed for your particular handbag.

You can keep your favorite handbag looking its best for years to come. It just takes some patience and care. Use alternative cleaning methods that don’t require machine washing. The key is to choose a method based on your handbag’s size, materials, and how soiled it has become. You can use regular maintenance and spot-cleaning. This may reduce the need for intensive methods. Professional cleaning is only needed occasionally.


1. Can I Entrust My Handbags To A Washing Machine?

Delve into considerations based on practical experience, emphasizing the importance of understanding materials and construction.

2. Is It Advisable To Use A Fully Automatic Washing Machine For Bag Cleaning?

Share insights based on expertise. Guide on compatibility of fully automatic machines. Provide optimal settings to choose.

3. Can Shoulder Bags Withstand The Washing Machine?

Use your hands-on knowledge to address concerns about shoulder bags. Consider factors such as straps and hardware resilience.

4. What Materials Or Bag Types Should Avoid The Washing Machine?

I can provide helpful advice on materials or bag categories. Some may not hold up well in machine washing. I will explain potential damages that could occur.

5. Is Washing Bags A Safe Practice?

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Video on Handbag in Washing Machine


In the end, taking proper care of your handbags and handbags requires a balanced approach. Hand washing or spot cleaning can take a lot of time. However, it is the best way to care for expensive or delicate bags. Machine washing can be convenient for casual or sturdy bags. Utilize a delicate cycle with cold or lukewarm water. Follow care instructions and avoid over-loading the washer. 

Air-dry bags away from direct heat for best results. Properly maintain your favorite handbags to keep them clean, functional, and stylish. This ensures long-lasting enjoyment of your investment.

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