I've gotten a few emails lately with questions about what to do with some of your bags that are getting to appear a little dirty. I wanted to share some tips with you that may help you with cleaning your bags.
I would always recommend visiting Vera Bradley.com to verify what is recommended for the bag you want to clean. Their web site does a good job of at least hinting at what is best for your bag.
I have seen all kinds of descriptions for how to clean the bags, from Machine Wash being the only thing listed to full descriptions on what to do to clean the bag. I have to admit that this is one area that I wish that Vera Bradley would do a better job.
Message to Vera Bradley: Be thoroughly descriptive about how to clean all the bags, please. And provide a Cleaning Car Archive or something. Some of the vintage bags there's no way of knowing what the best cleaning method would be. Don't worry Vera Bradley, we'll keep buying your bags, we just want know how to clean our older bags.
Stepping off my soap box....
When looking at the Vera Bradley web site, on each items page there will be a Care Tips towards the bottom of the page. This is where you'll find the description on what to do.
Spot Clean - I don't like spot clean any more than any of you. It's so unclear what to do to clean the bag. My suggestion would be to get a bowl or very clean bucket, mix some warm water with just a little bit of detergent. I recommend a die free detergent. It happens to be what I use every day, I've actually had the die in Tide stain clothes before so I don't use Tide any more. Use a wash cloth, white would probably be best to just be absolutely certain there's no color bleeding from the wash cloth. Especially if you use cheapo wash clothes like I do. Then gently spot clean your bag. Once you think it's clean enough, then get some water, without detergent in it and spot rinse any places you cleaned. And like the Machine Wash, please do not put it in the dryer, please air dry or line dry your bag instead.
One more thing about spot cleaning, if you have Oxiclean, you could use that. But be very careful, it does have the ability to act a bit like a bleach and fade color. If you use it, do it in very small amounts and test it on the inside or a spot that isn't very visible before you use it to go to town cleaning a Vera Bradley bag.
Here's what I do, I rotate bags quite a bit. I rotate bags so often that I don't think my bags ever get the chance to get dirty. I think I've carried the Clare for the longest now and I'm finally starting to see signs that it needs to be cleaned. My philosophy is to carry bags every day that can be machine washed, like the Clare or the Hipster. I carry the spot clean bags on special occasions. Like my Rachel, I only bring that out once in a great while because I cannot just throw it in the wash. Of course, you have to carry the bag the makes you happy! Just be sure you clean it!