True Quality CleaningStraight talk about caring for fine garments & household textiles from an expert who calls it like it is. In plain English.

The hand cleaning of handbags: Perfection can almost never be attained

The theme of this post can be best summed up as follows:

What results can someone reasonably expect when it comes to the hand cleaning of a handbag? The perfection one would find in an identical, brand new handbag on display in a boutique? Or the very best achievable results based on the application of the appropriate skills and judgement to the existing condition of the handbag?

A new client dropped off a 6 year old Louis Vuitton Batignolles Horizontal Tote
with the traditional brown monogrammed coated canvas and natural cowhide leather trim and handles.
Now, we hand clean many Louis Vuitton coated canvas handbags every month at RAVE FabriCARE. Many of these handbags arrive through our Nationwide Clean By Mail service. For examples of our work on these coated canvas handbags, click here, here, here and here. For examples of our work on other high-end handbags, click here.
Fact is, most of the handbag departments at high-end boutiques and department stores in Scottsdale and Phoenix, refer their clients directly to RAVE FabriCARE. Why? Because they have personally experienced our work and they trust RAVE FabriCARE to achieve the very best technologically achievable results.
Now, back to this 6 year old Louis Vuitton Batignolles Horizontal Tote....
When you examine the handbag in the "before" photos below, you'll notice a number of defects:
The natural cowhide leather trim is a very dark shade of brown as a result of aging and usage.
The natural cowhide leather trim is oil stained on the handles and along the circumference of the opening.
The natural cowhide leather trim along the entire opening has small ridges or indentations as a result to exposure to moisture/humidity and subsequent drying.
Every piece of hardware is scratched.
The piping on every corner is badly scratched and scuffed.
The lining is ink stained in various places.
The brown monogrammed coated canvas has a half inch long "cut" on one side.
In addition, the interior of the handbag smelled like the inside a locker room that hadn't been deodorized in a while.
Apparently, this client believed, that if she brought her Louis Vuitton handbag to RAVE FabriCARE, a hand cleaning would return the handbag "like new" condition -- to the look it had when it was purchased brand new 6 years ago.
Apparently, she claims not to have understood or realized that
manufacturers of handbags never ever intended that their handbags be cleaned
the cleaning of a handbag involves a combination of art, science, skills and judgement
every handbag is different because of a multiplicity of factors such as the nature and combination of the materials used (leather, exotic leather, suede, patent leather, fabric, canvas, nylon, vinyl, etc.), the colors, the dyes, the finishes, and the conditions of usage and storage over time
perfection -- defined as the look and feel of the handbag when it was brand new and had never been used -- can never be achieved
most manufactures do not offer a handbag cleaning service for all the above reasons.
The results that we were able to achieve are illustrated in the before and after photos below:
BEFORE
AFTER
So what did we do to achieve these results?
We hand cleaned the exterior brown monogrammed coated canvas, removing the light film of dirt that had accumulated over the years.
We hand cleaned the natural cowhide leather trim, extracting as much of the accumulated oils as possible.
We hand cleaned the interior lining, eliminating all the small ball point ink marks and significantly reducing the intensity of the large permanent ink marks.
We treated the interior lining with a virucide, killing 99.9% of all bacteria and germs
We deodorized the interior of the handbag, neutralizing the locker room smell.
The client now claims -- without citing any specifics -- that we "ruined" her handbag.
Imagine that!
Because we were unable to return her 6 year old handbag to "like new" condition, she claims that we "ruined" her soiled, scratched, scuffed, torn, ink stained, smelly handbag. Accordingly, she refused to pay for the work we had done and sued to be compensated for the original purchase price of her handbag.
What do you think?
To comment on this post, please use the comment section below.
To ask a question relating to any of your garments or accessories, please email us.

Now, we hand clean many Louis Vuitton coated canvas handbags every month at RAVE FabriCARE. Many of these handbags arrive through our Nationwide Clean By Mail service. For examples of our work on these coated canvas handbags, click here, here, here and here. For examples of our work on other high-end handbags, click here.

Fact is, most of the handbag departments at high-end boutiques and department stores in Scottsdale and Phoenix, refer their clients directly to RAVE FabriCARE. Why? Because they have personally experienced our work and they trust RAVE FabriCARE to achieve the very best technologically achievable results.

A new client dropped off a 6 year old Louis Vuitton Batignolles Horizontal Tote with the traditional brown monogrammed coated canvas and natural cowhide leather trim and handles.

When you examine the handbag in the "before" photos below, you'll notice a number of defects:

  • The natural cowhide leather trim is a very dark shade of brown as a result of aging and usage.
  • The natural cowhide leather trim is oil stained on the handles and along the circumference of the opening.
  • The natural cowhide leather trim along the entire opening has small ridges or indentations as a result to exposure to moisture/humidity and subsequent drying.
  • Every piece of hardware is scratched.
  • The piping on every corner is badly scratched and scuffed.
  • The lining is ink stained in various places.
  • The brown monogrammed coated canvas has a half inch long "cut" on one side.

In addition, the interior of the handbag had a musty smell, typical of an older Louis Vuitton coated canvas handbags.

The results that we were able to achieve are illustrated in the before and after photos below:

BEFORE

LVB 4078 LVB 4082
LVB 4055 LVB 4062
LVB 4056 LVB 4064
LVB 4057 LVB 4067
LVB 4060 LVB 4061
LVB 4058 LVB 4059
LVB 4065 LVB 4066
LVB 4068 LVB 4070
LVB 4069 LVB 4071
LVB 4072
LVB 4073 LVB 4074
LVB 4075 LVB 4076
LVB 4077 LVB 4080
LVB 4079 LVB 4081
LVB 4346


AFTER

LVB 4327 LVB 4333
LVB 4328 LVB 4334
LVB 4331 LVB 4332
LVB 4336 LVB 4335
LVB 4329 LVB 4330
LVB 4337
LVB 4338 LVB 4339
LVB 4340 LVB 4341
LVB 4344


So what did we do to achieve these results?

  • We hand cleaned the exterior brown monogrammed coated canvas, removing the light film of dirt that had accumulated over the years.
  • We hand cleaned the natural cowhide leather trim, extracting as much of the accumulated oils as possible.
  • We hand cleaned the interior lining, eliminating all the small ball point ink marks and significantly reducing the intensity of the large permanent ink marks.
  • We treated the interior lining with a virucide, killing 99.9% of all bacteria and germs.
  • We deodorized the interior of the handbag, neutralizing the locker room smell.

The client now claims that we "ruined" her handbag because we were unable to restore the look of the leather to original condition, we were unable to remove all the ink stains from the lining, and we were unable to repair the cut in the fabric to "invisible" status.

Imagine that!

Because we were unable to return her 6 year old handbag to "like new" condition, she claims that we "ruined" her soiled, scratched, scuffed, torn, ink stained, smelly handbag. Accordingly, she refused to pay for the work we had done, sued to be compensated for the price that her handbag could sell for on the open market if Louis Vuitton were to replace all the leather trim and leather piping and filed a complaint with the Arizona Attorney General (Office of Consumer Affairs).

Clearly, this client believed, that if she brought her Louis Vuitton handbag to RAVE FabriCARE, a hand cleaning would return the handbag "like new" condition -- to the look it had when it was purchased brand new 6 years ago -- and she could save the substantial cost of sending it to Louis Vuitton to replace all the leather trim and leather piping.

Clearly, by her demonstrated actions, she is claiming that she has no idea that

  • manufacturers of handbags never ever intended that their handbags be cleaned
  • the cleaning of a handbag involves a combination of art, science, skills and judgement
  • every handbag is different because of a multiplicity of factors such as the nature and combination of the materials used (leather, exotic leather, suede, patent leather, fabric, canvas, nylon, vinyl, etc.), the colors, the dyes, the finishes, and the conditions of usage and storage over time
  • perfection -- defined as the look and feel of the handbag when it was brand new and had never been used -- can never be achieved
  • most manufacturers do not offer a handbag cleaning service for all the above reasons.


What do you think?

To comment on this post, please use the comment section below.

To ask a question relating to any of your garments or accessories, please email us.

 

 

 

 


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4 comment(s) for “The hand cleaning of handbags: Perfection can almost never be attained”
  1. Gravatar of SoulManLA
    SoulManLA Says:
    I enjoy your posts on purse cleaning. Very educational. Nothing like it on the net.

    I own a shoe repair shop catering to an affluent customer base. Mostly I deal with expensive shoes. I also fix and clean purses. At first I thought that your customer was a delusional screw ball but then I decided that she was nothing more than a scam artist. Once or twice a year I also have to deal with one of these scammers.

    Shoe repair/refurbishment is a skilled craft. Even if I do the very best job possible, these scammers are constantly looking to find reasons why it is YOUR fault that their beat up shoes do not look like they did on the day they were bought.

    Instead of admitting that they abused their shoes over the years, they tell you that YOU damaged their shoes during the course of repairing/refurbishing them and now the shoes are unwearable. Then they demand that you replace the shoes with a new pair of shoes -- same brand, same color, same style.

    If you then tell them that you see no reason why you should be responsible for replacing their beat up shoes that had almost no value in the condition they were in when they brought them to you for repair/refurbishment, they threaten you with the BBB, small claims court, negative reviews on google, yelp and similar sites, and more.

    Don't give in to these scammers. Keep those purse post coming.
  2. Gravatar of Diane
    Diane Says:
    Agree 100% with SoulMan: There are people who will not take responsibility for their own misuse of their handbags and are always looking for someone else to blame.
  3. Gravatar of M. Moreno
    M. Moreno Says:
    I'm not sure why this lady is unhappy. The before compared to the after is like night and day. That is my Babylone tote featured in one of the links (link #4). I never expected perfect results but you guys did an awesome job on my tote and gave it a new lease on life.
  4. Gravatar of Mary
    Mary Says:
    You did a wonderful job, considering the original condition of the bag.
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