How to identify, clean and prevent mould on handbags

We all know that sweat is part and parcel of being a Singaporean. Think about walking down Orchard Road on a hot day -- some of us are lucky enough to be able to beat the heat by running into an air-conditioned mall or downing a cool drink, but this is simply not possible for our precious bags and valuables.

Singapore boasts a ridiculously high average humidity of 84.2%, thanks to our tropical climate. Anything above 50% humidity is considered high. Humidity is the concentration of water vapour in the air. This is the reason why you usually feel hot and sticky when taking a walk in Singapore! Imagine feeling hot and sticky all the time while outside -- that’s exactly how your bag feels as well.

The worst thing is, Singapore’s climate is mould’s best friend. Have you ever left your bag in your closet and fished it out, just to see white and green spots forming? The optimal temperature for mould growth is between 20-30°C, and due to the high humidity we experience, mildew might make a special appearance as well.


How can I identify mould?

Mould can be easily identified with the naked-eye, and most commonly appear as dull and blotchy patches of white or green. However, not every patch of white might be mould. If you are extremely unsure, it’s probably best to ask a professional company that specializes in bag-cleaning.


How can I clean my mouldy bag?

Here’s everyone’s million-dollar question: “How can I clean my mouldy bag, or how can I prevent mould?” Here are a few methods we’ve looked into:

1. Professionally cleaned:

There are many professional bag-cleaning services that help you clean your bags, but do be warned that they can cost a pretty penny! However, bag-cleaning services do provide the best services, and you can rest assured that your bag will be extremely well-taken care of and pampered. Below are a list of well-known bag-cleaning companies that can be approached to get rid of the mould on your bags:

Dr Bags: Dr Bags is a trusted aesthetics clinic for designer bags. They use Korean technology to take care of and clean your bags, shoes, and even wallets! If you’re not available to pick up or drop-off your bags, they have a butler service for bag collection as well. Check out Dr. Bags here! In collaboration with Dr Bags, we have a special offer for you here.

Bag Spa: Bag Spa specializes in bio-cleaning of handbags, purses and shoes, including removal of mould, stains and odour. They are passionate about assisting customers in extending the lifespan of their bags so you can be fully reassured to leave your bags with them. Check out Bag Spa here!

Jeeves: Jeeves is an exemplary dry cleaning and laundry service was founded in London in 1969 and has proudly held the Royal Warrant from the Prince of Wales since 1980. They have 4 stores located in Singapore and 11 internationally, so you know you’re in good hands. Check out Jeeves here!

 

Honest Crafters: Honest Crafters does everything from bag restoration, to repairs, to colour restoration, and even stitching! Honest Crafters prides themselves on their affordable cleaning and restoration services that won’t break the bank. Check out Honest Crafters here!

2. DIY Method:

Mould removal can be fairly simple and achievable with common household products if the mould is minimal. You’ll need a clean cloth and some clear vinegar. If you don’t have vinegar, you can also use lemon juice, makeup remover or any disinfectant. Once you have your choice of liquid, you can dilute it with water and start cleaning. After cleaning with the cloth, you should sun-dry your bag for a few days.

Can I make my bag mould-proof?

With our type of climate, it’s definitely not easy to make an item mould-proof. Mould is part and parcel of the environment in Singapore, but there are a few options available. We’ve even listed down some pros and cons for you!

1. Mould-proof sprays

There are a few mould-proof sprays and lotions that you can apply to your bags and valuables. These sprays and lotions coat your bags and valuables in a mould-proof layer, and helps to prevent mould for a certain amount of time.

Pros:

  • Quick fix
  • Easy to use
  • Cheap

Cons:

  • Only works for a short amount of time
  • Might leave a weird texture on the bag
  • Might contain harmful chemicals

2. Moisture absorbers

Moisture absorbers can be placed in the cupboard together with your bags, and can absorb some surrounding moisture, preventing your bags from getting mouldy. 

Pros:

  • Super easy to use
  • Cheap

Cons: 

  • Might not be that effective due to non-airtight cupboards
  • Still unable to control humidity levels

Check out Dr Bags Professional Leather Care Kit here completed with a set of cleanser, moisturiser and WREN's polishing microfiber pure white cloth, perfect for some DIY cleaning.

3. Dry cabinets

Dry cabinets are enclosed, air-tight cupboards that allow you to control the humidity levels. They not only allow you to protect your bags from the effects of high humidity, but you can also set the ideal temperature for your bags. Dry cabinets are also able to maintain a lower humidity rate of about 45-55% relative humidity, which is the optimal humidity level for bags, valuables, and electronics.

Pros: 

  • Able to set optimal humidity level and temperature
  • Much cheaper in the long run compared to professional cleaning
  • Less mess than sprays
  • Different sizes!

Cons:

  • Larger models may be bulky

Check out recommended Dry Cabinets here

by Hazel Shelton

DryBox SG Pte. Ltd.

How to identify, clean and prevent mould on handbags