About the Bag
I bought this bag off ebay for a not so cheap price—but cheap for a LE large Burberry tote that came out at least a decade ago! I guess a part of me didn’t want to haggle down the price too much because I believed I could fix it. This Burberry London tote is a LE tote, and the contrast of Burberry’s classic Nova Check print and the red vinyl (or Perspex?) was truly love at first sight. I’m usually not attracted to Burberry’s bags, it’s too pedestrian for me (no offense to Burberry lovers). One of my fav bags is literally a rubber rooster bag and another fave is a clutch in the shape of a margarita drink, go figure. Yes I am a real person. Haha how could a person like me wear a Burberry?! So you see this was an exception! However I’m rethinking Burberry as the quality of these bags are outstanding, very durable from what I can see.
I’m not sure of the official name for the bag, I searched high and low for another one just like it. I couldn’t find it, I did find another line of plastic/vinyl bag from Burberry that came in multiple colors—Nova Perspex. Their plastic line intrigues me , it’s a beautiful juxtaposition of modern( the vinyl & the color) and the classic plaid print.
Background on the Bag
The seller of this bag said this was used as a pool/beach bag for their family and they had put it away with some sun lotion. They had put it away for storage and had no intentions of leaving it there or else they wouldn’t have stored it with the lotion, the seller told me. I’m guessing it spilled and stained a good 60% bottom of the bag . The leather trim on this bag is amazing, its patent black– it’s the real thick sturdy kind. No fraying here, I’ve actually never felt such quality leather handbag straps. It’s been in their family 9-11 years the seller said. There’s no scuffing at all on the bag thanks to the PVC. So all in all, this bag has a great skeleton to work with.
Things that are wrong:
-55% of the coated canvas or the PVC on the bottom of the bag is stained YELLOW, BROWN . Maybe for a couple of years I think..
-some white splatters (very minimal) on the patent leather.
-Overwhelming chlorine,pool, sunscreen smell
– The included pouch has some green staining on the leather at the top. The pouch itself still has been stained a little , a slight yellow, also has some small black marks. Also the hardware on the pouch is slightly tarnished (chlorine?). I might look up a solution for this…The pouch has a leather strap that is turned in a awkward position that has led to a small cut on the strap, about a quarter of a cm or 2 mm. The inside of the pouch has melted colored lip balm I need to clean as well
-The red plastic on this bag is sturdy .It does have some black smears on the inside and out.
Solutions to the problems :
<Disclaimer>: This is what worked for me. If you so choose to use any of these methods, do so at your own risk. I’m not responsible for any flops.Hopefully this is helpful to other DIY-ers 🙂
- Mustard stain : The bleach took out most of the stain and/or lightened it. Not 100% more like 90% clean
- White splatters: They were on the leather itself and came off relatively easy with Goo gone sprayed on a flat piece of cotton. And if that didn’t work I used Vaseline and a cotton swab.
- Pouch stains & Melted Lip balm inside: So the green I couldn’t get off with Vaseline or goo gone, so I thought lets bring in the big guns. I brought out acetone nail polish because that was what people were recommending . Bad idea, yes it took off the green stain but it also took the black paint off as well ( a light layer) . And so I had to use black bail polish to cover up but turned out okay !As for the melted colored lip balm.. It was a success. I was nervous after my previous mishap with the acetone, I thought maybe I should just get it professionally done. I called for a quote, and they said $30. I said “uh uh, not today,” and DIY-ed it again. I looked up what works best to take off balm-y things and they said dish wash . DOI! makes sense, it was made to remove the oil from cooking after all. So I pumped some and went in with a designated cleaning toothbrush. The lip balm came right off with a couple of scrubs, after I just wetted the toothbrush to make sure the dish wash came out all the way.
- Smellz: Spray cheap perfume everywhere.. maybe potpourri, have to try.
- Light black stains on vinyl (plastic): Came out instantly with some goo gone and cotton pads again.
Gloves (NEED, or else your fingers will get cut from the bleach)
Cotton Pads(flat squares)
Compressed facial mask ( if you have a DAISO around its 1.50–These are not necessary but if the stain is big like mine, you’ll save time)
Here are some up close pictures of the bottom so you could see how bad the stain is.
Before I started the process, you can see the large stain covering the bottom (Pic 1). In the 2nd pic, that’s taken after I had covered the entire bottom of the bag with cotton immersed in a half bleach/half water concoction for about 13 hours. It has lightened a little however I should have immersed the cotton in just bleach for a stronger solution. Some videos I had seen said half bleach and half water. But you see the stain we’re working with here, the sheer size of it! Just do straight up bleach and save some time.
I had planned to do a timeline with the hours and when I soaked it. But guys honestly the process has taken so long, I’d rather just let the pics do the talking. You can gradually see lighten up through the 4 days. I will say that because of how long it took to lighten, that shows how old the stain is.
I also did the other side of the bag that was badly stained but in a more uniformed way. The result is that you almost can’t tell if it’s a stain or just an older version of the Burberry print. My sis couldn’t tell there was a stain at all, I was shocked. I didn’t document the process as much as I did with the bottom of the bag. I was really antsy at this point. But I spent about 2 or 3 days on the side, I did soaks during the day and night. So 24 hour soaks with full on bleach.
Pics of the Process :
Inside Pouch Pics:
Project Finito w/ my things in:
PS: Both PICs have roll-over caption. ^ Left side unstained side, right treated stained side. Not too shabby! “Say hello to my little friend “*scarface accent*
I will say that of all the bleaching tutorials no one ever talked about is the inside of the bag. What happens to the other side, does it bleach through or what?? So no it doesn’t bleach through ESP if the stain soaking is done in the middle of the bag. But if the stain is towards the sides of the bag where the seams meet and you’re going to be soaking there…I’d think twice about it. If the inside is black, it’d be doable. Anything else, I’d think twice. With my bag, the bleach seeped through the seams and actually BLEACHED the inside. The bleach sucked the black color and left white cloth showing in the bottom of the bag primarily on the sides (edges). I was mortified like wow I did all this work and the inside looks horrible. And this also happened in the pouch just at the edges where the seams are. Luckily I thought I could probably just use some fabric pen or fabric paint. I was not giving up when the bag was so close to what it’d ideally be. When I got to the store, there was even a better option. Fabric paint spray! What a time to be alive right?? So I sprayed all of it down , 2-3 coats and the inside looks truly beautiful . Big, black, and beautiful!
What a project. If I could go back and choose whether to undergo all this again, I’m not sure that I would haha. Maybe if the bag was like 40 bucks. But I honestly paid too much to tamper with it this much. The bag needed a lot of work, but it’s one-of-a-kind at this point. I’ve never seen anyone with a bag like this. I just wore it outside for the first time and I’m digging it. I foresee a beautiful future. I feel like I really worked for this bag, so by nature I’m def going to value/appreciate it more.. PS: isn’t this totally a metaphor for guys in relationships?? or me in relationships for sure:P!
Have a good one,