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How to Clean the Inside of a Purse

Cleaning the inside of a purse with a damp cloth

If you go down the street and ask someone randomly to show the inside of their purse, you can bet it has old receipts, half-eaten snacks, cosmetics, and perhaps a few stains from unknown sources. So don’t worry; you’re not the only one. In the end, the whole point of a purse is to carry items we may need on a daily basis.

Nevertheless, it’s wise to clean the interior of your purse regularly. It will improve its lifespan, and you no longer have to question whether carrying stuff in it is sanitary or not. Searching for something in your purse only to come across the crumbs of a power bar you had two months ago is not exactly pleasant. So, whether it’s just crumbs or a stubborn stain, here’s how to clean the inside of your purse.

Guide to cleaning the inside of a purse

Empty the Purse

This may seem like a given, but the first step in cleaning the inside of your purse is to completely remove all the items from it. Then, if possible, you should take the lining out completely and give it a good shake to get rid of all crumbs and lint.

If your purse doesn’t have a textile lining, like in the case of some leather purses or tote bags, just turn it upside down.

Clean the Lining

After your bag is completely empty, take out the fabric lining as much as you can. Then, use a wet sponge, soft cloth, or a microfiber rag to remove all the stains. Use only delicate detergents and warm water, but make sure not to wet the sponge or rag too much. If you have a leather purse, too much water can damage the material.

Of course, this applies to easy-to-remove stains. Others may be of a more stubborn nature and may require special cleaning agents. Below, I’ll tackle some of the most common substances that stain the inside of your purse.

Ballpoint Pen

Ballpoint pen ink is by far the most common stain you can find in your purse. It’s usually difficult to remove. However, there are two easy ways to get rid of ink stains. One, you can apply methylated alcohol on a cotton pad and gently dab the stain while trying not to spread the ink around. To avoid that, change the cotton pad frequently. And two, you can purchase stain removers, leather cleaner, or even upholstery cleaning sprays and follow the instructions. 

Some people try to remove ink marks using rubbing alcohol. While that can be done, rubbing alcohol is not as concentrated as methylated spirits, meaning it may not work as well.

Lipstick stains

A lipstick stain looks worse than it actually is. The difficulty level of removing lipstick stains depends on how big the stain is. If it’s just a small one, some liquid detergent will take it right off. However, a big stain may require a stain remover. A helpful tip is to let the lipstick stain dry and scrape as much of it as possible before trying to wash it off.


A foundation stain in your purse is a small disaster for two reasons – your foundation is ruined, and the stain is almost impossible to get rid of. You can remove the excess foundation using paper towels, but if you get water involved, you’re only going to make it worse. 

Just how well you can remove a foundation stain from the inside of your purse depends on the material the lining is made of. If it’s polyester, you’re in luck because some dish soap and warm water can help. But if the lining is cotton or nylon, you’re going to have a tough time removing the stain. You can try dry cleaning cloths, but there is no guarantee you can remove the stain completely. 

Whatever the case, make sure that the inside of your purse is completely dry before using it again. You can hang it in a well-ventilated room while the lining is out. You can even use a hairdryer set on low or medium heat.

Get Rid of the Smell

If your purse has a strange odor after washing it, getting rid of it is simple and can be done using household items. All you need is a pillowcase and some baking soda. Pour the baking soda into the pillowcase, secure it so it doesn’t spill, and then put the pillowcase inside the purse overnight. By morning, the smell will be gone.

Last Updated on March 10, 2023

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