Vera Bradley bags come in a variety of materials, my favorite being the 100% cotton collection of handbags, duffel bags, backpacks, wallets and other accessories. I have several different patterns, but the old Java Blue is my favorite, because the brown/blue combination goes so well with everything in my wardrobe.
Using my favorite purse (the Villager) day after day, it starts to get dingy on the straps and at one of the top corners that I tend to grab it by first. I will occasionally switch it out for my second favorite Mandy Bag in Heather, when it comes time to wash.
Vera bags come with a tag on the inside, much like clothing, that includes cleaning instructions. It is the 100% cotton quilted fabric that I am talking about cleaning in this post and not the microfiber or any other material.
First thing to do is to empty the bag of course, making sure that any zippered compartments or deep interior pockets are completely empty. Next, remove the stiff piece of cardboard inside the bottom lining – this is easy to do, because the ends are not sewn and the cardboard should slide out easily.
If you have not already turned the bag inside-out when removing the cardboard, you should in order to brush or shake out any crumbs, lint, etc. Then go ahead and turn it back right-side out, zipping up main compartment and outside zipper.
You can wash the bag in your washing machine using a mild detergent made specifically for cold water and cotton fabrics, however I have found that 1/4 cup of distilled white vinegar alone works just fine. The vinegar helps to preserve the bright colors and also acts as a fabric softener. The washing machine should be set on gentle cycle or hand wash cycle (newer machines) and use only cold water. If it did not come clean, or if there was a stain that I felt would not come out in the regular wash, then I would just pre-treat it with a little of the detergent directly on the area immediately before washing.
Never put the purse in the dryer! The best way to dry a Vera Bradley handbag is to re-shape the bag (if necessary) and hang it over a clothes hanger away from direct sunlight. Once it is completely dry, you can then replace the cardboard bottom.