To White or Not

To White or Not

NOTE: This entry features the Branch Tote. The Eva and Etta have a spill-proof lining that is even easier.

I surround myself with light, living in a San Francisco flat, flooded with natural light, with bright white walls and a white sofa, rug, counters, cabinets and more. You might not guess this about me by looking at me.

All styles of Millie | Lottie totes are offered in Natural canvas, the whitish fabric screams Summer, crispness and light. If you are drawn to this color but shy from the responsibilities of keeping it clean, I hear ya. I like light colors but do not live a precious life. We LIVE hard in our family. I spot clean stains, have two sets of slip covers for my sofa that I rotate. Looking around right now, I know I need to re-paint our walls this year.

My every day Millie | Lottie Tote is black but I have LOVED carrying the Branch Medium Tote as a catch-all purse, grocery and end-of-school year potluck tote. After a month, it was getting pretty dirty, my son's pencil sharpener spilled inside, there were smudges and stains, way past the point of spot-cleaning.

Yesterday, I shook it out, pulled the two layers apart (the tote was designed to pull the inside layer for rinsing), placed it in the sink with a diluted Oxiclean and went on with my day.

NOTES: 1) I rinsed the straps to rid of extra dye and out of the soaking solution. Leather is skin. It can get wet and needs moisture if it is dry. I use olive oil when this happens. 2) Wet fabric will darken but dries light. 3) After rinsing the handles you could gently wash in a machine if you wish...

This morning I rubbed stubborn stains with a more concentrated version of the OC solution. The leather dye left a spot which is normal, so I treated it. I then turned right-side out, smoothed the material a bit, and placed in the sun, a wonderful source of natural bleach. I'll press it with an iron, as I like to appear more crisp than I am in real life. NOTE: the leather was fine, no need for oil. 

As I was writing this blog, my dog Amos, threw-up grass and possibly an old lunch from my son's back-pack (Terriers are highly food-motivated and will dig for it.) I cleaned and spotted the rug with handy left-over OC solution. 

Will I still keep a white rug? Is it worth the cleaning? Does the light make it worth it? ABSOLUTELY, would not change a thing. Luckily I also have a black tote too.


I had not planned to blog about this but started taking real-time photos during my process. I do not have before me, it was DIRTY. I'll take better photos next time but this should get you though the process. It really does not take that much time. I do in-between life task, truly, it's only 5 - 10 minutes here and there.

I am a proponent of less is more and opt to take good care of what I have.....

Use Oxiclean on Millie Lottie

Use a concentrated solution of Oxiclean


Spotclean Millie Lottie Totes

Spot-cleaning a pre-soaked tote


After cleaning

Wet tote is nice and wrinkled, use hands to smooth out a bit


Sun bleaching wet Millie Lottie Tote

 Sun-bleaching a wet tote



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