How to Clean a Leather Bag - Cleaning Leather 101

27th Jul 2021

Whether you need to revitalize the look of an old purse or spruce up a laptop or briefcase, knowing how to clean a leather bag is a valuable skill. Well-made leather bags can last for years and years if they are cared for properly and cleaned in a specific way. To ensure your backpack, tote, crossbody bag or wristlet stays in good shape for years to come, follow these expert tips on how to clean a leather purse or bag.


9 DIY Leather Cleaner Tips for Purses and Bags

1. Dust Off the Exterior

Before treating the leather, use a clean, dry cloth to wipe off any dust and dirt that may have accumulated on the exterior. As a general practice, it’s a good idea to give your leather bags a dusting every few days to prevent build up.

2. Empty Out All the Pockets

It’s also important to thoroughly clean out the interior of the bag before getting started. Empty all the pockets, turn the lining inside out and clean the interior with a lint roller. Turn the bag upside down and shake it to get rid of any trapped dust or debris.

3. Use the Right Cleaning Supplies

Whatever you do, don’t use ammonia- or bleach-based products to clean leather. Instead, invest in a bottle of store-bought natural leather cleaner (we recommend Lexol products). But what household products can you use to clean leather in a hurry? Warm water with a few squirts of mild dish soap is one of the most common mixtures, although you should always test a small, inconspicuous area of the bag first to make sure the solution is safe.


4. Have at Least Two Cleaning Cloths on Hand

You’ll need one soft cloth to dip into the cleaning solution and wipe down the exterior of the bag or purse, and another to gently remove the excess cleaning solution when you’re done. Make sure you use clean, non-dyed cloths each and every time you clean your bag.

5. Use Rubbing Alcohol for Ink Stains

Ink stains can be removed with some rubbing alcohol and a cotton ball. Gently dab the stain with the moistened cotton ball (don’t rub!) until the stain is gone, then wipe with a clean, damp cloth and dry with a towel.

6. Use Baking Soda for Oil or Grease Stains

To treat grease or oil stains, sprinkle a small amount of baking soda on top of the spot, then gently dab it in with a damp cloth. Let the powder sit for few hours as the baking soda works to absorb the oil. Wipe off the powder with a soft cloth.

7. Don’t Speed Up the Drying Process

While it may be tempting to use a hairdryer to speed up the drying process, this can damage the leather. It’s best to be patient and let the leather air dry.

8. Follow With Leather Conditioner

Once the leather is dry, use a soft cloth to gently apply a thin layer of leather conditioner to the bag in circular motions. This will help keep the leather soft and supple and help prevent cracking and breaking.

9. Clean and Condition Regularly

Regular maintenance will help ensure your leather bags look beautiful for years to come. In addition to spot-treating stains, we recommend cleaning and conditioning your fine leather bags at least every six months.