Leather purses are timeless fashion accessories that require proper care to maintain their beauty and durability. Regular cleaning not only keeps your leather purse looking pristine but also extends its lifespan.

We will walk you through the step-by-step process of cleaning your leather purse effectively, ensuring it remains supple and stunning for years to come.

Men's bag

Pre-cleaning preparation for leather bags

Before diving into the cleaning process, gather the necessary supplies to ensure a smooth and successful experience. You will need soft, lint-free cloths, a soft bristled brush, a lint roller, mild soap, distilled water, leather cleaners, leather conditioner, baby wipes or leather wipes, a cotton ball or two and a protector.

A lint roller comes in handy

A lint roller might seem like an unconventional tool, but it is remarkably effective in removing surface debris and dust from your leather purse.

Before proceeding with the leather cleaning, turn the bag upside down and use the lint roller to pick up loose particles and lint, preventing them from becoming trapped during the cleaning process.

Know the different leather types before you clean your leather bag

Understanding the type of leather your purse is made of is crucial for proper cleaning. Common leather variations include aniline leather, full grain leather semi-aniline leather, pigmented leather, nubuck leather, and suede leather.

Each requires different care approaches, so be sure to identify your purse’s leather type before proceeding.

Cleaning with soap and water

For most everyday dirt and grime, a simple soap and warm water solution is sufficient for cleaning your genuine leather purse. However, before applying the solution to the entire bag, perform a patch test in an inconspicuous area to ensure it won’t cause discoloration or damage.

Once confirmed, dampen a soft cloth with distilled water, add a small amount of mild soap, and gently rub the leather surface in circular motions. Finally, gently wipe off any residue with a clean cloth or cotton ball.

Identifying types of stains

Accidents happen, and stains on leather purses are not uncommon. Understanding the types of stains you might encounter will help you tackle them effectively. Common stains include water stains, oil or grease stains, ink stains, and food and beverage stains.

Removing stains from leather bags

Different stains require specific treatment approaches to avoid worsening the damage. For water stains, use a blotting technique and consider using talcum powder to absorb the moisture. Oil or grease stains can be treated with absorbent materials or talcum powder.

Removing ink stains is best with isopropyl alcohol, while food and beverage stains can be gently removed using mild soap, a damp cloth and water.

Drying the bag after cleaning

After cleaning, it’s essential to let your finished leather bag air dry naturally. Avoid using direct heat or sunlight to speed up the drying process, as this can cause leather handbags to crack or fade. Patience is key during this process to keep the leather supple.

Conditioning and protecting leather bags

To maintain the suppleness and shine of your patent leather purse, conditioning is essential. Leather, like human skin, needs hydration to prevent dryness and cracking. Invest in a good-quality leather conditioner and apply it according to the product instructions.

Conditioning should be done periodically, depending on how frequently you use the leather bag.

A leather protector offers peace of mind

A protector acts as a barrier against stains, spills, and moisture. Applying protector after cleaning and conditioning adds an extra layer of protection, keeping your purse looking fresh and new for longer periods.

Other ways to clean a leather handbag

If you are unsure about cleaning leather yourself or dealing with tough stains, consider using a specialist leather cleaner. Professional cleaners have the expertise and tools, such as a fabric brush attachment, to handle various leather types and stubborn stains without damaging leather handbags.

Common issues with cleaning leather bags

While cleaning your leather bag can breathe new life into it, there are some common issues you should be aware of. Mould or mildew build-up and stains are among the most frequent concerns.

Mould or mildew build-up

Mould and mildew can thrive on genuine leather in humid or damp conditions. To prevent mould build-up, store your leather purse in a cool, dry place, and avoid exposing it to excessive moisture.


Although most stains can be effectively treated, some might leave lasting marks. Timely and proper cleaning is crucial to minimise the impact of stains on your leather bag.

How often should you clean a leather bag?

The frequency of cleaning your leather handbag depends on how frequently you use it and the level of dirt or stains it accumulates. Generally, a light cleaning every few weeks and a thorough cleaning every few months is recommended for a finished leather purse.

What is the best way to clean a leather bag without damaging it?

For effective leather cleaning without damage, test any cleaning products in an inconspicuous area. Avoid harsh chemicals, excessive scrubbing, excess moisture and prolonged exposure to water or sunlight.

Can I use a cleaning product on my leather bag if it has a certain type of stain?

Using a cleaning product on your leather handbag depends on the type of stain and the manufacturer’s recommendations. When in doubt, consult a professional when cleaning leather.

Are there any home remedies to clean a leather purse?

Yes, there are some home remedies you can try, such as using saddle soap, a baking soda paste, vinegar solution, or a mixture of lemon juice and vinegar. However, perform a patch test before applying any homemade cleaning solution, especially on unfinished leather bags.

Leather cleaning is a rewarding task as a cleaning solution

Cleaning a leather purse is a rewarding task that ensures your beloved accessory remains in top-notch condition.

Remember to treat stains promptly, condition the leather regularly, and provide your luxury handbag with proper care to enjoy its timeless beauty and durability for generations to come.