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How To Clean a Leather Handbag

The fashion industry has come a long way in the past few years. Brands have pushed for more sustainable fabrics and more comfortable shoes, while also making it easier for customers to return items. 

But people are still buying leather handbags. What is it about leather that makes us so drawn to it? Is it the rich scent or the buttery texture? 

Whatever the reasons may be, there's no denying that leather handbags are an investment. The good news is that taking care of your bag can be simple and straightforward. 

This review article discusses how to clean your leather handbag. Why trust us?  Our readers value our honest and unbiased opinions to help them make the best buying decisions and we really appreciate them putting their trust in us.

What To Use When Cleaning A Leather Bag

Nail Polish Remover or Rubbing Alcohol

A solution of either nail polish remover or rubbing alcohol can remove any grease or dirt from a leather bag. First, give the handbag and any cushions a wipe with a damp, soapy cloth to remove any dirt or grease. 

Next, spray the cushion with rubbing alcohol or use the nail polish remover and wipe it down. Lastly, air-dry the cushion to get rid of any excess moisture. 

Baking Soda or Cornstarch

We tested baking soda and cornstarch. Both of these cleaning solutions have a low-sugar content, so you can use them without worrying about damage to your bag. 

To see which product worked the best, we had each handbag soaked in either baking soda or cornstarch for 10 minutes. Then we gently rubbed the bags with a microfiber cloth and then vacuumed the stains. 

The baking soda came out the best, with the majority of the dirt being removed. Cornstarch took a bit more effort, but still got most of the dirt out.

Lemon Juice and Cream of Tartar

Let's face it, there's a fine line between a leather sheen and greasy. 

When this happens, the leather is no longer able to stay clean, and it begins to turn dull and start to smell. Cream of Tartar is a great way to revive old leather, and it works for almost any leather. .

For Preventive Measures Use Leather Protector Products

To prevent odors and odorous chemicals, choose leather bag care products that contain leather protectors. Because there's no way to perfectly clean a leather bag without using some moisture, this is a necessity. 

A quick step to take before any treatment is to wipe your bag down with a damp cloth or soft cloth. This keeps the chemicals from penetrating the bag and damaging it further. 

Follow the Steps Of The Cleanser 

Use a leather care product. Use the prescribed amount, and then clean out the bag's water chamber if it has one. 

Let the cleanser sit on the stain for the allotted time and then proceed to wipe it with a microfiber cloth. Cleanse the interior and exterior of the bag thoroughly. 

Use the cleaner on a cotton swab, and then wipe away the excess with the swab.

A light cleansing ritual once a week are routinely used will keep them clean

Use a good hand soap or even an unscented hand sanitizer. Wipe the handbag gently with mild soapy water if needed, not the harsh soapy conditioner. 

Allow the bag to dry out, then give it a light dry-clean Wipe off dust and dirt with a dry, soft cloth. 

Dry thoroughly with a microfiber cloth or paper towel. 

Stain Removal using a Vinegar

Dirty spots on leather come from common household products and can only be removed if they are specifically addressed. Dipping a toothbrush in a bowl of white vinegar is the perfect way to clean out stubborn stains. This works for both leather and leather handbags. 

Removing ink-based stains using trusty nail polish remover

Stain removers used to require a hefty amount of patience and lots of gloves. But these days you can spot-clean the sides of a leather bag and take care of the center with nail polish remover. 

Some brands even sell special nail polish removers designed to clean leather in a matter of minutes. All you need to do is apply some nail polish remover to a cotton cloth, hold it up to the bag and start scrubbing. 

It'll only take a few swipes of the cloth and voila – the stain is gone!

How To Clean A Leather Handbag Without Ruining It

Rub the Leather with Some Saddle Soap

We've got the answer right here. Saddle soap will easily remove any sort of dirt or germs from your bag, making it look like new again. 

Rub the leather with this leather conditioner to refresh the leather, making it more flexible and resistant to damage and water damage. 

Wipe Away All Soap and Moisture from the Bag

It's important that you thoroughly wash your leather handbag to remove all of the soap and moisture that's accumulated over the years. Use a soft cloth or paper towel to gently wipe away any residue. 

Don't go overboard with the cleaning process. If you don't want to wait a day for your leather bag to dry, you can gently blot it on a clean towel. 

Use a Dry Cloth to Buff Up the Leather

A leather bag doesn't really need to be buffed, but when the skin is shiny and clean, it looks better and doesn't collect dirt and dirt stains as quickly. 

Try using just a dry cloth and buff it against the leather, paying attention to the darker areas. If the polish is too thick, just dab it in. Microfiber works great for this.

Apply Some Dressing With Your Fingers

This is a handy way to avoid just rubbing dirt all over your leather bag, or even rubbing at it with some paper towels. Instead, get a small amount of leather dressing and treat your bag that way. 

Leather dressing can be found virtually anywhere and it does a really great job of cleaning and conditioning your leather products.

Leave the Leather Bag to Dry

Bags should be left to dry completely before and after cleaning. Give it 24 hours before you put it away. 

Don't allow your bag to come in contact with the direct sun while cleaning, as this may cause stubborn stains to remain. You can gently wipe away dirt and dust

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I clean leather with soap and water?

Yes, soap and water work wonders with cleaning leather, especially if your bag has any sort of oil on it. It won't remove all the grime, but it will get the job done. 

You will need to use cleaner and water every now and then, but leather will never truly get out of shape. What you should be worried about is taking care of it. 

Can you use baby wipes on leather?

You can absolutely use baby wipes on leather. Baby wipes can be used on leather handbags and other items that come in contact with them, including shoes. 

To clean your bag, simply dampen the inside of the bag, spray it with water and then wipe with baby wipes. The baby wipes can also be used to clean shoes, as well as any other items that have been put through the wash and then put into storage. 


Thanks for taking the time to read our article on how to clean a handbag, we hope you enjoyed it. You should take your time when cleaning your leather handbag. 

Some handbags are better candidates for deep cleaning and this is advised when they are more than three years old. 

If you're not sure if your handbag can take a deep cleaning, consult a professional to help you find the best cleaning method for your bag. You can clean your leather handbag at home as long as you have the right tools and materials to go with it. 

Good luck with your leather handbag cleaning journey!