How to Clean Leather Bag: Discover Simple Cleaning Steps

How to Clean Leather Bag

Investing in a leather bag is a choice that benefits you long-term. Leather bags are known for their durability and longevity. Regular cleaning not only maintains their beauty but also extends their life.

It is not mandatory to clean your bag regularly. While leather is robust and requires minimal care, occasional cleaning can significantly enhance its shine.

Leather is a special material that requires attention while cleaning. Conventional cleaning methods are not suitable for cleaning leather bags. This article will provide in-depth knowledge of how to clean leather bags.

 Let’s begin.

Cleaning the Leather Bags

The knowledge of fabrication material is essential before cleaning the leather bags. Some synthetic materials, created through processes like polymerization, can mimic the appearance of natural leather. It’s important to assess the bag’s material and quality before attempting to clean it.

Considering you have a leather bag with faded color due to regular usage. Cleaning is easy if you follow our simple steps. These include; 

Empty the Leather Bag

Empty the Leather Bag

To clean a leather purse, take out all the essentials. Check all the zippered compartments and free them from any small materials that can cause hindrances during cleaning. 

It reduces the risk of damaging the leather bags. One solution is to open all the pockets and turn the bags inside out. It enables you to check every pocket with ease.

Handling with Care

With prolonged use, leather can become soft and delicate. This happens due to a lack of care and cleaning of bags. Rough treatment of the leather bags may harm the surface of the bags.

In that case, seek professional help and don’t put unnecessary liquids on the outer surface of the leather bags. 

Cleaning the Interior

Cleaning the Interior of bag

After carefully checking the internal pockets of the leather bags, cleaning any small debris or hairs attached to the inner linings is essential. A lint roller is the perfect tool for this purpose.

Gently move the lint roller onto the pockets of the leather bags. It ensures the cleaning of any small particles or hairs inside the bags.

Wiping the Leather Bags

To wipe the leather bags, you will need some amount of lukewarm water. Use a microfiber cloth to clean the leather bags. It will not rub the leather surface. It is also preferable to wear white clothes as they are free from any pigments or colored substances.

Dip the cloth into the warm water and gently wipe over the outer surface of the leather bag. You can also use soapy water in place of simple water. Furthermore, this article explains different materials that are usable in cleaning leather bags. 

Drying the Leather Bags 

DRY the Leather Bag

After carefully wiping all the surfaces of the leather bags, take a dry microfiber cloth and start drying the bags. Use the cloth softly and gently. Rapid cleaning may cause the leather to tear out due to moisture.

Cleaning Metal Surfaces

Large leather bags come with metal buckles and clips. Rust appears on the buckles because of dust. It is essential to clean them otherwise they will get rusty and eventually break apart.

A metal polish usually of black or brown color is suitable for cleaning metal surfaces. Firstly, clean the surface using a microfiber cloth, then clean it with water. After drying, apply the polish with the help of cotton swabs. 

The swabs are helpful in accurate deposition of polish onto the metal surfaces. After buffing with the microfiber cloth, the buckles look as good as new. 

Remember that polish disturbs the color of leather. So, you have to make sure that polish can’t touch the leather surface of the bags.  

Leather Conditioning

Conditioning of the leather is the most crucial part of cleaning any leather bag. Several methodologies are present on the internet to form the conditioning agents for leather. Conditioners are helpful in providing oil and moisture to the leather bags.

You will probably think why is it crucial? The answer is very simple. Cleaning the leather bags using water will disturb the leather and minimize the oil content of the leather. Ultimately, leather falls down with time. So, it is essential to use leather conditioners.

Conditioners are also made up of waxes and various oils. It includes flaxseed oil, coconut oil, mink oil, etc. It provides the bag its distinctive appearance without damaging the raw material. Wax is a common chemical for making conditioners.

Removing Mold & Mildew

Removing Mold & Mildew from leather bag

Mold and mildew are basically fungi that thrive in damp, warm, and dark environments. So how do moldy spots appear on leather bags? The simplest explanation is that the leather is porous allowing water droplets to pass through.

Fungi grow in size if the bag remains inside the cupboard for a long time. Fungi appear as white spots on the fabric of bags or clothes.

Warm Water

Removing the mold from the leather is a step-by-step process. First, you need to dip the bag in warm water for half an hour. Then, dry the bag completely. Take soft microfiber clothes and dry all the leather parts of the bags.

Repeat the process until the leather feels completely dried from the inside. There is no need to buy chemicals to clean molds


Disinfectants present at home are also usable to clear molds. Dip a cotton swab in alcohol and rub it on mold surfaces. Then, absorb the alcohol using cotton balls. Repeat the process until the stains feel lighter in appearance.


If marks are still there, try using vinegar. It is not a standard practice to use only vinegar. Mix vinegar with water and put it on the required area using a microfiber cloth. Continue the process till the mods completely disappear.

Drying the Leather

It is crucial to dry the leather bags after the cleaning process. Too much heat can damage the leather. So, adjust the time until the bag is completely dry.

Leather Conditioner

Apply a leather conditioner gently on the outer surface of the leather bags. It gives a glossy appearance to the bags. It also reduces the moisture on the leather surface.

Removing Odor

What causes the bad smell inside the leather bags? There are multiple reasons for this. Most common include food spillage, improper cleaning, oils, mold on the outside of bags bad fabric etc. 

It is easy to clean the bags if you know the reason for malfunctioning. There are different methodologies for removing odor from leather bags. Some major are as follows;

Open Air

Place the leather bags in the open air to allow airflow. Placing the leather bag inside the cupboard for a long time may cause a bad smell. It is useful to allow the crossing of air. Fresh air will keep the leather bags dry and clean.

Baking Soda

The most commonly used method to avoid odor is the use of baking soda. Place the baking soda on a microfiber cloth and put some water on it. Place the cloth inside the bag for several hours. 

Rubbing the baking soda onto the leather reduces the bad smells. Keep the leather bags covered with baking soda overnight and observe afterward. Repeat the process if the smell is still there. 

Activated Charcoal

Charcoal briquettes are perfect for capturing unpleasant odors from the bags. Simply, take paper towels and put charcoal inside it. Completely cover the charcoal with paper towels and place it inside the bags.  

Silica Gel

Silica gel works the same way as charcoal but with different chemical procedures. It uses the phenomenon of physical absorption to capture the bad smell of the leather. Place a packet containing silica gel inside the leather bags. It helps in vanishing the bad odor from the leather products.


People use coffee to remove unpleasant odors from their bags. Place the coffee inside a cloth and place a knot on top. After that, put the cloth containing coffee inside the bag and close the zips. After several hours, remove the cloth and check for any bad smells.

Place the leather bag in a cool, dry place with open air to avoid future grime. The airflow will keep the bag fresh and free from bad smells.

Leather Used in Leather Bags


The leather industry is one of the vast and widely renowned industries in the world. Leather products are appealing and long-lasting as well. They are a symbol of strength and elegance.

In manufacturing leather bags, the brands focus on the type of leather they are using in making their products. The leather market has all types, from casual to top-quality premium leather. Some top-quality leathers are as follows;

Cowhide Leather

This is the most common and expensive leather in the market. Bags made out of cowhide leather are durable and shiny. People who want aesthetic and premium bags prefer these types of leather bags.

It is also super easy to clean the leather bags made of cowhide leather. Just follow the simple steps explained above. It will protect your leather bag from any stains and debris.

Bonded Leather

Chemically, it is not pure leather. It is made of synthetic materials that make it look like a leather product. PU leather is an example of such a product.

Bonded leather is not as expensive, and it is also easy to clean. People use bags made out of this leather because of its appearance. Detergent solution or stain removal liquids can clean the faux leather.

As it is not genuine leather, less crease, and abrasions are present on the outer surface of the bags. Shining the surface makes it look brand new.

Top Grain Leather

Top grain leather is somewhat similar to full grain leather with a difference in their appearance. Top grain leather is not as strong as the full grain but it is the second best leather for making leather bags.

The thickness of top-grain leather bags is not greater than the of full-grain leather bags. It is because of polishing and shining the surface of the leather bags. Reduced thickness enables its use for making various kinds of leather bags.

This type of leather is suitable for making premium quality luxury leather bags. The leather is lightweight and shiny. It is also easy to clean this leather as it has a lot of oil content on the outer surface. Cleaning will increase the beauty of the leather bags.

Pull-Up Leather

Pull-up leather is generally a mixture of hide with oil or wax. Excessive conditioning and rubbing of waxy material onto the hide give it a new tone. It is also known as double-tone leather material.

Fiber clothes and stain removal liquids are ideal for cleaning this leather. As less creases are visible, this leather is long-lasting and shiny.

Buffalo Leather

Buffalo leather is the thickest type of leather. It is not elastic like cowhide leather. This makes it difficult to stitch as well. 

Lesser tanning on the leather assures the longevity of the bags. It also makes the bags expensive. For the purpose of cleaning, it is essential to use leather conditioners.

It will help in softening the buffalo leather making it easy to clean. Use stain removal chemicals if stains are present after cleaning with water. 

Household Products to Clean Stains on Leather Bags

Household Products to Clean Stains on Leather Bags

You should be able to clean the leather bags at home using common household products. It excludes the cleaning of hard chemical stains and torn pieces of leather.

Clean the casual stains quickly if you want your leather bag to be free from any persistent stains. The longer the stain remains, the greater it will damage the leather. 

Common stains are easily washable using household essentials that include inks, oil, black marks, watermarks, wine or dust, etc. 

Oil & Grease Stains

Grease stains are one of the hardest stains present on leather bags. Avoid cleaning it yourself if you don’t know the common material used for cleaning. 

Oil stains can come from any food or pure oil. It varies depending on the nature of the oil. Baking soda, talcum powder and cornstarch are perfect for cleaning these stains. You can use any one powder of your preference.

The process of cleaning involves the sprinkling of any one of these powders onto the stain marks. Then, you can either rub the stain using a microfiber cloth or leave it overnight.

The next day, use brushes with soft bristles to clean off the powder from the surface of the leather bags. It will remove or reduce the stains depending on the nature of the stain. Complete the process by using leather conditioners at the end.  

It will provide a shiny and glossy look to the leather. Repeat the process 2-3 times if harder stains are present. Avoid using the method if it disturbs the leather texture and structure.

Ink Stains

Ink stain is a common problem in leather bags around the world. People prefer removing it on their own because it damages the surface of the bags. It is convenient to know common methods of removing ink stains.

Alcohol is an extraordinary solvent that can remove ink stains from leather bags. Ethanol or Isopropyl Alcohol (IPA) is ideal for this purpose. Avoid using concentrated alcohols, which will dry the leather, making it fall apart.

Clean ink stains with the help of dilute alcohol. Grab a cotton ball and dip it in alcohol. Place it onto the stain and lift it after a few seconds. Now, use a second cotton ball soaked in diluted alcohol.

The alcohol will absorb all the inks from the leather making it look brand new. Excessive alcohol can also damage the leather. Keep in mind to use dilute alcohol.

White Water Marks

Water on the surface of leather leaves white marks on evaporation. The marks are easy to remove if you do it right away. The marks are visible as ring-like structures. 

If the marks stay longer than a few hours, use a damp cloth dipped in lukewarm water. Gently rub the microfibre cloth on the stain portion of the leather until it goes away. Avoid hard and excessive rubbing as it can damage the leather.  

Black Dust Marks

Long use of the leather bags without proper cleaning leaves black marks on the leather. With time, it covers up the entire bag. So, it is essential to clean it up. Conditioning agents made for leather are essential in regaining the essence of leather.

Dust stains are removed using materials with a bleaching effect. Remember that it is usable for light-colored leather. Dark color leather may lose its shade making it look old and vague.

Cream of tartar and lemon juice removes dust stains from the leather. Mix equal ratios of lemon and cream of tartar. It creates a thick paste-like solution. Apply it onto the stain and leave it for fifteen minutes.

Wipe the paste using a clean white cloth. Dry the leather bag and observe if the stain is present or not. 

Nail Polish Stains

Fresh nail polish stains are removable from the leather using baby wipes. Avoid excessive rubbing as it can spread the stain further. 

For old stains, use nail polish removal. Take a cotton swab and soak it in the nail polish removal. Place the swab gently onto the stains. Be careful while placing the cotton swab. 

Look closely and observe. Clean the stain area with a soft cloth and let it dry for some time. 

Wine Stains

Wine stains are most difficult to remove from the leather.  The red wine stains are removable using many methods. It is desirable to perform the method two to three times for an efficient result.

Mix soap and hydrogen peroxide to remove old wine stains. Gently rub the solution onto the stain using soft cloth. Repeat the process with gentle rubbing. At the end, let the leather dry for some time.

Another method is to use vinegar. Baking soda is also usable for this purpose. As described earlier, repeat the process multiple times for an effective result. 

Washing the Leather Bags

Is it possible to wash leather bags? Well, it depends on how you are washing the leather bags. To simplify, it is not permissible to wash the leather bags. 

But one can do it if they follow certain important steps. Washing the bags is generally not a good practice to keep the outer surface of the bags fresh and shiny.

Hand Washing

To wash the bag by hand, dip the bag in soap water for five to ten minutes. Later, take a soft cloth and gently rub it all across the leather bags. At last, clean the bag with a dry cloth making it clean and conditioned. 

Machine Washing

Normally, it is not beneficial to wash leather bags in washing machines. It will cause damage to the leather that is irreversible. Below are the steps for effective cleansing of the leather bags in the washing machine. 

Know the quality of your bag. It is important to know the material of the internal lining and the outer finishing material of the leather bags. If the lining is shrinkage material, the bag is not feasible to machine wash.

Moving forward, check the strength of your leather bag before putting it inside the washing machine. Ensure the leather is not falling apart before putting it in the water.

Use mild soaps and cleaning agents during washing. After the washing is complete, dry the bag in proper air. Make sure the leather is intact, and the lining is perfect.

Finish the cleaning procedure by rubbing some leather conditioners to give the bag a shiny and versatile appearance. 

Things Not to Use for Cleaning Leather

Things Not to Use for Cleaning Leather

The best practice is to keep the leather bags away from harsh and harmful chemicals. The damage to the bag is severe enough that it will not remain usable. After cleaning, avoid exposing the bags to direct sunlight as it can disrupt the leather bags.


After cleaning the bag, it is not compulsory to dry the leather bags in an instant. Placing the leather bags in front of the heater makes the leather dry. Eventually, it leads to damaging the appearance of the bags.

Cleaning Agents

Xylene, turpentine, bleach, and hydrogen peroxide are present in the cleaning agents. Acids are also present cleaning agents. 

When we use these chemically occupied cleaning agents, it damages the layers of the leather. The color of the leather fades away, and it will also start to fall apart. 


Solvents like acetone and alcohol may damage the leather. Cleaning products available in the market for cleaning goods are not usable for leather bags. Harsh chemicals are not ideal for cleaning leather products. 

That’s why proper use of any chemical is essential for cleaning leather. A small quantity of dilute alcohol is enough to clean the leather instantly. Long-term contact with the leather will surely damage the product. 


Most people use shoe or furniture polishes to clean the leather bags. These polishes are incompatible with the leather of the bags.

Polish with cleaning properties is different from shoe polish or furniture polish. Additionally, conditioning leather products that are best suitable for cleaning are available in the market. 

Storing the Leather Bag

Storing the Leather Bag

Leather is vulnerable to moisture, sunlight, and temperature. Leather bags are more expensive than other bags. So, proper storage of the bags is crucial for its longevity.

Proper Cleaning

Storing the leather bags requires proper cleaning. Leather bags need to be free from moisture. Use microfiber cloths and paper towels to clean the leather bags. Leather conditioners are also usable to preserve the original shine and texture of the leather bags.

Ideal Conditions

It is necessary to select the best place to store leather bags. The ideal conditions for leather bags include a temperature range of 10-22 °C. Avoid sunlight to keep the leather safe. Relative humid conditions in the 50-60% range are ideal for storing leather bags.

Proper ventilation and a dust-free environment will keep the leather bags secure and ready to use whenever required. 

Storage Containers

Store the leather bags inside the dust bags. It protects the bags from the smell, dust, and excessive heat. It also keeps the bags away from moisture and humid conditions.

Plastic containers or pillow sheets are also perfect for holding leather bags. It is also feasible to place the leather bags inside drawers, dividers, or shelves for wardrobes. Removal of bags after two weeks is essential in this case.

Temperature Variations

Temperature affects the storage location of the leather bags. The storage areas are different for the summer and winter months. Follow the ideal conditions if you want to keep the leather bags safe. Cover the leather bags with dust or plastic bags to avoid dust or smell. 


Cleaning the leather bags is crucial in maintaining the texture and color of the leather intact. Several cleaning methods are present to protect the leather from stains, molds, and filthy odors. 

It is important to address the small issues before they turn big and destroy your valuable leather bags. Be sure to follow the steps as you don’t want these problems to come back. 

Frequent cleaning and proper storage conditions will keep the leather flawless for a maximum amount of time. By following these standard practices to clean and store, you can protect your investment while continuing to use the best leather bags present in the market.

Frequently Asked Questions

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