How To Clean a Leather Purse

by Albert Varkki updated 07-24-2023

Table Of Contents

man prepping leather purse for cleaning

Leather purses are a fashionable and long-lasting option for everyday usage.

They can, however, develop dirt, grime, and stains with time.

Regular cleaning can help keep your leather purse looking good and lasting a long time.

Here’s a detailed approach to cleaning a leather purse.

What You'll Need

Here's the list of things you'll need to clean your leather purse:

  • Mild soap or leather cleaner
  • Soft cloths
  • Leather conditioner
  • Baking soda or cornstarch
  • White vinegar
  • Soft-bristled brush
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Cotton swabs

Cleaning Daily Marks & Dirt

leather purse next to leather cleaner

  1. Empty Your Purse: First, empty your purse. Remove all goods and thoroughly inspect all pockets to ensure nothing is left inside.
  2. Dust Off: Dust off the purse’s surface with a soft cloth. This will get rid of any loose grime or dust.
  3. Soap Solution: Combine warm water and a few drops of mild soap or a leather cleaner. Avoid using aggressive detergents or chemicals that can harm the leather.
  4. Wipe Down: Soak a soft cloth in the solution and wring away excess water. Wipe the purse’s exterior gently. To avoid spreading dirt, use a separate towel area for each piece.
  5. Dry: Wipe away any excess moisture with a dry soft cloth after washing. Allow the purse to air dry entirely before reusing it. Avoid direct sunshine or heat because that might cause the leather to fade or split.
  6. Conditioning (see below)

Deep Cleaning

black leather purse

  1. Spot Removal: To remove ink spots, dab a cotton swab liberally with rubbing alcohol and gently wipe it on the spot. Apply a tiny amount of cornstarch or baking soda on the stain and let it stay overnight to remove oil or grease stains. The powder will absorb the oil. Brush it away with a soft-bristled brush the next day.
  2. Odor Removal: If your pocketbook stinks, deodorize it by stuffing crumpled newspaper inside and leaving it overnight. The newspaper will absorb the reek.
  3. Interior Cleaning: You can use a mixture of warm water and white vinegar to clean the handbag’s interior. Wipe the interior with a gentle cloth. The vinegar will aid in the removal of stains and the elimination of odors.
  4. Conditioning (see below)

Leather Conditioning (Crucial)

After you’ve cleaned it, condition the purse to restore its luster and suppleness. It also prevents it going dry and cracking.

Using a soft cloth, apply leather conditioner by buffing in a circular motion.

We recommend this Premium Leather Cream, as it's made from natural materials (more details in the video below):

Leather Purse Maintenance Tips

  • Always test a cleaning solution on a tiny, inconspicuous area first.
  • Avoid using baby wipes, vinegar, or other home treatments when cleaning leather. They have the potential to discolor and harm the cloth.
  • Store your purse in a cool, dry spot away from direct sunlight.
  • Clean it regularly to minimize the buildup of grime.

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Bonus tips:

  • Preventive Measures: Avoid overloading your purse. Store makeup and pens in separate compartments, and avoid placing your bag on filthy surfaces to prevent stains and damage.
  • Self-Made Leather Cleaner: Natural substances like vinegar and olive oil can make a homemade leather cleaner. This is a safer and more environmentally friendly alternative to conventional leather cleaners.
  • Professional Cleaning: Consider expert cleaning for expensive or vintage leather purses. They have the knowledge and tools to clean and restore leather without causing any damage.


What household items are useful to clean leather?

To clean leather, combine equal amounts of white vinegar and olive oil. A few drops of mild soap in warm water will do, too.

How do I restore the luster of my leather purse?

Cleaning and conditioning are essential for restoring the appearance of leather bags. If the surface has scratches or other problems, use a leather repair kit or take your bag to a specialist.

What had I better not use to clean leather?

Bleach and ammonia-containing treatments should never be used on leather because they are harsh and harmful to the material. Also, avoid using any abrasive sponges or brushes.

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We hope you enjoyed our article on how to clean a leather purse.

If you have any questions or comments, contact us at, or leave them in the comments.

Want to read more? Check out our Leather pages.

Author: Albert Varkki

Albert Varkki is the co-founder of Von Baer. He understands leather products as a consumer, supplier, and a manufacturer, helping you with the inside knowledge you need, to choose the perfect leather product for you.

We always aim to have the highest editorial standards, and only publish accurate information on our website.

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