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How to clean leather bag

Read on for our top tips on how to clean a leather bag, including what to use and to avoid.


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Leather bag and leather wallet

Key steps to leather bag cleaning

  • Identify the type of leather your bag is made from – nubuck and suede need different cleaning methods to standard leather.
  • Use a commercial cleaner or make your own from mild dish soap and warm water. Always test your cleaner on a small spot first.
  • Wipe your bag with the cleaner, inside and out, before tackling stains and drying with a clean cloth. Do not use a hairdryer or artificial heat to dry your leather bag.
  • Apply a leather protector or conditioner regularly to help protect it. Keep it out of direct sunlight which can cause cracking, fading, and discoloration.

If you've made the investment and bought a leather bag, you'll want to keep it in good condition for the years to come – but what if you don’t know how? Rather than visiting specialist cleaners, learn how to clean a leather bag at home with our expert tips.

Always take care when choosing products to clean your leather bag. Make sure they’re designed for leather care, follow the manufacturer’s instructions, and test them on a small spot first.

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How to wash your leather bag: Simple dos and don’ts

From steps to protect your bag to advice on how to polish a leather bag, here are the most important dos and don’ts you should be aware of when cleaning leather bags.

  1. DO use a leather protector. This is especially important before you wear it out for the first time. Top up regularly to make sure the benefits don’t wear away with use!
  2. DO know about which type of leather your bag is made of. Nubuck leather will need different treatments to suede. For more advice on suede care, read our article on how to clean suede, shoes, jackets and accessories.
  3. DO test any cleaning products on a small area first. This will allow you to check that the product you have chosen will not cause any adverse reactions to the leather.
  4. DON’T use a hairdryer to dry your bag when cleaning. Excess exposure to the levels of heat produced by a hairdryer can damage the surface of your bag.
  5. DON’T expose your bag to direct sunlight. If you want to avoid cracking or colour fading, make sure your bag isn’t exposed to too much direct sunlight – particularly when air drying after cleaning.

How to remove stains from a leather bag: FAQs about cleaning your leather bag

Need to know how to remove mold from leather bags or simply want a guide to basic cleaning? Read the steps below:


What do you need to clean your leather bag? 

There are a few items you need for cleaning your leather bag:

  • Two soft cleaning cloths
  • A small bowl
  • Warm water
  • A mild soap
  • A sponge
  • A dry towel
  • Leather conditioner


How do I clean my leather bag? 

Cleaning your leather bag can be done by following just 8 steps:

  1. Empty your bag, shaking it vigorously to ensure you remove any loose dirt and debris.
  2. Use a soft, dry cloth to wipe the inside of your bag.
  3. Dip the cloth into clean water, and once damp, wipe the outside of your bag. Take care not to soak the leather as this could cause damage.
  4. Mix a few drops of mild soap in a bowl of warm water and dip your sponge into the bowl containing your soapy water. Alternatively use a sponge and commercial cleaner. Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
  5. Use the sponge to clean the surface of your bag, always moving in the direction of the grain.
  6. Using a clean, dry towel to wipe off excess moisture and soap residue.
  7. Allow your bag to air dry for around 30 minutes.
  8. Using your second soft, clean cloth to apply your chosen leather conditioner. Don’t forget to follow the manufacturer’s instructions. Always rub the conditioner on in a consistent circular motion.


How do you get rid of greasy stains? 

Have you discovered a greasy stain from a product such as hand cream? Here’s how to remove it:

  • Soak up as much of the stain as you can as quickly as possible with a tissue.
  • Apply cornstarch to the stain to absorb remaining grease.
  • Remember to keep your leather protected as this product helps repel grease and liquids.


Can I clean biro off leather?

Dropped a pen into your bag and forgot to put the lid on? Don’t panic.

  • Try a commercial leather cleaner designed to tackle ink stains.
  • Dip cotton wool into a little rubbing alcohol and blot gently.
  • If in doubt, consult a professional. Ink stains can be stubborn to remove on leather.


How to remove mold from leather bags 

Learning how to remove mold from a leather bag is actually quite easy – you can use household items like white vinegar,  lemon juice, makeup remover, or disinfectant!

  1. Mix a small amount of your chosen cleaner with water.
  2. Dampen a clean cloth with this mixture and wipe across the moldy area.
  3. Repeat until the mold has been removed.
  4. Wipe with a dry cloth and let the bag air dry fully.
  5. If the mold was on the inside of the bag, leave it open while drying.
  6. Drying the bag in the sun can help kill any remaining mold particles but may risk fading or cracking the material if it’s exposed for too long.


How to clean white leather bags 

The process for cleaning a white leather bag is the same as any other type of leather bag. Avoid using any chemicals that may cause discoloration and check your leather protector is suitable for white colors.


How to polish a leather bag 

You don’t polish a leather bag – you condition it. Use a leather conditioner or protector and apply as instructed by the manufacturer. Usually you buff a small amount into the leather using circular motions.

So, whether you were looking for advice for how to clean white leather bags or tips on how to tackle common stains, we hope our tips have been useful!


Originally published