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How to Clean a Leather Purse

Keeping your purse clean is not only important but necessary to keep germs out of your house. The better care you take of your purse, then the longer it will last. However, you have to be very careful how you clean it as not to ruin the leather.

Steps to Clean a Leather Purse

Here are the steps to clean your leather purse.

Identify Type of Leather

leather-messenger-bag how to clean a leather purse
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There are 5 types of leather used to make handbags. According to Liberty Leather Goods, those include: split grain, bonded, genuine, top grain and full grain.  Determining the type of leather will be important to decide which way to clean it. 

For the purpose of this article we will be talking about cowhide leather only. Be sure to check the tag inside of your bag or look at the manufacturer’s website before cleaning for any care instructions!

Gather Ingredients

You will need several ingredients in order to clean your purse.  For a traditional clean, you will simply need a bowl of warm water and a few drops of mild hand soap. For a more holistic approach, you will need white vinegar, olive oil, and your favorite essential oil.

You will also need a linen cloth or a few paper towels. Mix 1/4 cup of the vinegar, 1/4 cup of olive oil and 5-10 drops of essential oils into a bowl.

Most handbags should be washed once a week. Some can go longer, but in the Covid-19 era, it is a good idea to wash them often as they can carry bacteria everywhere you go. 


Traditional method – Take the damp cloth and dip it into the bowl with warm water and soap. Gently graze over the surface of the leather quickly with the cloth. Be sure to pat the area dry afterwards. Also, don’t put too much soap in the mixture as the oils from the soap can stay in the leather.

Holistic method – Dap the cloth into the vinegar, warm water, essential oil mixture. Depending on the severity of the clean needed, feel free to rub the surface thoroughly. After you wipe down the entire surface of the purse, do another pass over with a dry cloth. 

Keep in mind when cleaning to move in a circular motion to clean as much of the surface as possible without overdoing it.

Other Areas


Via JamesDeMers on PIxabay

Some stains on leather can be spot treated as well! One hack, according to Glamrs, you can blot any stain on the outside leather with a blotting cloth and then apply a small amount of talcum powder. After letting that set for a moment, you simply wipe it away. This should take care of any minor stains. 

Leather cleaning wipes can also be used to for fresh stains or for a quick on the go cleaning.


Once your bag has been properly cleaned, it is important to condition it with a good leather product. Whether in liquid or balm form, a conditioner should be applied in the same circular motion as you used to clean your purse.

By using a conditioner, you can go longer between cleanings and add years of life to your purse as well.



There are some other ways to clean your purse as well. Many purse brands sell specific cleaning kits for leather purses. Coach and Michael Kors both sell reasonably priced kits. 



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