The Best Way to Clean a Leather Handbag


The finest of leathers looks worn and dated if allowed to become dirty. Handbags see daily use and are often set on floors and other dirty areas, so they tend to become dirty more quickly than other accessories. While a deep cleaning should be done by professional, you can remove the surface grime at home. Cleaning the surface of your handbags regularly helps extend the life of the bag while ensuring it looks its best.

Things You'll Need

  • Glycerin soap
  • Soft cleaning cloths
  • Absorbent cloths
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Combine 2 squirts of glycerin soap with 2 cups warm water. Use mild liquid dish soap if you don't have glycerin soap.

  • Moisten a soft cloth in the soapy water. Blot the surface of the leather with the soapy water until all visible dirt is removed.

  • Soak a cloth in clear water. Wipe the surface of the leather, removing any remaining soap so it doesn't form a film.

  • Buff the leather with an absorbent cloth until it's dry. Allowing the leather to air dry without buffing may result in stiffness or mildew.

  • Mix 1 part rubbing alcohol with 1 part water. Blot any mildewed areas on the handbag with the alcohol solution until clean. Mildew tends to form on leather areas exposed to moisture, such as on the bottom of handbags or if the leather isn't allowed to dry thoroughly after cleaning. Allow the alcohol to air dry.

Tips & Warnings

  • Treat leather handbags with a leather conditioner after cleaning. This helps keep the bag supple and protects the leather.
  • Always test cleansers in a hidden area first to ensure they don't alter the color of the leather.

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