How to Clean a Leather Purse

Happy Friday! I’m so excited it’s the weekend, all of the productiveness I’ve accomplished this week made me ready for some relaxation. I finally cleaned my oven again after the turkey juice leaking incident since I wanted to cook food without it smelling like I was burning down the house… again. Then I tried six different ways to get a dry erase maker out of fabric with no success, boo. I have one more idea but I have to go out and buy the cleaner for it. Anyways, I also managed to clean my leather purse and write a post about it to share with you.

I’ve been carrying this purse around for a while and noticed some dirt spots around the bottom and pockets, figured it was time to clean the leather. My purse is made of a very soft leather, so test in an inconspicuous spot if your purse is waxed/shiny.To clean your leather purse, you will need:

  • Soft cloth, preferably a microfiber one
  • Water
  • Spray bottle
  • Baby soap/shampoo (optional)

Do not use this method on suede purses as it may ruin them.

Clean a Leather Purse

Gross, I’m pretty sure most of that comes from sitting on my desk at work, and maybe sitting on the carpet at home.

  1. Fill a spray bottle with water and 1-2 drops of baby soap. You can use just water too, which is what I used in this tutorial.
  2. Spray or wet your cloth just enough that it feels wet, slightly damp. Do not spray the purse directly.

    Cleaning leather

    Please ignore the chipping manicure, I just haven’t gotten around to removing the rest of it yet. 🙂

  3. Check for color fastness in an inconspicuous spot first.
  4. Gently wipe the purse down and re-wet  cloth as needed.


    Sorry about the wonky coloring, bathroom shots are always weird and hard to fix.

You can see the dirt that came off of my purse, however, a little bit of that is color from my leather purse, which is why you should wipe gently.

Cleaning a Leather Purse

Much better!

All of that dirt came off with just water, however, if you have a very dirty purse with some oily spots, I do recommend adding a drop or two of baby soap/shampoo and checking for color fastness. The baby shampoo will help remove stubborn dirt and oil and is mild enough that it should not damage the leather. I would also recommend if your purse is very dirty and has bad oil stains or other stains that you have a professional clean it (for those of you with very expensive leather purses).

Happy Cleaning!


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28 Responses to How to Clean a Leather Purse

  1. Kim Miller says:

    I just received a new-to-me Coach purse from a dear friend for Christmas and was wondering about the proper way to clean it without messing it up. I’m going to give this method a shot. Thanks Angela!

  2. Dj says:

    I use saddle soap.

  3. Julie says:

    I’ll give this a try, I have 2 proper leather bags which I’ve not cleaned for fear of doing it wrong (though not especially expensive ones) but they are half decent so I wouldn’t want to wreck them. I’m definitely getting “gently gently” advice coming through here – thanks

  4. Jennie says:

    I totally will be doing this! Thanks for sharing!

  5. This is wonderful, next time I’ll try this instead of burying it in my closet and buying a new purse!

  6. Jodee says:

    This is great! I’m going to try this now. I have some very expensive leather purses I set aside because I wasn’t sure how to clean them. I’m going to give this a try!

  7. Jill says:

    Two Words: Saddle Soap.

    It’s made for cleaning leather, it’s fairly inexpensive and you know it won’t damage anything.

    • That’s a great suggestion Jill! I would be sure to check and make sure that you get the right kind of saddle soap as it can dry out the leather if it is used on the wrong type. For example, a waxed leather cleaner would dry out my leather purse because it’s made of the softer leather, whereas a cream leather cleaner would clean, moisturize and protect the soft leather.

  8. courtney says:

    I love this! I have a grey leather bag and never knew you could clean it that well!

  9. My poor purses get so dirty and dingy–they’ll be thanking you for these tips! So glad you shared this at Frugal Crafty Home!

  10. I needed to read this today! My purse is looking a little dirty! Thanks for sharing at The Weekend Retreat, hope to see you back next Thursday.

  11. First….I love your purse!!!
    Isn’t it interesting that water and a soft cloth cleans so many things?
    Thanks for sharing this great tip at Project Inspire{d}! Can’t wait to see what you link up this week!!

  12. This is awesome; I have a bunch of leather purses that could definitely use some cleaning! Thanks so much for sharing this at Creativity Unleashed; pinning it for sure!

  13. Rosario says:

    do you think this would work with leather couches? Mine are in need of a cleaning.

  14. Alison says:

    wondering how to lighten darkened area on my new camel colored handbag. I removed ink from it, then went back with cream conditioner that claims to not darken, and it did. So now it looks worse than the actual stain!

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