Keep Your Leather Handbags Looking New and How To Clean Them Correctly

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pur27The following information is from Cosmopolitan magazine, but the how to clean your leather and keep it looking shiny new is purely my content and ideas.

When you’ve invested a lot of money in a handbag, making sure it’s a forever item is a must. But taking care of leather goods can be tricky – and when it’s an item you seriously care about, so much more is a stake.

The place to start, says Jordan Smith of the Handbag Clinic, is with prevention. “Always protect your bag with a reputable protection cream/treatment. This should be done from day one and applied at least once every two to three months.”

“Proper protection can prevent staining, grease penetration and can prevent all manner of issues later on.”pur01

“As well as protecting, regular cleaning, even if it is just a quick wipe-down, is a must. For a quick wipe-down, a damp cloth is enough, but typically bags will need a more thorough clean by a professional or using specialist cleaning products every 2-3 months to keep them in top condition.”

I suggest keeping your bag covered either with the dust cover that came with the bag or with an old pillow case. This will keep your bag dust free while not in use.

To maintain the shape of the bag, keep your handbag stuffed with butcher block paper or white rags. This will definitely help keep your bag’s shape while in closet storage.pur05

I personally own about 75 to 100 designer bags. Yes, I have a handbag fetish, but I also maintain three websites that I resell gently used designer bags on. I feel this is why I am an expert in keeping  bags looking their best,  because best is what I strive for. In the process of striving for the best cleaning process, I’ve tried them all. At least it seems like I have tried them all.

How To Clean Your Leather Handbag

Always go with the grain of the leather while cleaning or applying product.pur11

I like to use Castile soap with any mild scent and distilled water. I mix 1 to 2Tbs. soap with one bottle or 16.9 FL OZ of the distilled water. Mix until you have slight bubbles. I also have a couple of rags and an old toothbrush on hand as well. Dip the edge of one of the rags is the soapy water and wring out the rag so it’s basically damp. Start wiping down the handbag.pur12 If there is a stubborn stain or dirty area use your toothbrush to gently rub the spot. Gently rub spot with your rag or toothbrush until the spot comes clean.pur14


While cleaning leather is not rocket science, common sense is necessary. If your stain is ink,  the above process will not work no matter how hard you scrub. You will just ruin your bag. I am strictly talking about dirt stains now in the above paragraph. Different stains aside from general dirt have different processes. Please use your common sense.

pur24I’ll tell you however my favorite leather cleaning product for any stain is Lincoln E-Z cleaner. It safely cleans suede, leather, buck, vinyl, nylon, linen, canvas, satin and nu-buck. This product is truly my go to stain remover for leather stains of all sorts. Follow bottle directions. It can be purchased at your local cobbler or on line. Aside from this cleaner, I wouldn’t use anything else to clean a stain until a professional has been consulted.

Back To Cleaning

After the handbag has had a good wipe down with the soap and water, it is time to let it dry. After the handbag has fully dried and is clean I like to add polish.pur16 I use Meltonian boot and shoe cream polish. It is a leather polish and safe to use on bags. I use a dabber to apply the polish to the handbag. I use the same color polish of the handbag. I will mix colors if I need to,to get a color I don’t have but can make.pur19 Otherwise I order the appropriate color before I start the cleaning process.

I wait until the polish has completely dried and then I will use a horsehair brush to polish the cream polish to a dull shine.pur22 At this point you can then use a clean rag after the horsehair brush and bring the leather to a brilliant shine with a little elbow grease. I prefer to use a leather shiner and conditioner. In this case I am using Kiwi shine sponge to easily bring it to a brilliant shine.pur26 After applying the Kiwi shine sponge your cleaning has been completed.

After Thoughts

pur18Just to be clear there are many ways to clean leather handbags. I also often use leather cleaning product made for this purpose.pur25 I like Force Field leather cleaner and conditioner and Armour All leather care gel. Leather cleaner’s tend to cost a lot of money so my post was about saving you money by cleaning your hand bags with products you might have around the house. Baby shampoo can be substituted for Castile soap.

Look at this hand bag shine!pur27

Don’t Forget The Cleaning of The Inside of Your Bag

Turn your bag upside down after you have emptied it and shake all the crumbs and whatnot’s into the garbage can.pur29 Make sure the inside is completely cleaned out. Pull the inside lining out of the bag. For this spot cleaning I used the Lincoln E-Z cleaner to show you how versatile this spot cleaner is. Apply a little cleaner onto a rag. A white rag would be best. Then gently rub the spots away and let the area dry.pur30

Ta Da. A great looking hand bag inside and out!


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