How to Clean Leather Bags Without Damaging Them

One of the common accessories in almost everyone’s wardrobe is a leather bag. Not only is it versatile and stylish, it’s also durable and functional. However, not many people know how to clean leather bags. Some people notice that they start peeling off or growing mold after a while after purchasing.

If you’re in this situation, or if you just got a new bag and want to know how to maintain it, don’t worry, you’ve come to the right place.

In this article, we’ll show you how to clean your leather bags so they last long enough to meet your style needs.

How to care for your leather bag

Having a good quality leather bag is one thing. Making sure it’s clean and properly maintained is another thing. Whether you’ve just invested in a designer piece or a thrift store bag, how you clean and care for your bag is important to ensure you get your money’s worth.

So when you get stuck, clean up with:

Clean inside and out

Clean the inside and outside of the bag with a soft cloth using a cleaning solution (liquid soap or water and detergent).

During this time, squeeze the water out of the cloth and make sure it stays damp while using it on the bag.

wiping soap

Wipe the soap off the bag using another damp cloth. Then dry the bag with a dry cloth or towel.

Apply leather conditioner/protective cream

Leather conditioner protects the bag from stains and gives it a shine. You can buy it at the store or make it by mixing vinegar and linseed oil.

Whatever leather conditioner you use, apply it to the bag and let it sit for about 15 minutes before buffing with a soft cloth until the leather shines.

Also, when applying the protective cream, pay attention to the handles, corners, and areas that are touched often. Make sure the conditioner touches these areas and buff any excess before letting the bag air dry. It may cause fading and cracking.

How to remove stains from leather bags and shoes

Man cleaning a small leather bag

If your leather bag is stained, the best way to clean it is with a leather care kit. However, if it’s out of stock or you can’t find it in a store, try one of the following methods to remove the stain.

grease or oil

For oil stains, sprinkle baking soda on the affected area. Rub gently with a damp cloth and leave for several hours, preferably overnight, then wipe off with a soft cloth.

Soda absorbs oil.

ink stain

Dip a cotton swab in nail polish remover, or rubbing alcohol and gently wipe off the dirt. Do not rub the swab on the affected area to avoid spreading the ink. Wipe gently until the stain is gone, then wipe with a clean damp cloth and dry with a soft cloth or towel.


Use toothpaste to clean any marks left by rubbing or grazing the bag against surfaces or objects. Apply toothpaste to the scratched area and rub it with a soft cloth.


Mildew can grow on leather bags if they get damp. But if you notice this, don’t worry. Use baking soda to remove mold.

Just sprinkle baking soda on the affected area and leave it overnight. After that, gently rub the mold with a wet cloth, wipe it off with a dry cloth, and let it dry naturally.

If baking soda is not available, gently scrub the mold with a soft brush. When you’re done, polish the bag with wax or shoe polish to give it a glossy sheen.

How often should I clean my leather bag?

Photo of a moldy brown leather bag

This depends on how often you use the bag. If you use it every day, clean it once every 2-3 months. But if it’s infrequent, clean it every six months.

Always protect your leather bag

Pictures showing how to clean a wikihow leather bag

Prevention is better than cure, so always try to keep your leather bag safe from harm. A great way to do that is to clean it regularly.

You should also know how to protect your leather bag from peeling. This is necessary because no matter how clean the bag is, if it starts to peel off, it will shake and feel sick.

Also important is how the bag is stored. Store in a dust bag for durability. When the bag is not in use, stuff it with old newspapers. Helps keep shape.

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