The Best Way to Clean A Leather Purse

Treat your leather purse with TLC.

Photo: Jupiterimages/BananaStock/Getty Images

What's a new outfit without hot-off-the-runway shoes and an oversized leather bag to sweeten the deal? You put it all together and now you want to keep it that way. Your fancy leather purse needs just as much attention as the rest of your wardrobe to keep it looking as clean as the day you charged it to your card. But don't trust a harsh household cleaner with your fine leather. The best way to clean something this special is with soap so mild, it's good enough for a baby.


Lay a microfiber cloth on a sturdy work surface before you begin cleaning. Empty the contents of your leather purse so it will lie flat on your work surface. Keeping it flat will allow you to get into all the nooks and crannies, so you can clean that baby right.


Clean minor dirt and debris stains from the leather using alcohol-free baby wipes. If you don't have baby wipes, add one drop of baby wash to a 12-ounce spray bottle of water. Seal the bottle and give it a shake to dilute the baby wash.


Wipe the leather down with the baby wipes. If you are using the baby wash concoction, dampen a microfiber cloth with the spray and wipe the leather down. Keep wiping using even strokes. Light pressure is OK if necessary, to get that nasty dirt out of the cracks and crevices of the leather. Give the leather a final wipe with a damp microfiber cloth to remove residue. Wow, your leather purse looks better already, huh?


Shine any metal hardware on your leather purse with a damp melamine foam sponge. Just run that sucker over the metal, exposing the luster of the metal. Give the metal a final buff with a clean microfiber cloth for a brilliant shine. Your leather purse rocks!

Things You'll Need


1.Microfiber cloths

3.Baby wash

5.Melamine foam sponge

2.Alcohol-free baby wipes

4.12-ounce spray bottle


Tips & Tricks


Not using your leather purse right away? Store it correctly. Fill it with balled up tissue paper to keep its shape and tuck it neatly into a cotton pillowcase. Store the leather purse upright or flat in a clean drawer or shelf where nothing will disturb it.

Does the inside of your leather bag need some attention? Use a small hand vacuum to remove loose debris. A sticky lint roller also works well for this job if you don't have a hand vac.

Do not rub the leather with the sponge or it could cause dulling. Remember -- melamine is good for metal, not for leather!

Little stains such as coffee and the occasional mustard bag explosion clean up easily with baby wipes. Leave serious stains such as ink and grease to professional leather cleaners, who have dry-cleaning chemicals that they use to remove stains.

Avoid oversaturating the leather bag with water during cleaning and never use alcohol-based cleaners. Doing so will cause the leather to crack and deteriorate. Also, do not use mink or any other type of oil to condition your leather purse. Leather sucks in these oils at a higher rate than it actually needs. While the oil may make the leather look nice for the short term, it can work against it later on.


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