How to Clean and Care For Leather Handbags at Home?


Purchasing a genuine leather handbag is an investment that should last many years—if properly maintained. Cleaning a leather handbag isn’t as hard as it may seem. Regularly basic cleaning methods are pretty straightforward, which can be done at home and can prevent some challenging stains.

Most of our handbags are in good condition, but some of them have some minor issues. They just need to be regularly cleaned up.

Leather is a natural animal hide that’s porous and quickly absorbs oils from our skin and other sources. Regular care for your handbag is pretty essential, especially when spills and stains happen. Examine the inside of your bag for care labels.

Follow the recommended cleaning guidelines, and take care to identify the material and stains (e.g., ink, food, or general grime) for treatment.

Different materials of bags need to be cleaned differently. In today’s article, we’ll mainly talk about how to clean pebbled leather bags and suede bags at home in an easy, inexpensive, and reliable way.

How to Clean Leather Handbags?

What You Will Need?

Step 1: Gather All The Above Tools and Materials

Whiter vinegar may sound surprising, but it really can work on a leather bag. Don’t worry about the smell, it’ll eventually go away.

Step 2: Empty The Handbag

Empty your handbags of everything. Take everything out and put them aside.

Step 3: Prepare The Work Area

You can have a more oversized clean towel to lay on the table first like your surface work area before cleaning.

Step 4: Reverse and Shake The Handbag

Reverse the handbag, turn it upside down and gently shake it. This can remove most of the debris pretty easily.

Step 5: Wipe The Leather Handbag Down With Cool Water

Dip the clean rag with cool water and wipe the bag first. There’s a lot of surface dirt. Keep rubbing the area if there’s a specific stain until it is damp but not soaked.

Step 6: Wipe The Leather Handbag With Soda And Water

Mix an equal part of white vinegar and cool water in the bowl. You also can mix vinegar with baking soda. Then dip your piece of rag in the vinegar and gently rub it off on your bag and try to clean all stains up. The cleaning process really works with patience, so you have to be patient while cleaning the bag because it will take a lot of your time and effort.

Step 7: Dry The Leather Handbag Completely

Make sure to carefully dry the genuine leather with one more dry, clean rag to avoid any mildew.

Step 8: Moisturize The Leather

Leather conditioner is like a moisturizer for your leather handbag, which can keep the bag from flaking and wrinkling and make it resistant to future stains. Apply some leather conditioner to a soft rag and lightly rub the entire leather handbag. Leave the bag for 15 minutes and polish with another clean rag until the leather shines. After that, leave the handbag alone for 24 hours for the best effect.

Tips: A shoe polishing kit works too, and we can use this on the genuine leather bag but not suede ones.

How to Clean Suede Handbags?

What You Will Need?

Step 1: Reverse The Handbag to Give The Inner A Nice Dry

The first thing I do with the handbag is always turn it inside. That way, if you need to clean the inside, you can also do that. Typically, the inside of the suede handbag is fabric, so you could just clean this with soap and water or the dedicated cleaner. If the material is not dirty, but often on the inside, you want to brush away everything because you don’t want to clean it; you can use a dry household sponge.

Step 2: Dry Brush The Handbag

First, brush the suede handbag with a dry, clean sponge or a rag. Just because sometimes there’s just a lot of surface dirt on the bag. Take care to always go in the same direction. Don’t go back and forth. This can help loosen the soil and fibers. But sometimes that debris on bags is not necessarily a stain but maybe a little speck of something. This is especially true with like a used or thrift store bag.

Step 3: Wipe The Handbag With Dampe Water

Prepare a bowl of plain cool water with no product and gently wet the bag. You don’t want to soak it with suede. You can take a damp sponge and gently rub the bag to get the surface wet.

Step 4: Scrab The Hangbag With Suede Cleaner

Specifically, suede is a delicate, more challenging fabric to clean. You can get away with using soap and water most of the time, but for suede, you need some suede cleaner.

After your bags are damped, prepare one more bowl of plain cool water, and add a little bit of the cleanser. You don’t need a lot, just like a few slugs.

Next, use the soft side of the sponge with soapy water to gently scrub the areas you can. You don’t want to clean too hard with the suede because it’s a dedicated, almost nubby textured fabric, and you don’t want to damage it.

Make sure the bag is even, giving it a nice wash, not too rough. Then most of the dirties come off pretty quickly. If some surfaces get dirty in there, such as the edge and the bottom of the bag, you need to concentrate on that area a little more.

You can use the abrasive side of the sponge, do it along the grain of the suede, and do just a gently little scrub for a couple of minutes.

Step 5: Take Off Excess Soap

When you’re done with the scrubbing part, you’re just going to take your cool, clean water again and give the sponge a rinse. You can use a sponge, rag, or a microfiber towel to remove any excess soap, so if you cleaned the inside, make sure to do the inside as well.

Step 6: Dry The Bag In A Dry, Cool Area

If you want to dry the handbag in the right shape, you can take some packing materials stuff you might have from shipping; you also could use a dry towel. Stop the bag so it doesn’t dry and hand any distorted wrinkled shape or anything. Let it dry in an excellent area for 24 hours to avoid any possible mildew. Please don’t put it in front of a fireplace, a furnace, or anything like that. Suede and leather should be stored in cool temperatures.

Step 7: Brush The Sticky Spots With The Suede Eraser

If there are still some extra-stubborn stains or anything else, you can try the dedicated suede eraser and brush them down. You can shop it from Amazon or your local grocery store. Light goes back and forth over the sticky spots until the dirt disappears.

Step 8: Shave Or Cut Any Thready Bits

You can have a pair of scissors in case there are loose strings or something that needs to be cut. After buffering the suede, you might notice some fibers are a little longer than others. You can try using scissors or electric razors to trim the bag.

Tips To Wash Your Leather Handbags

  1. Use a soft brush instead stiff cleaning tools and alcohol-based cleaners on genuine leather.
  2. Try not to rub too hard. Excessive rubbing will damage the leather and result in inward stains, making them even harder to remove.
  3. Do not get leather soaking wet.

Tips To Maintain Your Leather Handbags

  1. Try not to carry a leather handbag on a rainy day.
  2. Try to clean the bag regularly every week.
  3. Try to maintain the bags regularly every month.
  4. Do not store your quality leather handbags in a wholly enclosed place.
  5. Store your leather handbags in a dust bag.
  6. Keep all your makeup inside a small makeup bag. This will protect the inner of your handbag from getting dirty.
  7. Keep your pets off your leather bag.


Understanding how to clean a leather bag will keep yours looking perfect and lasting a more extended time. All the above tips can help you better know how to give a leather handbag a basic cleaning. If you have any problems with this topic, feel free to comment.



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