How to Care for and Clean Your Leather Purse

Okay, brace yourselves people. I am about to reveal a random truth about myself.

Are you ready???

Okay here goes… I only own one purse. *collective gasp!*

Yup, I am a one purse kinda gal. I usually wait until my current purse in in tatters, and then I thoughtlessly and impulsively buy a bagΒ  that strikes my fancy. My last purse I bought about a year and a half ago while on a roadtrip around Monument Valley in Utah.. it was a Navajo design woven rug hobo bag. Super cute!

But it is already starting to look a bit shabby, and I was starting to feel the urge / desire / hankering to buy a QUALITY purse that will last me for more than just a year or two. I have always wanted a real leather purse, so I sat down, did some serious online shopping, and finally settled on this Nino Bossi leather hobo bag at a super crazy markdown on Overstock. I LOOOOOVE IT!!!!!!

So now that I have my hopefully long term purse, I wanted to make sure I am taking care of it. Good quality leather purses can last for decades if you care for them properly. Proper care prevents the leather from drying out and cracking, and it protects it from excessive moisture that can cause the skin to swell or mildew. If you keep to a cleaning schedule you’ll have a soft, reliable leather handbag for years to come.

How to Care For and Clean Your Leather Purse

1. Handle your leather purse with clean hands.

Leather bags are essentially skin.. and just like your skin, it is susceptible to absorbing grease, oils and chemicals! Take extra special care of your bag at hair salons and keep it away from coloring solutions, hair sprays and other hair products, which can seriously damage the leather over time. Also, keep cosmetics inside a pouch, cap all pens and anything that leaks, and get a small pencil case to protect the leather and keep small items from spilling or damaging the fabric.

Be sure to regularly and thoroughly wipe the surface of your leather purse with a damp cloth to – about one a week – to remove visible and invisible surface oils and grime. Just be careful not to use too much water, which can damage your purse! If your purse gets too wet, do not use a hair dryer on it. Instead, absorb as much water as possible with a thick microfiber hand towel and allow the bag to air dry. Then condition it and store it.

2. Apply a cleaner specially made for leather.

Leather cleaners are designed to be applied using a circular motion and wiped off with a slightly damp cloth so as not to clog the pores of the fabric. It usually cleans AND conditions, and it an absolute essential to investing in your purses long-term use. Cleaning and conditioning your purse should be done a minimum of twice a year.

I just purchased the Norwex Leather Shine (click here to buy!)Β which is made with pure bee and carnauba wax. Norwex Leather Shine naturally cleans, restores and beautifies leather without man-made waxes or harmful chemicals, and it replaces the natural oils in dry leather as it waterproofs, moisturizes and protects! Synthetic waxes or silicone products can clog up leather pores and may render them unable to be cleaned in the future, so avoid those and opt for natural alternative. Also avoid cleaning products with alcohol, turpentine or other mineral spirits as they will discolor and dry out leather.

3. Remove stains as soon as you notice them.

Organic stains from food or blood can often be removed with chalk powder. Just crush white chalk, let it sit on the stain overnight and dust it off with a clean microfiber cloth. Voila! (Again, I highly recommend Norwex microfiber!!)

4. Use a toothbrush and cotton swabs to clean buckles, zippers and stitching.

Dirt, debris and grime can work it’s way into the tiniest nooks and crannies! While cleaning, use a lightly damp stiff bristle toothbrush and cotton swabs to gently loosen and lift dirt and grime from tiny areas like zippers, buckles and especially around stitching.

5. Stuff your unused bag with bubble wrap to hold its shape when in storage.

Store your leather purse in a dust bag or natural-fabric pillowcase. (If you’ve just cleaned the bag, allow it to air dry completely before storage!) If you’re storing long-term, ease open the buckles and straps so impressions are released. This helps to avoid rubbing or permanent creases in unwanted areas.

Do you have a leather purse or handbag? Do you have any tips for caring for it? Share below!

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Gingi Freeman
Gingi Freeman
Gingi is a photographer, cosplayer, amateur chef, crazy cat lady, anime otaku, bookworm, generic geek, world traveler, conservative Christian, homeschooler, devoted military wife and stay at home new mother of two little girls.

Gingi blogs about anything and everything that is relevant to being a supermom, stay at home wife, homeschooler and geek girl! You can contact her at or via the contact form on her website at

Gingi Freeman

Gingi is a photographer, cosplayer, amateur chef, crazy cat lady, anime otaku, bookworm, generic geek, world traveler, conservative Christian, homeschooler, devoted military wife and stay at home new mother of two little girls. Gingi blogs about anything and everything that is relevant to being a supermom, stay at home wife, homeschooler and geek girl! You can contact her at or via the contact form on her website at

31 thoughts on “How to Care for and Clean Your Leather Purse

  • 13 January, 2018 at 6:11 am

    Great tips, thank you for sharing πŸ™‚

  • 13 January, 2018 at 10:05 am

    Girl, what in the heck? Only 1 purse! (lol) I have a lot of them, but they are mostly ones that I find in thrift stores and old because I like purses from the 50’s and 60’s. I was just in the process of switching to a new one which happens to be leather, and you shared some great tips I didn’t know about. Thanks so very much and Happy Saturday! Hugs…RO

    • 14 January, 2018 at 5:05 pm

      Yeah, I usually find my purses at thrift stores too! (Or while traveling as a functional souvenir, haha)…

  • 13 January, 2018 at 11:04 am

    Thank you for these helpful tips in maintaining the leather of a bag.

  • 14 January, 2018 at 5:17 am

    I too have only one handbag. That’s what we call a purse. It’s suede and still in good enough condition to last a few more years. Hope yours lasts a long time.

    • 14 January, 2018 at 5:06 pm

      I have a couple of bags for certain purposes, (leather bag for cameras, leather bag for diaper bag, gym bag, etc.) but I only have one purse! I noticed I really like leather, haha…

  • 14 January, 2018 at 1:35 pm

    To be honest, I have never cleaned my purses – seems I’m lucky so far in regards to stains!


  • 14 January, 2018 at 8:33 pm

    I’ve had one purse for years that my daughter got me. My daughter just gave me another purse so now I have 2. lol

  • 15 January, 2018 at 1:18 am

    Keeping a leather bag looking always like new can be a challenge, but I love your tips.
    Awesome, there’s nothing wrong with having only one bag… I totally get it!
    Have the best day! <3 Radi

  • 15 January, 2018 at 1:50 pm

    This is so useful – thank you!!
    Have a lovely day πŸ™‚
    Rosanna x

  • 15 January, 2018 at 2:10 pm

    It’s an amazing post and I loved to know about ways to care about leather purses! Cotton swabs are friends for everything, or nearly πŸ™‚ Toothbrushes too πŸ™‚ And yes, when I spot a stain I immediately clean it! I am particularly glad about the post, because you said you have one bag. This is one of my topics in Jan or Feb – I think that some of us really lose our minds and consume in excess. I was one of these people and I don’t think it’s honoring the planet and other people. So I will really try to change from this year on! Looooved the post, really! Hope you have a nice week!

    • 17 January, 2018 at 6:42 pm

      I am trying soooo hard to be more of a minimalist in my home and life!! This one was easy for me, since I am a simple accessories type of gal! <3

  • 15 January, 2018 at 8:43 pm

    I tend to use the same purse for a long time, but I do have more than one just through the years. Right now I’m using a backpack. πŸ™‚ Thanks for all the tips! Looks like a lovely purse.

    • 17 January, 2018 at 6:42 pm

      Yeah, when I say “purse” I generally mean any of a thousand types of bags, haha!

  • 15 January, 2018 at 8:45 pm

    I may as well only have one or two purses because I always find myself reaching for the same ones. A good leather purse can last for a good while if it is carefully maintained. Great tips!

    • 17 January, 2018 at 6:43 pm

      Yeah, leather is my favorite material! No joke!

  • 15 January, 2018 at 9:58 pm

    All of these tips will come in really handy, thank you! I actually have one in mind that needs some TLC πŸ™‚

  • 16 January, 2018 at 12:42 am

    Twink doesn’t have a purse, but she has a built-in pouch which never needs replacing.

  • 16 January, 2018 at 4:55 pm

    Leather care is so important to making those bags last! Great tips lady!


  • 6 February, 2018 at 2:05 pm

    Beautiful bag! Leather bags are pretty durable, and if you look after it with your advices, it will be almost forever πŸ™‚

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