How to Clean Your Leather Bags and Wallets

Leather accessories have several years of useful life and can be combined with clothing. However, to maintain their shine and extend their durability, it's necessary to follow some cleaning tips.
How to Clean Your Leather Bags and Wallets

Written by Jonatan Menguez

Last update: 16 September, 2022

Leather products are usually expensive and require special care. Keeping them in good condition is important to extend their useful life and not lose aesthetics and functionality. Although this isn’t a complex task, it’s necessary to follow some recommendations on how to clean your leather bags and wallets.

These accessories are intended for daily use and for transporting objects to various places. Therefore, they’re constantly exposed to dirt and stains. To ensure that they last for years (which is the purpose for which this material is manufactured), it’s important to keep them clean and cared for.

Follow these recommendations to clean leather handbags and wallets

Leather products are usually an aesthetic complement to combine with clothes. However, they must be well cared for and polished.

This is even more true if they’re used as a work tool. For this reason, it’s important to clean them following some specific tips.

1. Remove any dust

Before applying any cleaning product, the bag should be shaken well to remove all traces of dust and dirt. Some bags make it more complex to remove dust, so it’s important to remove all the objects inside and turn the bag completely upside down.

Otherwise, it may penetrate the internal parts and become even more difficult to clean. A vacuum cleaner can also be used to help against small debris.

2. Apply soap and water

Once all the dry dirt has been removed, mix one cup of water with one tablespoon of liquid soap. Soak a cloth and clean your leather bags and wallets with this preparation.

Don’t forget the pockets and smaller areas. More dirt usually accumulates there.

Jabón con agua para limpiar bolsos de cuero.
Mixing soap and water is useful to clean leather bags, as long as you’ve first removed the dust.

3. Alcohol

Although the application of alcohol is not always recommended, it can be a great idea for some specific stains on the leather product. For example, those of ink or mud.

In this case, use a cotton swab moistened in alcohol and pass it over the ink to disintegrate it. Then, absorb the remaining liquid with a dry cloth.

4. Furniture polish to clean your leather bags and wallets

A good tip to give shine and color to leather products is the application of furniture polish. The same ones that give shine to bookcases or cabinets can also treat your leather products.

However, it should be used only a little and on the outside to remove the dirt in that area. Simply apply it with a dry cloth.

5. Clean your bags regularly

If your goal is to keep the object shining, you should clean your leather bags and wallets at least every three days. At the very least, apply a quick dusting. That is, remove all the contents inside and shake it well to remove dust.

As for the deep cleaning and treatment of the leather, try to do this about every three months if you use the accessory every day.

We think you may be interested in reading this, too: 10 Tips for Arranging and Organizing Clothes in Your Wardrobe

Clean your leather bags and wallets according to their processing

Beyond the general recommendations for cleaning leather accessories, there are different ways of processing and finishing of the material. Therefore, the specific cleaning varies depending on the type of leather.


Leather products with lacquer finishes have a water-based paint to which lacquers are added. As they dry, they harden and protect the leather. Therefore, they’re more resistant to dirt and certain types of stains, such as grease.

However, this type of leather remains sensitive to contact with water, paint, or solvents. You can clean it with a specific cleaning cream, which is applied through a dry piece of cloth.


Greasy leather is a material painted with anilines – that is, an organic compound that adds a natural look. It has the characteristic of being a little more delicate than other types of leather.

For cleaning, it’s a good idea to use an eraser for the surface and, if necessary, to apply colored or neutral fatty creams.


This is a type of leather that’s also painted with anilines and includes a sanding process. It’s the most delicate for bags or purses, since it’s sensitive to receiving dirt, grease, or stains.

Therefore, it’s also the most difficult type of leather to clean. It’s a good idea to use a small brush such as a nail brush to remove the dust from the surface.

Then, mix the water and the pinch of soap to apply it to the suede with the same moistened brush. Pass it delicately and then rub it with a damp cloth with circular movements to remove the remains. Leave it to dry for a day.

White leather bags

It’s clear that, due to its color, white leather has a more delicate tone, which requires a frequent cleaning process. It’s necessary to wipe it with a dry cloth every 4 or 5 days to prevent the accumulation of dust and dirt. It’s essential never to use products such as vinegar or bleach.

Muebles de cuero blanco.
If you have white leather furniture, you already know that it is difficult to keep this material clean. The same goes for handbags and wallets.

Like this article? You may also like to read: How to Remove Wrinkles from Clothes Without Ironing

Some final care tips for your leather bags and wallets

Finally, keep in mind the following recommendations when it comes to taking care of your handbags and wallets:

  • Keep them away from other objects. To avoid having to go through the experience of removing stains, it’s best to prevent them. Keep your leather handbag or wallet away from other items that can stain it. For example, hand cream.
  • Store it in a bag. Using a rubber wrapper to store the leather item when not in use helps to keep dust and dirt away from it. It also protects it from humidity in the environment.
  • Take care of its own load. It’s common to keep objects in the bag that, if opened, can cause dirt and damage to the leather. For example, pens, food, or cosmetics can all cause stains. Making sure they’re tightly closed to prevent a serious stain on the inside of the bag.
  • Maintain order. Leather wallet care also applies during daily use. Arrange its contents well so that when you need to remove something, it doesn’t all get mixed up.
  • Renewal. Some types of leather, such as suede, can regain their shine with a color renovator. In addition, there are waterproofing products that provide protection against stains and dirt.
  • Take care of it from the sun. Never let a leather bag dry by exposing it to direct sunlight.

While the tips above are about how to clean your leather handbags and wallets, the same can be applied to a wide range of accessories made of the same material. For example, shoes or belts. Take advantage of them!

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.