How to Care for a Leather Purse

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How to Care for a Leather Purse

A neglected and heavily used leather purse cracks and splits. Without waterproofing it can have a bad odour and mould can form. A woman's everyday purse is often treated poorly, and although the purse is used on a daily basis, few women remember to empty it out and give it a good clean. To get the most use from a leather purse, women should use the step by step instructions to establish a regular, leather-safe cleaning routine. Aside from cleaning instructions, cleaning product advice is provided, such as using gentle detergents, and undyed sponges and cloths.

Advice is also given on common stain removal, and how to keep the leather dry and conditioned. Leather purses and their cleaning products may be found at supermarkets and department stores. These products are also available on eBay, which offers buyers significant savings, great products, and an easy, efficient shopping experience.

How to Clean a Leather Purse

Before beginning to clean the purse, the manufacturer's label should be checked for any specific cleaning instructions. This is a vital to avoid missing an obvious step in the cleaning process. Reading the manufacturer's label helps to prevent using incompatible cleaning products.

Empty the Leather Purse

Ensure that everything has been removed from the purse, including small coins, bits of fluff, tiny sweet wrappers, and the screwed up receipts that lurk in the corners of every purse. This prevents the cleaning products from coming into contact with the debris, which may cause any colour to run, and stain the leather.

Wipe the Interior of the Leather Purse

Take a soft, dry cloth and wipe out the interior of the purse. Make sure that all of the small compartments, are wiped, including the coin holder and card slots. Use a thin cloth to get into the corners of the card slots.

Mix the Cleaning Fluid

A quick and effective leather purse cleaner is simply a very small amount of washing up liquid or mild liquid soap combined with warm water. Approximately three drops of liquid soap to two cups of warm water should suffice.

Select a Suitable Sponge

Select a sponge which is natural and not coloured, as the dye can leach out and stain the leather. Also avoid sponges with an abrasive side, such as washing up scrubbers. The abrasive surface would scratch the leather. These kind of scrubbers contain a dye that will stain the leather. Dip the natural sponge in the soapy water, and squeeze out the excess liquid.

Clean the Exterior of the Leather Purse

Wipe the exterior surface of the purse with the sponge, remembering to clean the external clasps. Use light to moderate pressure to remove any dirt or grime. A cotton bud dipped in the cleaning solution can be used to clean any small nooks and crannies where grime tends to build up, such as around the clasp.

Dry the Leather Purse

The leather purse needs to be dried with a very soft towel to avoid scratching the finish on the surface of the leather. Rub the leather softly, but firmly, until completely dry. To ensure that no moisture remains on the leather, the purse can be placed in a warm, dry environment, such as an airing cupboard for a few hours to dry out completely. It must not be exposed to direct heat, such as a radiator.

Buff, Recondition, and Moisturise the Leather Purse

To restore the natural shine and lustre of the leather, use a very soft cloth, such as a duster, to buff the surface of the purse in small, circular movements. To recondition a leather purse, mix one part vinegar to two parts linseed oil. Apply this mixture using a soft cotton cloth, and work the mixture into the leather using small circular movements. This mixture should be applied after cleaning, but before any leather protectant is added. The oil needs to sink into the leather fibres to help to rejuvenate them. Leather protector can then be added and worked into the surface of the purse, to moisturise the leather and create a protective coating.

Ongoing Care for a Leather Purse

Caring for a leather purse is crucial if the owner wants it to last for a long time. Providing the leather is of good quality, with proper care, it will last for many years, developing a unique and interesting patina, without cracking or degrading significantly.

Clean Leather Purses Regularly

Try to give leather purses a thorough cleaning on a regular basis. This prevents harmful chemical pollutants building up on the surface and degrading the leather, which, if left, would cause the leather to become irreparably damaged.

Avoid Direct Sunlight

Avoid leaving the purse in direct sunlight, as the sun can cause the leather to split and crack. Prolonged and repeated exposure to direct sunlight also results in the colour of the leather fading.

Choose the Right Leather Cleaning products

Avoid using harsh cleaning products on leather purses where possible, as the chemicals can break down the fibres that make up the leather. This causes pitting, cracking and splitting. Leather oils and conditioners are beneficial. However, buyers should check the ingredients to make sure that the products do not contain wax or silicone, as these can leave the purse with an unpleasant, sticky texture. Not only is this not nice to touch, but dirt and small pieces of debris can cling to the sticky surface.

Leather Purse Stain Removal

When stored in a handbag, leather purses come into contact with pens, which frequently leak when jostled up and down. To remove ink stains from a leather purse, use a cotton bud dipped in rubbing alcohol. Move the cotton bud over the stain gently, and the rubbing alcohol should lift the ink from the leather. Dry the area with a hair dryer to make sure that no alcohol is left behind.

Dark, dried stains which are notoriously hard to remove, such as blood from a cut finger or coffee, can be removed from leather purses with a simple, homemade mixture. Mix equal quantities of cream of tartar and lemon juice. Gently rub the mixture onto the stain, and leave for ten to fifteen minutes. Then remove the mixture with a solution of washing up liquid and warm water. Dry the area with a soft towel, and then buff.

Grease is a common stain on leather as oils in the human skin eventually leave greasy marks, as does touching the purse after eating out. Many people make the mistake of trying to use soapy water to remove grease from leather. This simply spreads the grease and makes the stain much worse. Instead, use a highly absorbent cloth, and run it over the stain in small, circular movements. The grease should adhere to the cloth and be lifted out of the leather,

Keep Leather Dry

Leather does not react well to getting wet. Leather protector and waterproofing can be added to give the purse some water resistance. If the purse does get wet, it is important to dry it out thoroughly, by emptying the contents, rubbing the purse with a towel, and placing it in a warm, dry place. If a leather purse is left wet or damp, mould and mildew build up quickly, which rots the leather, giving it a particularly unpleasant odour, and will render the purse useless eventually.

Buying a Leather Purse and Care Products on eBay

Leather purses and the appropriate cleaning products can be found at supermarkets and shops that sell leather items. On eBay, buyers can find a brand new leather purse, along with all the products and accessories that they need to keep it soft, supple, and clean for many years to come. Searching from the eBay home page allows generic terms, such as "leather purse" to produce a massive selection of results. To narrow down the results, buyers can use specific terms, such as "Radley leather purse" or "brown leather purse".

Buyers should always check the feedback score of the seller. The most reputable sellers have a high percentage of good feedback and positive comments left by previous customers. When buying leather cleaning products on eBay, shoppers should avoid cleaners and conditioners with harsh chemical ingredients. Undyed soft cloths and cotton buds should be purchased so that they are soft on the leather, and the colour does not leach out.


When caring for a leather purse, following the guidelines on the label inside is the most sensible course of action, as it prevents accidentally using an inappropriate cleaning product. Buyers should consider purchasing leather conditioner when buying other cleaning and care products for their leather purse. Alternatively, they can make their own at home using simple household ingredients. Leather protector is also an important product for maintaining a leather purse, and helps to protect it against stains, water, and mould.

Step by step instructions are provided in this guide for a regular leather purse cleaning routine. Additionally, this guide provides tips on maintenance and stain removal, as well as the common mistakes that should be avoided, such as attempting to clean grease stains with water. A vast selection of leather purses, and leather cleaners and protectors, are available on eBay meaning that the purse can last for many years to come.

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