Leather bags are a great investment for many, but daily use can make them look dingy and worn. However, many easy and effective options for cleaning leather exist. I will discuss leather bag cleaners and their proper use for great-looking bags.
Leather bag cleaner is a cleaning product that cleans and maintains leather bags. These are formulated to gently remove dirt, stains, and grime from the surface of the leather without causing damage or discoloration. Daily use leather bags should be cleaned every two to three months.
Do you have a leather bag in desperate need of cleaning but are unsure what the best way is to clean it? There are options available — and we’ll discuss what works and what doesn’t.
What Is Leather Bag Cleaner?
Leather bag cleaner is a product used to clean leather purses and other bags. Typically, leather bag cleaners come in liquid or cream form and may contain a combination of mild cleaning agents, moisturizers, and conditioning agents. These products help to clean the leather, restore its natural oils, and prevent it from drying out, cracking, or becoming brittle.
What We’ll Explore
- Clearing up Myths & Misconceptions
- History of Leather Bag Cleaner
- Leather Bag Cleaner Overview Table
- Why Use Leather Bag Cleaner?
- Types of Leather Bag Cleaners
- Cost of Leather Bag Cleaner
- What Is The Best Leather Bag Cleaner?
- How To Use Leather Bag Cleaner Step by Step
- How To Clean a Leather Bag Without Leather Bag Cleaner
- How Often Should I Use a Leather Bag Cleaner?
- Tips for Using Leather Bag Cleaner
- Alternatives to Leather Bag Cleaner
- My Personal Research Into Leather Bag Cleaner
- Helpful Leather Bag Cleaner Insights
- Key Takeaways
Clearing Up Myths & Misconceptions
One common myth regarding leather bag cleaners is that leather cannot be washed. However, this is only partially true because most leather can be washed, but soaking can damage the material. Another common myth is that white vinegar can be used to wash leather. Actually, white vinegar is acidic and can damage and destroy leather fibers, so it should not be used to clean leather.
History of Leather Bag Cleaner
Leather was created centuries ago, and cleaning methods have changed throughout history. For a long time, leather was not cleaned and was simply used until damaged. Eventually, cleaning leather with soap and water became the norm, but some soaps were harsh and caused damage to the leather which necessitated discarding the item.
It was in the late 1970s that leather cleaners were developed to meet the needs of consumers who wanted to keep their leather items longer. To this day, improvements are still being made to leather cleaners based on new developments in tanning processes and faux leathers.
Leather Bag Cleaner Overview Table
|Cream||4-16 oz; use with a soft cloth or soft-bristled brush|
|Liquid||8 oz to 1 gallon; use with a soft cloth, some require dilution|
|Spray||8-22 oz; use with a soft cloth|
|Wipes||20–70 wipes, easy and convenient to use|
Why Use Leather Bag Cleaner?
Leather bags are an investment, and keeping them clean is a wise decision to maintain their durability. When a leather bag looks old and worn, it does not add to an outfit’s fashion or professionalism.
Leather bag cleaner removes stains, protects leather, and helps to preserve the leather from fiber damage. They are tough on dirt and stains but gentle on leather bonds, helping leather bags look great for many years, even with frequent use.
Watch this helpful video from Insider as they clean and restore a designer handbag:
Types of Leather Bag Cleaners
Many leather bag cleaners can meet the needs of different leathers and customer preferences. From creams applied with soft cloths to wipes, there are cleaners that anyone can use for any dirty job. Some require dilution, while others are used straight out of the bottle. Most leather bag cleaners can also be used on furniture, vehicle interiors, accessories, jackets, and more for cost savings.
Cost of Leather Bag Cleaner
Leather bag cleaners cost about $9–$25, depending on product size and brand. Single bottles of cleaner require dilution, and there are ready-to-use liquids, creams, sprays, and wipes. There are also cleaning and conditioning kits that include cleaning cloths ranging from $18–$35.
What Is The Best Leather Bag Cleaner?
Many different commercially made leather bag cleaners can be found in stores and online. The best ones are generally single-purpose, meaning they are cleaners rather than cleaner-conditioner combinations. Some popular brands of leather bag cleaners include:
- Chemical Guys
- Leather Honey
- Armor All
Leather bag cleaner removes stains, protects leather, and helps to preserve the leather from fiber damage.
How To Use Leather Bag Cleaner Step by Step
Using a leather bag cleaner is a simple process, but it’s a good idea to follow the manufacturer’s instructions and perform a patch test first to ensure compatibility with your specific leather bag. Here’s a general guide on how to use a leather bag cleaner:
1. Remove debris and dirt with a soft-bristled brush or a vacuum cleaner.
2. Apply leather bag cleaner with a soft cloth, following the manufacturer’s instructions.
3. Gently rub the cleaner all over the surface of the leather bag using a circular motion.
4. Use a clean, soft cloth to remove excess cleaner.
5. Allow the leather bag to air dry completely.
How To Clean a Leather Bag Without Leather Bag Cleaner
Don’t have any leather bag cleaner on hand? There are household products that can be used to clean that handbag with ease. Always test new products in an inconspicuous spot to check for colorfastness and staining.
- PH-neutral soap and water mixed in warm water is enough to clean leather but gentle enough to prevent damage.
- Rubbing alcohol can be dabbed with a cotton-tipped applicator to remove ink stains from leather bags.
- Water and a soft cloth can be used to clean a lightly dirty leather bag and remove water stains.
How Often Should I Use a Leather Bag Cleaner?
Leather bags used daily benefit from routine cleanings, but one also wants to prevent drying. Leather bag cleaner should be used every three months for thorough cleaning and followed up with a leather conditioner to add moisture.
For leather bags that are not used daily, use a leather bag cleaner about every six months. Spot cleaning can be done as needed with leather bag cleaner or pH-neutral soap and water.
Tips for Using Leather Bag Cleaner
According to researcher Abduletif Hebo of the Bio and Emerging Technology Institute, most quality leathers are tested for wet and dry rub colorfastness, so any leather bag cleaner used should not cause any color changes. Leather bag cleaner should be effective at cleaning a bag without damaging the material, but here are some tips for use for the best results:
- Use a soft-bristled brush or vacuum to remove loose dirt and debris first.
- Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
- Test the cleaner in an inconspicuous spot first.
- Don’t use too much cleaner to prevent stains, mold, and product buildup.
- Store the leather bag cleaner sealed and in a cool, dry place.
Alternatives to Leather Bag Cleaner
When a leather bag cleaner product is unavailable, there are cleaning alternatives. PH-neutral soap and water is the best alternative as it is gentle yet effective. Mix a small amount of mild soap with water to create a gentle cleaning solution.
Dampen a soft cloth with the solution, wring out excess moisture, and then use it to clean the leather bag. Wipe any soap residue with a clean, damp cloth, and let the bag air dry. Another alternative is baking soda.
Baking soda can help absorb odors from the interior of the bag. Sprinkle a small amount of baking soda inside the bag, close it, and let it sit overnight. Shake out the baking soda and wipe the interior with a clean, damp cloth.
My Personal Research Into Leather Bag Cleaner
Many different brands and types of leather bag cleaners are available, but which ones work the best? Here are the top five leather bag cleaners based on customer reviews:
|Chemical Guys||$12 for a 16-ounce spray bottle||Works for all leathers but suede and Nubuck, citrus scent, also cleans furniture, car interiors, shoes, etc.|
|Leather Honey||$15 for an 8-ounce bottle||Natural product, works for all leathers but suede and Nubuck, also cleans furniture, car interiors, shoes, etc.|
|Weiman||$9 for a 12-ounce spray bottle||Works for all leathers but suede and Nubuck, also cleans furniture, car interiors, shoes, etc.|
|Armor All||$8 for a 16-ounce spray bottle||Works for all leathers but suede and Nubuck, cleans and conditions.|
|Lexol||$13 for a 17-ounce bottle||Works for all leathers but suede and Nubuck, also cleans furniture, car interiors, shoes, etc.|
Helpful Leather Bag Cleaner Insights
How can I clean a leather handbag?
Start with a soft-bristled brush and a vacuum to remove debris and dirt from a leather handbag. Empty out the contents and vacuum out the inside and pockets as well. Then use a leather bag cleaner or pH-neutral soap and water and a soft cloth to rub the leather and clean the handbag gently.
What is the best leather cleaner for purses?
Several leather cleaners can be used on purses, including Chemical Guys, Leather Honey, Weiman, Armor All, and Lexol. These are all reasonably priced and easy to find in stores and online. These leather cleaners also work well on vehicle interiors, shoes, furniture, etc.
Is vinegar good for cleaning leather bags?
Vinegar is not good for cleaning leather bags because it is slightly acidic and harsh on the leather. A leather bag cleaner or pH-neutral soap and water are mild and better for cleaning leather. Use a soft cloth dampened with the leather bag cleaner or soap and water to rub the leather and remove dirt gently.
Can you clean a leather purse with Dawn dish soap?
Although Dawn dish soap is generally considered safe for leather, using it cautiously and in the right concentration is essential because it has a different pH level than leather. Using cleaners that do not match the pH of the leather can be unsafe because leather is a natural material with specific characteristics and a delicate pH balance.
- Leather bag cleaner cleans and protects leather material from damage.
- For daily-use bags, leather bag cleaner should be used every two to three months.
- Leather bags can be cleaned with a commercial cleaner or pH-neutral soap and water.
Leather bags are an investment for fashion or work, and keeping them clean maintains their durability and good looks. Leather bag cleaner is a small price to pay for keeping leather bags looking and feeling great, even with daily use.
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