Cleaning a stained leather bag can be a pain. I recently received a lovely leather satchel from Dooney & Bourke from my husband and the very same day that it arrived in the mail, Thai food splattered on the back of it! It was frustrating and a bit maddening to think that I now had to spend time getting out an oil stain on my lovely new bag. Searching the internet, I did find many amazing methods for removing stains on a leather bag that actually work! Here are 7 tips on cleaning a stained leather bag that I hope are super useful.
1. Don't Rub the Stain with Water
A first mistake when cleaning a stained leather bag is to initially rub the stain with water. This can actually make the stain worse because it spreads the oils out further and deeper within the leather, making it a much tougher stain to remove. With immediate stains, you want to blot the moisture with a paper towel to pick up any excess dirt and oil before the cleaning begins.
2. Organic Soap and Distilled Water
This is actually the recommended method for cleaning stains on a leather bag on most websites I looked at. Organic or non-perfumed soap mixed with distilled water and a clean hand towel should work for cleaning light stains. Remember not to rub too hard so as to avoid damaging the leather. Use distilled water because it will remove all traces of soap left on the leather.
3. Mild Dish Soap and Distilled Water
Dish soap is my go-to "cleaner" for tough oil stains on clothing. Dish soap cuts through oil and grease very well and removes it surfaces. You can use a spray bottle with distilled water and a few drops of dish soap, shaken to produce a light foam. The clean hand towel should be used to apply the soapy water and you're all set!
4. Leather Cleaner and Conditioner
Honesty, this is probably the best method for overall staining of leather bags, or super tough stains. Leather cleaner is specifically formulated to treat leather and protect it from drying out and cracking or becoming discolored. Just make sure you use the right kind of cleaner for the specific leather you're treating! And leather conditioner will add moisture back into your bag to keep it beautiful. Just like your skin, which needs moisturizer, so does the leather on a purse, bag or piece of furniture. After trying literally all these other methods listed, leather cleaner did the trick for significantly reducing the appearance of the staining! I used a natural, organic cleaner as well.
5. Cream of Tarter and Lemon Juice
I actually had never heard of cream of tarter before I tried this cleaning method! It's similar to baking powder in consistency and when combined with lemon juice, it makes for a slightly abrasive paste for tough stains. Let the paste dry completely and just brush it off.
6. Talcum Powder
Talcum powder works by drawing moisture out. For fresh stains on soft leather (leather or suede that scratches easy) talcum powder works well at removing the moisture from the stain.
7. Baby Wipes
Baby wipes are great for overall cleaning of leather products. I have an off white leather bag that gets dirty fairly easy. I use baby wipes to clean the surface and because they are super gentle (made for baby's soft skin) they won't harm your leather. .
Remember it's always best to treat stains and dirt as soon as they appear to avoid deep stains that are difficult to remove. You should also consider regularity treating your leather bag with a cleaning and conditioning solution to preserve the durability and beauty of it. After all, you want your bag to last! What methods for cleaning leather bags do you use?