How to Clean Real Leather Purses: A Step-by-Step Manual

Do you want to learn how to clean real leather purses to significantly extend their life and keep them looking as good as new? This comprehensive guide will walk you through every step of the process.

How to Clean Real Leather Purses

Things You’ll Need: How to Clean Real Leather Purses

How to Clean Real Leather Purses Step by Step

Follow the steps below to clean a real leather purse…

Step 1: Prepare Your Work Area

Before you even touch your leather purse with the intention of cleaning it, setting up a proper work area is crucial. Start by choosing a flat, stable surface, such as a table or countertop. Make sure the area is well-lit so you can clearly see what you’re doing.

Once you’ve selected your work surface, lay down a soft towel, blanket, or even a piece of felt. The goal here is to provide a protective layer between the surface and your precious leather purse. This precaution ensures that you won’t accidentally scratch or scuff the leather while you’re busy cleaning it.

If you have a particularly delicate or expensive purse, you might even consider placing a sheet of plastic under the towel for added protection against potential spills.

Step 2: Empty the Purse

Now that your work area is ready, it’s time to prepare your purse. Open up all the zippers, snaps, and clasps. Look through each compartment carefully and remove every single item.

That means taking out not just the obvious things like your wallet or phone, but also smaller items that may have found their way to the bottom or hidden pockets—think loose change, pens, hair ties, or that lone earring you thought you’d lost.

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The reason for being so thorough is twofold. First, emptying the purse makes it easier to clean every nook and cranny.

Second, some items you carry, like pens or makeup, could potentially leak or stain the leather during the cleaning process. By ensuring the purse is completely empty, you’re taking a proactive step to avoid such mishaps.

Step 3: Dust Off the Surface

The next phase in cleaning your leather purse involves preparing the leather itself. To do this, you’ll need a soft, lint-free cloth—microfiber works well for this purpose.

Unfold the cloth and lightly run it over the entire exterior of the purse. Don’t rush through this step; take your time to gently wipe down the surface. The goal here is to lift away any loose dirt, dust, or debris that may have settled on the leather.

Why is this step important? Loose particles can act like sandpaper when rubbed against the leather, causing scratches or scuffs. By meticulously dusting off the surface, you’re reducing the risk of damaging the leather during the later cleaning stages.

If your purse has exterior pockets or detailing, be sure to go over those areas as well, as they can often be gathering spots for debris.

Step 4: Test the Leather Cleaner

Applying cleaner to purse

Once the purse’s surface is prepared, it’s tempting to jump right into the cleaning. But hold on a moment—before you apply any leather cleaner, it’s crucial to perform a spot test.

Choose an inconspicuous area for this, such as the inside corner or a section of the purse that generally faces towards your body when you carry it.

Take a small amount of your chosen leather cleaner (always opt for a cleaner specifically designed for leather) and gently apply it to your test area using a cotton swab or a corner of a soft cloth. It’s best to use a white cloth for this step to ensure no color transfer occurs.

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Follow the cleaner’s instructions regarding drying time, and then inspect the area carefully. You’re looking for any signs of discoloration, texture change, or other damage.

If the test area remains unchanged and looks healthy, you’re good to go. If not, you may need to try a different leather cleaner that is compatible with your purse’s specific type of leather.

Read more bag cleaning topics here – How to Clean Bags: Your Comprehensive Guide for Spotless Bags

Step 5: Apply the Cleaner

By now, your work area, purse, and leather surface should be prepped and ready for the actual cleaning. For this part, you’ll need a sponge and your leather cleaner. Dampen the sponge slightly with water, then apply a small amount of leather cleaner to it.

Starting from one end of the purse, use the sponge to apply the cleaner to the leather surface using gentle, circular motions. This technique helps to distribute the cleaner evenly and lifts away ingrained dirt or stains more effectively.

Take note to work one section at a time, ensuring that you cover every inch of the purse’s exterior, including the corners, seams, and any decorative elements. If your purse has a texture or grain, try to work the cleaner in the direction of the grain for optimal results.

Following the cleaner’s application guidelines can make a huge difference in the final outcome. This is precisely what to clean leather purse with for the most effective results.

Step 6: Wipe Off Excess Cleaner

After the cleaner has been applied to the entire purse, it’s time to remove any excess. For this, you’ll need a soft, lint-free cloth—think microfiber or even a well-worn t-shirt. Gently glide the cloth over the purse’s surface, again using circular motions for uniformity.

This step is crucial for a couple of reasons. First, leaving excess cleaner on the leather could lead to a sticky or tacky feel, and nobody wants that. Second, lingering cleaner could potentially discolor or deteriorate the leather over time.

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Be careful not to rub too hard or too fast during this step. Vigorous rubbing could potentially damage the leather, causing it to become discolored or worn. Use a gentle touch, just firm enough to lift away the excess cleaner but soft enough to treat the leather with the respect it deserves.

Step 7: Dry the Purse

Once you’ve successfully wiped off any excess cleaner, the next step is to dry your purse. While it might be tempting to let it air dry, leather is sensitive to changes in moisture, and uneven drying could lead to warping or discoloration. For a more controlled drying process, a hair dryer can be very helpful.

Plug in your hair dryer and set it to the lowest heat setting. Leather doesn’t respond well to high heat, so keeping the temperature low is essential to avoid damaging the material. Hold the hair dryer at least 6 inches away from the purse.

Moving the dryer in a slow, back-and-forth motion ensures that the heat is evenly distributed. Keep an eye on the leather as you go, and stop immediately if you notice any changes in color or texture.

Step 8: Apply Leather Conditioner

After your purse is completely dry, it’s time for the finishing touch: applying a leather conditioner. A conditioner will not only replenish any oils lost during the cleaning process but also keep the leather soft, supple, and less prone to cracking over time.

Take a clean, lint-free cloth and apply a small amount of leather conditioner to it. Then, much like you did with the cleaner, use gentle, circular motions to apply the conditioner to the surface of the purse.

Make sure to cover all areas, paying special attention to corners and seams, which are often the first places to show signs of wear.

It’s usually a good idea to let the conditioner sit for a few minutes to absorb, but always follow the specific guidelines provided by your conditioner’s manufacturer for best results. Once it’s been adequately absorbed, you can gently buff any remaining residue with a fresh cloth.

Conclusion: How to Clean Real Leather Purses

Cleaning a real leather purse is essential for maintaining the quality and longevity of your investment. Follow these steps to keep your purse looking its best.

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