How To Clean Leather - Our Ultimate Guide

January 06, 2022 5 min read

Cleaning a leather purse and handbag

You use your purse constantly until one day, the dreaded day, it gets a mark or some dirt on it, and now you're frantically searching- How To Clean Leather, hoping you'll get some solid advice that won't mess up your bag any more than it is and make it look brand new again.

Needless to say, we've got your answers here!

We don't want your bag to be ruined in any way, shape, or form; we certainly also want you to use our MAYKO bags for years and years to come without the embarrassment of any stains on them!

So, we've made an ultimate guide on what you should and shouldn't use to clean leather and just how to do so.

First, we know when something marks up your bag, you're often scrambling to find something you already have around the house to clean it up. So what household products are acceptable to use on leather?

What Household Products Can You Use To Clean Leather?

The best and simplest household product you can and should use to clean leather includes mild soap like dish soap and water.

Many people suggest other household products like lemon juice, baking soda, rubbing alcohol, oil and vinegar, and even toothpaste to clean leather, depending on the reason behind the clean. At MAYKO, we advise against these DIY cleaning tactics with your leather handbags and wallets.

While some people do see positive results, these household products could end up being too harsh on your leather and do more harm than good.


How to clean a leather purse?

Additionally, while these may work for some leather products, not all leather is made the same. Some leather goods are finished, some are not, and leather on your furniture can be different than the leather on your shoes or Leather Purse With Fringe.

If you already have a bag that needs a good cleaning, it's better you don't accidentally make the problem worse by using these household products and stick to simple soap and water.

But let's look at vinegar in particular. It's an ever-popular cleaning agent for anyone trying to clean naturally, but could it ruin your leather?

Does Vinegar Ruin Leather?

While using vinegar on your leather may not always have adverse effects, vinegar could ruin your leather in the short and long run if used to clean with it, as vinegar tends to dry out leather.

You may find some recommendations online to dilute the vinegar with water to clean the leather. They may even recommend adding a type of oil to this mixture to replenish and hydrate the leather.

The problem that stems from adding this oil is potentially staining your leather. If you don't dilute the vinegar properly, you could dry out this portion of the leather. Even with using conditioning agents afterward, the area of the leather you cleaned with the vinegar could look discolored and nonuniform compared to the rest of your bag.

While some have had positive experiences cleaning their leather with vinegar, we always advise against it using it on our MAYKO bags because there is more potential risk.

I'm sure you'd agree that having dirt and stains on your leather bag is frustrating enough; Let's avoid adding another problem to the mix!

What Should You Not Use On Leather?


What should you use to clean a leather purse?


Products you should not use on leather include items with strong or harsh chemicals and fragrances like alcohol-based cleaners, anti-bacterial wipes, baby wipes, bleach, ammonia, or even brushes or rags that are rough or stiff.

Any oily products aren't welcome on leather bags, too. The oils can stain the bag more. For example, suppose your make-up explodes all over the inside of your leather bag or all over your hands without realizing it, and you touch the outside of your precious purse or wallet. In that case, you might be inclined to use a make-up remover wipe or solution to remove it.

While the thought would make sense for a make-up remover, these wipes and solutions often are very oily and can create worse stains on the leather and make the problem worse.

Also, keep in mind not to use other products on your leather bags or wallets that may seem like a good idea, but in reality, aren't.

For example, some people swear by hairspray to get ink stains out. Hairspray most often has alcohol in it and can ruin the finish of your leather bag!

Never use nail polish remover either, even if a website suggests it. Nail polish remover has acetone, which will completely dry out and crack your leather. Now, please don't go thinking you can use non-acetone remover, either! It's not good for the leather, and you won't find any benefits using it to clean even the most stubborn stains.

How To Clean A Leather Purse

To keep your Leather Tote Bag With Zipper at its cleanest, we always recommend using a specifically designed leather cream or treatment when you first get your bag and every three months or so.

This preventative helps your purse to stay much cleaner and helps keep it clean by easily allowing dirt or grime to wipe off instead of them seeping into the pores of the leather quickly. This can also help prevent staining too.

Now that you have done the first step to keep your leather bag clean, what do you do when something does spill on or in your handbag?

Use a squirt or two max of mild dish soap and mix with a medium-sized bowl of warm water. It's always better to start with less soap than having too much. Dip a clean, soft cloth into the soapy water and wipe your bag clean.

If trying to remove a stain, it is always best to blot the stain instead of rubbing since you don't want to push the stain further into the pores of the leather.

How To Clean A Leather Wallet

Keeping a Handmade Leather Wallet clean involves the same practice as mentioned above for your purse. However, you may find you run into a few other issues with a wallet.

For example, you put on a greasy lotion and then grab your wallet, and now you have grease all over the wallet. How do you get rid of those?

First off, try using a soft dry cloth to wipe it off first. You may find that by conditioning it as you should, the grease will come off before it stains. If the grease doesn't easily come off, you can try the soap and water as mentioned above or a specifically designed leather cleaner.

If all your attempts fail, don't be afraid to seek professional assistance from someone who works on leather material regularly. This will be your safest bet for keeping your leather in its best condition despite getting dirty or stained.

In Summary

There's nothing like getting yourself a brand new leather handbag! The excitement of using it, matching it with different styles and outfits, and might we add- you just love how it smells!


Leather purses and wallets are not immune to accidents, spills, and dirt. Sometimes, they just get dirty and need a good cleaning! Where better to get the most reliable advice on how to clean leather than from, ahem, a leather handbag shop?

While you may find many DIY cleaning alternatives, we always recommend sticking to the most basic and effective soap and water for cleaning. There is much more of a chance of ruining your leather from harsh chemicals. 

Preventative maintenance by using leather creams and treatments will help prevent stains from seeping in and allow the soap and water to work their magic effectively.

When in doubt, you can consult a professional as well to help you clean up your MAYKO bag without worry.

So, if you spill on your bag, don’t fear! There is a solution for you, and we’re confident your leather bag will be looking as good as new if you follow our simple guide.

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