How to Clean White Leather Purses

As anyone who owns a leather purse knows, upkeep is important for sustaining the look and polish of your leather handbag.

Although leather bags are naturally waterproof and are made of breathable materials, they can still get dirty, especially if you own anything white. And we love white accessories, but we also understand they can show so much dirt if you don’t properly and consistently clean them. 

Like anything you own that’s designer, your bags need a good, deep cleaning every once in a while to keep it looking nice and crisp. 

And as white leather purse owners know, you have to make sure you keep your white leather bag clean so that it doesn’t show signs of wear and tear.

If you are new to owning a white leather purse and are not sure what the cleaning process looks like, we would be happy to share our tips and tricks below so that your white leather purse looks as great as the day you brought it home.  

Why It’s Important To Clean Leather

Before diving into the process of cleaning your precious leather purse, let’s discuss why it is so important that you should be cleaning your white leather bag in the first place.

First of all, as we all know, white anything can and will show dirt if you do not clean it properly.

Leather, like skin, needs consistent care and attention to keep it in good condition. Would you let your own skin get damaged or dirty? You wouldn’t walk around all day with dirt on you, and the same should be said for your white leather purse. 

All quality things require care, especially quality fabric, like leather. 

If you aren’t sure if it’s time to start cleaning up your leather handbag, the following are helpful indicators that it's time your leather handbag needs some attention ASAP: 

  • Starting to crack - If your leather purse is showing signs of cracking, feels rough to the touch, or just looks like it’s about to break out in cracks any minute, you’re due for some white leather maintenance.
  • Spots and Stains - As we said before, white shows every speck of dirt out there, so if you have stains and spots that are even slightly visible to the eye, it’s time for a cleaning.
  • Starting to Loosen and Stretch - If you’ve noticed that your white leather bag is starting to stretch out and isn’t holding its original form, it definitely needs a leather check-up.
  • Icky Mold/Mildew Smell - Since leather is a natural fabric, it can get stinky and gross if you don’t take care of it. If you notice that your stunning leather purse smells like the inside of a washing machine after you’ve left your wet clothes in there, you are in the danger zone of a past due cleaning. 

With all that said, cleaning your white purse on the regular should be part of your routine for your other garments like dry cleaning or tailoring. 

Because leather is such a high-quality fabric and can last a lifetime or more if you take care of it, you owe it to you and those who will one day own and cherish your white leather handbag when it’s passed to down make sure it is maintained regularly. 

Prep Your Bag First

Now that we’ve schooled and probably shamed you a little about leather purse maintenance let’s go over the ways in which you will need to prepare your bag for the big clean. 

First Thing’s First— Empty The Entire Bag

Even if this means a waterfall of your entire life will spill out before you, you can’t properly clean your leather purse without emptying it out all the way.

And when we say emptying it out, we mean every little nook and cranny.

Even if you are anti-food or drinks in your bag, we all know too well pesky dirt particles and crumbs will somehow magically make their way inside your purse.

To ensure that your bag is totally and completely cleaned out, get either a handheld or upright vacuum attachment and REALLY get in there to suck those suckers and other pieces of trash out of there. 

If you want to make sure you get everything, try lightly pulling the liner outwards so that it is inverted from the bag, just to make sure those little dirt devils are all gone. 

Pro Tip - Be sure you do this carefully; you don’t want to puncture or tear your liner out!

Secondly, Give Your White Leather Purse a Good Rub Down

Once you are done vacuuming all those trash demons away, next, you will want to give the outside of your leather bag a really good wipe down.

When wiping it down, be sure you use something soft like a microfiber cloth so it won’t scratch the leather. Because since it is white leather, it will show every little scuff and scratch if you don't care.

This is not only great because it will get rid of loose dirt on your white leather purse but also gives you an idea of how dirty your white leather purse is before you get into the thick of cleaning it. 

Final Step— Clear Off a Clean and Open Space to Work 

The final step for preparing your white leather purse for the big clean is to make sure you have a big and open space for you to do the cleaning on. 

I know, I know, we sound like a broken record when we say that your white leather purse will show dirt, but it will definitely get dirtier and possibly scuffed up if it isn’t cleaned on a clean space.

It should go without saying, but, we want to cover all of our bases, ya know? Think of us like a stern-but-cool older sister. We definitely have you and your white leather purses’ interest at heart.

Also, you don’t want to work in a cluttered workspace and get everything all junky. Organization is key, and that is what you need to do with your cleaning space. 

If you’re thinking you can do this on the floor or your bed, we’re going to ask you to think again. 

Try using a flat, stable service like a table or a countertop where you can work diligently on getting that white leather purse back in its pristine condition.

Now that we have you all excited and ready to clean, there is just one more thing we need to go over— selecting the right cleaning materials. 

Materials You Will Need

The materials you use to clean your white leather purse are just as important as the act of cleaning the purse itself.

You really shouldn’t just use any old product on your white leather purse, even if it says it’s cleaner.

So, before we get into what is safe to use, let’s go over what is definitely, 100% not safe to use for cleaning your white leather bag:

  • Baby wipes - Just because they’re good and refreshing for you does not mean they will be good or refreshing for your white leather bag. In fact, they can even damage your leather no matter how “natural” your wipes may be. Trust us; just ditch baby wipes altogether.
  • Bleach - Definitely stay away from this stuff. Even if bleach is good for whitening whites, it can most certainly destroy your sacred white leather purse by discoloring it or drying it out.
  • Vinegar - Stay away from vinegar for your bag-cleaning needs. Not only could it make your white leather purse smell of Easter egg dye all year round, but it can also do the same damage as bleach and cause discoloration and cracking it. You definitely don’t want your white leather purse to smell or be any other color than white, so it’s best to leave this in your cabinet till Easter. 
  • Alcohol - Re: everything we said earlier above also applies. Just leave it in your medicine cabinet and use it as directed. 

Now that we’ve cleared things up, let’s go over what you most certainly should use to clean your white leather bag:

  • Mild soaps - It’s always best to get soaps specifically made for white leather purses, but you can also use dish soaps. Just make sure it doesn’t have any drying agents like alcohol. 
  • Warm water - Warm water works best since it will be gentle on your skin and the leather of the purse. 
  • Soft, microfiber cloth - The same type of cloth you used earlier to give your white leather purse an initial whip down you can definitely use again for the actual cleaning. If you can’t score a microfiber cloth, you can use a cotton cloth instead, just make sure it doesn’t have rough ridges, so it doesn’t cause any scuffs. 
  • Conditioning balm - After you have washed all the dirt off, you will need an organic balm to condition the leather on your white leather purse to keep it smooth and plump. 

So now that we have gone over how to prep and what you’ll need, let’s get down and dirty to get that white leather purse clean. 

How to Clean

Now that you are all set, the cleaning process will be easy, peasy, lemon squeezy!

First Step - Mix Up Your Washing Materials and Go to Town Scrubbing 

Don’t go too hard— remember to be gentle when rubbing down the leather but definitely add enough force to get out some of those more stubborn spots.

Pro Tip: you can also dip a soft bristle toothbrush in your cleaning liquid to use on tough spots as well. Again, be super careful not to add too much pressure, so you don’t leave scuffs or marks.

Make sure the bag is washed all over on its exterior. Also, try going over the bag again with a soap-free damp microfiber cloth to get rid of any excess cleaning solution.

Second Step - Set It Aside So It Can Dry  

Now that your white leather purse is clean wipe off any excess water and let it air dry.

We know it’s tempting, but DO NOT, and we repeat, DO NOT use a hairdryer to speed up the process.

This can damage your white leather purse by drying it out.

Heed our warning and just let it air dry, girl. You’ll thank us later. 

Final Step - Condition   

Once your white leather purse has completely air dried, now it’s time for the finishing touches, which is using that organic balm we talked about earlier to condition it.

Apply the balm in small dabs (a little goes a long way!) and gently massage it into the leather. 

After the entire bag is covered, wait about 10 minutes to let the leather soak it all up.

Once you start seeing the smooth, healthy glow of your white leather purse returning to its former glory, you’ll know the cleaning process is complete.

Take Care of Your White Leather

With our day to day busy hustle, it’s easy to take our beloved handbags for granted.

But your belongings need the care and attention that you give to other aspects of your life, especially if you own high-quality items like a white leather purse.

By repeating this process every so often, you can ensure that your well-loved white leather purse will stay in the best condition possible so that you can keep using it for as long as you’d like. 

Here are some major takeaways for the next time you clean your white leather purse:

  • Prep before you clean - Make sure you wipe down your white leather purse before beginning the actual cleaning process.
  • Don’t just clean with anything - Select organic or natural cleaning products to do the actual cleaning with so you don’t damage the exterior of the purse.
  • Use conditioner - After you have cleaned and dried your white leather purse, make sure you finish off the cleaning process by using a conditioning balm to rehydrate any areas that are showing signs of cracking. 



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