Can I Put A Leather Handbag In The Washing Machine – Need To Know

Besides being a fashion accessory, your leather purse makes a statement about your style and is a reliable friend on your daily trips. But it takes more than a quick wipe-down to keep it clean and pretty. Many wonder: Can you wash a leather handbag in the washing machine?

The answer is a resounding NO! It might seem like the fastest and easiest way to clean. However, putting your favorite leather bag through a washing machine’s sharp chemicals and rough movement can ruin it. This detailed guide will explain why there are better ideas than washing a leather handbag in the washing machine. It will also show you how to clean and care for your valuable items properly.

Read on to discover:

  1. Why it’s wrong to wash your leather purse in the washing machine: I’ll go into more detail about how it can hurt your bag, such as by shrinking, fading, cracking, and more.
  2. How to clean your leather bag the right way: I’ll show you step-by-step how to clean both the inside and outside of the leather, figure out what kind of leather it is, and get the necessary tools.
  3. How to remove tough stains: I’ll show you how to remove tough stains without hurting your leather.
  4. Essentials about caring for and keeping your leather handbag: I’ll give you tips on keeping it soft and beautiful for years.

If you want your leather handbag to look its best, follow these professional tips. Ensure it lasts to be your beloved partner on all life’s adventures.

Is It Okay To Wash A Leather Handbag In The Washing Machine?

No, it is not recommended to wash (dye) a leather handbag in the washing machine. The washing machine’s harsh detergents, agitation, and heat can damage the leather. This can cause it to shrink, crack, lose its color, and become stiff. This can lead to permanent damage and significantly shorten the lifespan of your bag.

Here are some reasons why you should avoid washing a leather handbag in the washing machine:

  1. Damage to the leather: The harsh chemicals in detergents, especially those with bleach or ammonia, can strip away the natural oils from the leather, making it dry and brittle. The agitation and tumbling action of the washing machine can also cause the leather to stretch and tear.
  2. Color fading: The heat and water in the washing machine can cause the color (change) of your leather handbag to fade or run. This is especially true for delicate leathers like lambskin.
  3. Shrinkage: Leather is a natural material that can shrink when exposed to water and heat. Washing your handbag in the washing machine can cause it to shrink significantly, making it unusable.
  4. Loss of shape: The tumbling action of the washing machine can cause your handbag to lose shape.
  5. Mold and mildew: If your handbag doesn’t dry thoroughly after washing, it can become susceptible to mold and mildew growth.

How to Clean a Leather Handbag

How to Clean a Leather Handbag

Before you begin

  1. Empty the contents of your handbag: Take everything out of your bag, including any loose change or debris.
  2. Determine the type of leather: Different types require different cleaning methods. Check the label inside your bag or consult the manufacturer’s website to identify the type of leather.
  3. Gather your supplies: A lint roller, warm water, mild soap, a soft cloth, and leather conditioner and cleanser (optional) are required.

Cleaning the Exterior

  1. Dust and lint: Use a lint roller to remove any dust and lint from the surface of your bag.
  2. Make a cleaning solution: Mix a few drops of mild soap in a bowl of warm water.
  3. Dampen a cloth: Dip a soft cloth in the cleaning solution, wring it out to remove excess moisture, and wipe the exterior surfaces of your bag.
  4. Wipe with clean water: Utilize a moist towel to eliminate any traces of soap.
  5. Dry thoroughly: Allow your bag to air dry completely at room temperature. Avoid using direct heat or sunlight, as this can damage the leather.

Cleaning the Interior

  1. Vacuum: To clean the inside of your bag of any loose dirt or debris, use the upholstery attachment on your vacuum.
  2. Wipe clean: Wet a fresh cloth with either a solution of equal parts water and white vinegar or warm water mixed with a bit of soap. Wipe down the interior surfaces of the bag.
  3. Dry thoroughly: Allow the interior of your bag to air dry completely.

Special Cleaning Tips

  1. For stubborn stains: Use a commercially available leather cleaner. You can also make a homemade solution of equal parts white vinegar and olive oil. Apply the cleaner directly to the stain and gently rub it with a soft cloth. Wipe away any residue with a clean, damp cloth.
  2. For oil or grease stains: Sprinkle baking soda or cornstarch on the stain and let it sit for a few hours or overnight. Brush off the powder and wipe the area clean with a damp cloth.
  3. For water stains: Allow the water stains to dry naturally. Do not rub them, as this can cause them to spread. After it has dried, condition the leather in that region.


Once your bag is clean and dry, apply a leather conditioner to restore its natural oils and keep it supple. Use a conditioner made specifically for the type of leather you have. Apply the conditioner with a soft cloth and buff it to a shine.

10 Common Mistakes Of Handbag Cleaning

Your handbag is a valuable and cherished accessory. But giving it a quick scrub with whatever cleaning products you have on hand can be tempting. However, this can lead to disastrous consequences, damaging and discoloring your bag. Here are some common handbag-cleaning mistakes to avoid:

1. Using Harsh Chemicals

Many people assume that the stronger the cleaner, the better the results. However, harsh chemicals like bleach, ammonia, and alcohol can strip away the natural oils from your bag’s leather. This makes it dry, brittle, and prone to cracking. This can also cause the color to fade and the finish to deteriorate.

2. Submerging Your Bag In Water

Unless your bag is specifically designed to be waterproof, submerging it in water is a big no-no. Leather absorbs moisture, which can cause it to shrink, lose shape, and even develop mold and mildew.

3. Using The Wrong Cleaning Tools

Abrasive sponges, brushes, and rough cloths can scratch and damage the delicate surface of your bag. When cleaning, use microfiber cloths or soft, lint-free cloths.

4. Ignoring The Interior

While the exterior of your bag is what everyone sees, the inside harbors just as much dirt and grime, neglecting the interior can lead to unpleasant odors and even attract pests.

5. Not Conditioning Your Bag

Leather must be regularly conditioned to maintain suppleness and prevent it from drying out and cracking. Choose a conditioner formulated for your specific type of leather.

6. Ignoring Spills And Stains

The longer you leave spills and stains untreated, the harder they will be to remove. When you notice a spill, please clean it up immediately with a damp cloth.

7. Storing Your Bag Improperly

Storing your bag in a damp, humid environment can encourage mold and mildew growth. It’s best to keep your bag in a cool, dry place, preferably in a dust bag.

8. Overusing Cleaning Products

While cleaning your bag regularly is important, overdoing it can have negative consequences. Avoid using cleaning products too frequently, as this can strip away the natural oils from the leather.

9. Not Testing Cleaning Products

Before applying any cleaning product to your entire bag, always test it on an inconspicuous area first. This will help you avoid any unwanted surprises like discoloration or damage.

10. Ignoring Professional Cleaning

For heavily soiled or damaged bags, professional cleaning is the best option. A professional cleaner will have the knowledge and expertise to clean your bag correctly. They can do this without causing any further damage.

If you avoid these common handbag cleaning mistakes, you can keep your bag looking its best for years.

How to nourish the leather of your handbag

How to nourish the leather of your handbag

Nourishing the leather of your handbag is crucial for maintaining its beauty and longevity. Here’s how to do it right:

First, clean your bag thoroughly: Before applying any conditioner, ensure your handbag is dirt and debris-free. Use a soft, damp cloth and a mild soap to clean the exterior and interior. Dry the bag entirely before proceeding.

Second, choose the right conditioner: Opt for a conditioner specifically formulated for your type of leather. Look for ingredients like lanolin, beeswax, or mink oil, which help restore the leather’s natural oils and prevent dryness.

Third, Apply sparingly: A little goes a long way with leather conditioner. Apply a small amount to a clean, soft cloth and buff it into the leather in circular motions. Avoid over-applying, as this can leave the leather greasy.

Fourth, Focus on dry areas: Pay attention to areas that tend to dry out, such as the handles, edges, and corners.

Fifth, Buff to a shine: Once the conditioner is absorbed, use a clean, soft cloth to buff the leather to a shine. This will help protect the leather and give it a beautiful finish.

Finally, Repeat regularly: Depending on the type of leather and how often you use your bag, you should condition it every few months to a year.

Following these simple steps, you can keep (benefit of) your leather handbag looking and feeling its best for years.

How to stop your handbag leather from cracking

Cracked leather on your beloved handbag can be a source of distress. But fear not! Here are some effective ways to prevent cracks from forming, ensuring your bag stays beautiful and functional for years to come:

1. Protect from the elements

  • Sunlight: Avoid exposing your bag to direct sunlight for extended periods. The leather may get dry from the UV rays and become more prone to breaking.
  • Heat: Keep your bag away from heat sources like radiators, car heaters, and fireplaces. High temperatures can cause the leather to become brittle and crack.
  • Water: While leather naturally repels some water, heavy rain or spills can penetrate the surface and cause damage. Be mindful of the weather and store your bag correctly.

2. Clean and condition regularly

  • Cleaning: Regularly remove dirt and grime with a soft, damp cloth and a mild soap solution. This prevents build-up that can damage the leather’s surface.
  • Conditioning: Use a leather conditioner recommended for your specific type of leather. Conditioning replenishes natural oils and keeps the leather supple and flexible, reducing the risk of cracking.

3. Store properly

  • Stuffing: Avoid stuffing your bag to capacity. This can stretch and distort the leather, leading to cracks.
  • Dust bag: When not in use, store your handbag in a dust bag to protect it from dust and scratches.
  • Upright position: Store your bag on a shelf or hanging from a hook to prevent the shape from sagging.

4. Handle with care

  • Avoid overloading: Don’t overload your bag with heavy items. This can strain the leather unnecessarily and lead to tears and cracks.
  • Gentle handling: When opening and shutting your luggage, use caution. Avoid yanking on the handles or straps, which can weaken the leather.
  • Cleaning spills immediately: Wait to let spills sit on your bag for a long. Attend to them promptly to minimize damage and prevent stains that can contribute to cracking.

Video On Clean A Leather Handbag

Last Word

Finally, washing a leather handbag in the washing machine is a recipe for disaster. It can cause irreparable damage, from shrinkage and fading to cracking and even mold growth. Follow the proper cleaning and care techniques outlined in this guide. You can keep your beloved leather handbag looking its best for years.

Here’s a quick recap of the key takeaways:

  • Never wash your leather handbag in the washing machine.
  • Proper cleaning involves identifying the type of leather. Use gentle cleaning solutions and avoid harsh chemicals.
  • Conditioning your bag regularly is crucial for maintaining its suppleness and preventing damage.
  • Store your bag in a cool, dry place and handle it carefully to prevent unnecessary wear and tear.

Investing a little time and effort in caring for your leather handbag can ensure it remains a cherished companion for many years. Remember, a well-maintained leather handbag is timeless and versatile. It adds a touch of elegance and sophistication to your wardrobe. So, treat it with the love and care it deserves!

Please let me know through comments if you have any queries about leather handbag cleaning.

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