A bag or purse is something that almost everyone carries with them. They are a necessity for some, while for some they exude sophistication and casual elegance. It is no secret that anything made of leather, especially a leather purse, is an expensive investment. 

Therefore, whatever reason you spent money on a bag, you do not want it to be ruined because of your carelessness. If you are not careful, getting stains on your leather purse might cost you a lot of money in terms of repairs.

Knowing how to clean a leather purse (without ruining it) is a valuable life hack that will last for years. Whether you buy a premium bag or a bargain on the main street, leather purses are built to last.

Ink, blood, food, and wine are some of the most typical stains discovered on the interior and outside of leather purses. The sooner you treat the spots, the easier it will be to get rid of them. There is not a one-size-fits-all solution for removing stains from leather. The best cleaning approach for a stain that will not damage the fabric is decided on the type of stain.

How to Remove Stains from Leather Bag?

A leather purse cannot be cleaned simply by wiping it down using a baby wipe. Incorrect techniques can result in lasting discoloration or texture damage. Leather, like most natural materials, can be ruined simply by being exposed to water.

Similarly, not all leather is created equal. The leather can be treated with a finish. The leather can be semi-aniline, aniline, or full-grain? People also frequently experiment with various cleaning methods, varying from baking soda to Windex. Often, the attempt is a failure, and the expensive leather bag is damaged.

This is why having your purse cleaned by an expert who knows how to remove stains from leather and restore it to its original condition is recommended. If the do-it-yourself (DIY) in you insists on a home solution, here are the techniques for dealing with each type of stain.

how to remove stains from leather purses and bags

Methods to Remove Stains from Leather Bags or Purses

Below, we will go over the most common stains and provide a step-by-step DIY solution for each.

Treating Water Stains

Water alone is incompatible with leather. The traces of the stain will stand out once the water has dried and settled on the leather. The importance of prevention cannot be overstated. Remove the water before it has a chance to dry. Soak a lint-free cloth in water before using it.

Dab the stain with the cloth. The essential term here is "dab”.  It is crucial that you do so rather than wiping with your hand, which is the natural impulse. Wiping the water away merely pushes it deeper into the leather.

For more excessive water spills, like spilling a whole cup of water, then complement the above steps by applying a leather conditioner after the leather bag or purse dries. Additionally, saddle soap can be used. This is a protective coating made up of materials like lanolin, mild soap, and beeswax that protect the leather from liquids.

Gently rub the conditioner into the leather with a soft cloth in small circular motions, allowing for an even application over the whole surface. Allow the leather purse or bag to dry overnight or for several hours. The conditioner will replenish the depleted oils by penetrating the leather via the pores left exposed by evaporating water.

Treating Red Wine Stains

For any upscale social occasion when red wine is offered, a leather purse is a nice accent. However, after a few rounds and feeling a little tipsy, it's not uncommon to spill the drink and get some wine on the bag.

When learning how to remove stains from leather, you must also learn about the techniques for removing wine stains. Due to the skin and tannins of the grapes, red wine is known for leaving lasting stains.

To begin, find out if the leather purse is made of finished or raw leather. If the latter is the case, you will need to get the bag cleaned by a professional. Add a few drops of water to the leather's surface to determine its finish.

If the water soaks into the leather, then it is unfinished. If the bag is made of finished leather, you can clean it on your own. To start, use a paper towel to absorb as much wine as possible. Avoid rubbing or pressing too hard into the leather by using a delicate dabbing motion.

Apply a tiny amount of hydrogen peroxide to a damp, clean paper towel and apply it over the spot. The damp paper towel usually leaves a small mark on the leather. Therefore, keep that in mind. This is not to be confused with the wine stain.

If the stain remains after the second effort, the bag should be taken to a specialist. If the stain has dried and left an impression on the bag, it will need to be restored by a professional.

A handmade paste of one part cream of tartar to one part lemon juice could be used to remove dark stains from substances like red wine. Allow 10 minutes for the paste to dry on the stain. Using a damp, clean cloth, wipe away the paste. If any residue remains, dampen the cloth with some mild soap or leather cleaner and wash the area down again.

Allow leather to air dry before applying leather conditioner.

Treating Ink Stains

People often feel that ink is permanent. However, this is only because they use incorrect cleaning methods. Once you know which cleaner to use, removing ink stains from a leather bag is fairly simple. Like with most stains, the quicker you treat ink stains the better.

To remove ink stains, apply a small amount of rubbing alcohol on the stain. Then allow it to sit for about 10 minutes. Apply the alcohol sparingly on the stain. Just spot test it on a small area to determine if it creates any discoloration.

Ensure the alcohol is safe to use. Dip a cotton ball in alcohol and wipe the stain in a circular pattern till the stain fades.  Do so gently, being careful not to press the cotton ball too deeply into the leather.

Apply a thin layer of leather conditioner to the area after it has dried to restore the shine and moisture. Some people use hairspray in place of rubbing alcohol because it also contains alcohol. This is not advised because the spray contains extra additives that can damage the leather.

how to remove stains from leather purses and bags

Treating Oil Stains

If you frequently dine out, you should be aware of how to remove grease stains from leather bags. Grease, like grease on a grocery bag, can show through the leather. To remove grease, start by wiping away as much as you can using a microfiber cloth.

After that, cover the discoloration with your choice of talcum powder, corn starch, baking soda, or wheat germ. The powder absorbs the oil and functions as an absorbent. Allow the powder to rest for at least one night. The stain must be gone when you check in the morning.

It is worth noting that grease stains can only be entirely removed if you use the aforementioned approach as soon as the grease falls on the leather. Once the stain has dried, you will only be able to minimize it. A full removal will necessitate the use of a professional service.

You can also attempt the following alternative procedure if the bag is made of suede leather. Pour just enough vinegar onto a cloth to mildly dampen it. Using a suede brush, dab the stain with the cloth and then brush over the leather.

You should also know how to clean oil stains from a leather purse that has been treated with a protective finish. In this case, use a water-based leather cleaner and follow the package recommendations.

Bottom Line – How to remove stains from leather purses?

Stains on leather can be difficult to remove. As previously stated, stains should always be treated as soon as possible. Always spot test. If your spot test comes negative, or if you are dealing with a huge or challenging stain, it will be worth your time and money to take your leather bag to a professional leather cleaner as soon as possible for the stain treatment.