You've taken your brand-new leather handbag out to dinner on a special night. You have no idea how the salad dressing found its way to your bag. But now you're looking at a big stain. Or maybe you've had your bag for a while, and you just want to clean it up to restore its luster. Whatever the reason, washing a leather handbag can be accomplished but you need to be gentle.
Remove everything from all pockets of your purse. Remember, purses have lots of compartments you may forget about. The last thing you want is to deal with the stain left by a ballpoint pen you left inside as you wash the bag.
Pull out the cloth liner from the handbag. If it's firmly anchored inside, leave it alone. But most bags have an inner liner that you can invert just for times like these. These are usually made from fabrics that can easily be cleaned at home.
Wash the liner with mild soapy water. You'll have to take care not to get the leather part wet as you do this. Just wet the liner down and massage a little soap in. When you rinse, you'll see lots of old dirt and know that you've done a good job.
Wring the liner and let it dry completely. You really don't want to put a damp liner back in your leather bag.
Purchase leather cleaner. You may have some around the home you otherwise use for furniture care. There are two options you can exercise. You can either buy a bottle and use a soft cloth or use the pre-moistened leather cleaning cloths you can find at many stores. The kind of cloths meant for use on leather car seats will do the trick as well. Use this cloth to clean your leather handbag with care. Allow the handbag to dry. Repeat with more leather cleaner, if necessary.