How to Take Care of Leather Bags

Updated February 21, 2017

Care of leather depends partly on the type of leather. For example, care should be taken to keep cow skin leather from getting wet, while deerskin leather can get damp while still keeping its shape and softness. Still, there are some care tips common to all types of leather. Take good care of your leather bags, and they will remain sturdy, functional and beautiful for as long as you own them.

Determine the type of leather your bag is made from. This is the first step after (or even before) you've purchased your bag. Check the tag, and look at the texture of the bag. Deerskin has natural flaws and marks on it. Suede is softly textured.

Condition and waterproof your leather bag. Use a conditioner specially formulated for leather periodically, especially if you live in a dry climate. Waterproof suede by using a commercial suede waterproofing product. Deerskin leather does not need to be waterproofed.

Clean according to the type of leather. For deerskin or patent leather, a damp rag and mild soap is all that is needed to clean off a stain. For suede, you will need to "erase" the stain with a pink rubber eraser, or a specially designed suede eraser. For grease stains, apply ground blackboard chalk first to absorb the stain. Avoid using any cleaning products that have harsh chemicals or alcohol in them.

Store your leather bag without covering it. Placing it on a shelf in a dark, cool closet is best. Never put it in a plastic bag or any other nonporous material, as this can contribute to the growth of mildew. Keep your leather bag in a location far removed from any direct heat or sunlight, which can damage leather, causing it to fade or become dry and cracked.

Stuff the inside of your bag with tissue paper to keep the sides of the leather from collapsing when not in use. This will help it keep its shape.


Apply cleaning and conditioning products to the rag, not directly on the leather.

Things You'll Need

  • Leather conditioning product
  • Suede waterproofing product
  • Pink rubber eraser or suede eraser
  • Chalk
  • Rag
  • Soap and water
  • Tissue paper
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