How to clean stains on a patent leather handbag

Updated February 16, 2017

Patent leather handbags collectors purchase bags for their brilliant shine and classic style. For designer bag enthusiasts looking to brighten a dull leather bag and clean common stains, you will need tips that add polish to your precious purse. Whether you pamper your patent leather after each wearing, or schedule a monthly cleaning for your purse, ordinary household products and an old white cloth will take your dirty patent leather bag from drab to divine.

Remove pen marks with rubbing alcohol. Mix one part alcohol with two parts water. Douse two or three cotton balls in the solution. Press firmly on the purse to saturate the pen-stained leather. Wait five minutes. Wipe the solution clean with a clean cloth to remove the stain completely.

Get rid of black scuffs with acetone-free nail polish remover. Using a cotton ball soaked with polish remover, gently dab the scuffed area to remove the black mark. Wipe the bag with a rag dipped in cold water to remove any polish remover residue. Let bag dry in a well-ventilated area for 24 hours.

Keep bags clean with mild liquid detergent and water. To remove surface dirt, clean your patent leather purse with a mixture of water and liquid detergent. Mix 2 tablespoons of detergent with 1 cup of cold water. Soak the edge of a white cloth in the soapy water to clean. Pat purse dry using a clean cloth.

Clean dirty patent leather with a vinegar and water mixture. To restore shine to a patent leather handbag, mix 2 to 4 tablespoons of vinegar with a ½ cup of warm water. Use a clean white rag or old white T-shirt to eliminate any small traces of vinegar residue on the purse.

Moisturise a patent leather purse with petroleum jelly. Apply a small dab of jelly to a clean cloth. Polish the leather using a circular motion.

Restore shine with a glass cleaner. Spray the cleaner on a clean rag. Rub the bag lightly to clean the bag.


If cosmetics spill on your patent handbag, wipe them off with a clean damp cloth


Do not apply heat from a blow dryer to dry your patent leather handbag quickly. Avoid using wax products, which can cause patent leather to crack and peel.

Things You'll Need

  • Vinegar
  • Water
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Liquid detergent
  • Acetone-free polish remover
  • Petroleum jelly
  • Glass cleaner
  • Clean white cloths or old T-shirts
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About the Author

Mimi Abney is a lifestyle writer specializing in online content for women. Her work has appeared in and "Keepsake Magazine," among other publications. With over 15 years of writing and editing experience for the web and print, Abney is also a contributor to online health, beauty and fashion publications. She holds a Bachelor of Science in biology from Spelman College.