How To Clean White Leather Bag and Purse and Remove All Types of Stains?

white leather purse and bag

Accessorizing is a way to spice up your outfits by incorporating smaller pieces, like bags, purses, and shoes, into your look. A white leather bag or purse is a perfect accessory for formal and elegant outfits. However, one tedious problem with white leather is its light color, which makes it susceptible to visible stains and marks. Over time, white leather can get stained or discolored, and dirt accumulates on the surface. 

Leather bags/purses need special attention when it comes to cleaning. You can easily clean white leather bag or purse and restore the original look and color by following the proper cleaning steps.

Is it Important to Clean White Leather Bags/Purses?

women holding small white leather purse

All quality things, especially leather, require cleaning and maintenance; otherwise, the quality of your leather bag/purse might deteriorate after some time. Regular cleaning can help you increase the life of a leather product. The following signs indicate that your leather bag needs immediate attention.

  1. Your white leather bag is changing its color to light yellow or brown  
  2. Starting to give out a foul smell
  3. Leather starting to peel or small cracks on the surface.

Do you also like wearing leather jackets? Then you must also learn to Clean Leather Jackets.

Steps to Prep Your Bag Before Cleaning

1. Remove the Bag’s Contents

Make sure to remove all the contents from your bag before cleaning it so that it can be cleaned properly from the inside and outside. Remove all tiny crumbs and pieces of food or tissue from the inside. This step helps us ensure that the contents or papers inside the bag are not damaged.

2. Have a Clean Space

Make sure there are no liquid or staining products that might spoil your bag if spilled by mistake. It’s necessary to have a clear and empty cleaning space.

How to Clean White Leather Bag/Purse That Turns Yellow?

white leather bag turned yellow

Before we start with this process, it’s essential to know why a leather purse turns yellow. A natural oxidation process causes the yellowing of the leather when exposed to open air. Oxidation starts with the yellowing of the leather and, over time, breaks down the leather surface, resulting in the peeling of the upper surface.  

Do not randomly choose a hack or tip you see to treat dirt and stains on your bag. Assess if the product quality and ingredients are safe for leather surfaces, and only use them on your bag. It’s usually a good practice to maintain your bag regularly so that it does not start with the discoloration process. If it still has, you can follow the following steps to clean it.

Step 1: Mild Soap and Warm Water

Mix a mild cleaning soap in warm water to prepare a cleaning solution. Take a microfiber cloth and dampen it with this solution. Make sure to squeeze the fabric so that the material is damp and not dripping wet.

Step 2: Wipe With Cloth

Wipe your bag with the cloth mixed with the solution in soft circular motions. This will help remove the dirt, and the yellowish color should immediately disappear.

Step 3: Wipe With a Dry Cloth

Wipe the bag with a dry cloth and let it air dry for 24 hours. Your bag must be 100% dry before you keep it inside because damp surfaces on leather can cause molds.

Steps to Clean White Leather Bag or Purse?

steps to clean white leather bag

Step 1: Clean the Inner Lining

Since the inner lining is made up of cloth material, you can use a lint roller to clean the inner linings on your bag.

Step 2: Spot Treat Stains

Treat the stains according to their nature by working in smaller areas of the bag so that it doesn’t spread. Also, make sure to clean any spills in the inner lining of the bag.

Step 3: Wipe the Bag

Wipe the bag with a damp cloth to clean any dirt on the surface. Make sure that the cloth is slightly damp and not dripping wet; otherwise, it might leave water stains as it dries.

Step 4: Let it Air Dry

Let the bag’s surface dry completely before wrapping it and keeping it inside. This step is important because if the surface is not dry properly, the damp leather surface might cause molds on the bag.

Things to Avoid While Cleaning White Leather Bag/Purse

things to avoid while cleaning white leather

Cleaning a white leather purse or bag requires a gentle touch and a lot of patience. Using harsh products to clean leather can easily damage or stain it, as leather is an organic product.

1. Do Not Use Bleach, Vinegar, or Baby Wipes

Bleach, vinegar, or baby wipes can damage the surface and deteriorate the leather quality. Such harsh products can dry the leather and its oils, which results in discoloration.

2. Nail Polish Remover

Although many cleaning solutions suggest using a nail polish remover as a solution, avoid using it as it might create a sizeable bleached-looking spot around the area where it is applied.

How to Remove Different Stain Types

girl in pink dress holding white leather purse

It would help if you address spills as soon as they occur. Otherwise, it might leave a permanent stain. Ensure you clean all the spilled substance you can see in a blotting motion. A blotting motion is necessary. Otherwise, it might spread the stain. After this step, we can examine the nature of the stains and proceed with the cleaning steps further.

1. Oil Stains

If there is an oil-based stain on your leather bag, sprinkle enough baby powder on top of the stain so that the powder absorbs the oil. Leave it overnight, and brush away the baby powder with a dry microfiber cloth the next day.

2. Ink Stains

Ink Stains can be cleaned by 2 different methods:

Method 1: White Shoe polish on Difficult Stains

A white shoe polish works perfectly for ink stains. Squeeze a small amount of shoe polish, gently buff the area with the sponge applicator tip, and cover the stain with it.

Method 2: Rub Alcohol

Dilute the rubbing alcohol with water and dip the microfibre cloth to dampen it. Clean the stain with a damp cloth. This method usually lifts off the ink stains easily.

Related: Does rubbing alcohol stain clothes?

3. Scuff Marks

Scuff marks are light abrasion marks due to friction with other harsh objects. Scuff marks become common when you use your bag for an extended time. Mix one to two tablespoons of baking soda to form a thick paste. Apply the paste on the scuff mark and allow it to sit for a few minutes. Dampen a clean side of the fabric and gently wipe the excess paste from the leather bag.

4. Molds

Slightly scrape the mold from the surface using a blunt knife (you can use a butter knife for this process). Wipe the surface with a damp microfiber cloth, sprinkle some antifungal powder on it, and allow it to dry for a few hours.

You can buy professional cleaning leather solutions specially formulated for leather surfaces. They are more reliable than home solutions. To ensure you have chosen the best product, carefully read the label, product descriptions, and reviews.

Oh no! Have you also spotted gum stains? You must read: How to remove gum from leather?

Steps to Maintain White Leather Bag/Purse

steps to maintain white leather bag and purse

1. Wipe Your Bag Once a Week

Wiping your bag regularly with a microfibre cloth ensures that dust doesn’t pile up and fade the color of your bag. You can dampen your cloth in warm water to wipe any dirt off the leather.

2. Dry The Surface Immediately After Wiping

Make sure to wipe your leather bag with a dry cloth so no water is left on the surface.

3. Clean the Interior Lining

You can use a lint roller to clean your bag’s interior lining. After removing all the content from your bag, pull the lining out and clean any dust or debris stuck on it with your fingers.

Don’t know the difference between a lint roller and a lint brush? Then you must read: Lint Brush vs. Lint Roller

Additional Tips to Keep White Leather Clean Longer

tips to keep white leather clean longer

1. Avoid Touching Your Bag/Purse After Using Hand Lotion

Hand lotion is a prevalent cause of oil-based stains on bag handles. While cleaning the bag, spot these stains and clean those tough-to-spot areas.

2. Wrap Your Bag/Purse and Store it When Not in Use

Many luxury purses usually come with a dust bag; store your handbags in them when not in use. If you don’t have a dust bag, an old pillow case, a plastic cover, or a paper bag works as well, but make sure you put it in a cover that completely covers the bag.

3. Condition the Leather Every Few Months

Once you have cleaned your purse, apply a leather conditioner to keep it from drying out and cracking and make it resistant to future stains. You can buy a commercial leather conditioner or create your own.

  • What is the best thing to clean white leather?

    With leather products,  it’s best to keep the products to the minimum, so warm water + mild soap solution goes a long way, but for tough stains, we can use rubbing alcohol for spot cleaning.

  • Can you make white leather white again?

    If the white leather has caught up dust and dirt, then yes, it is still possible to make the leather white again by simple cleaning methods.

  • Can you use a magic eraser on white leather?

    Magic erase can be used as a spot-cleaning solution for white leather, but a drawback of using a magic eraser is that it will wear slowly with each use.

Do you own faux leather products? If your answer is yes, then you must read: How to Wash Faux Leather


Leather purses and bags are a luxury investment, requiring extra care to retain their value and quality. By dusting off the bag, preparing, and by following the steps, you can effectively clean the white leather bag or purse without causing damage. If the products are maintained, they can also give you a good resale value.

Related: How to get smoke smell out of leather?

Related: How to clean a leather belt?