How to clean a leather handbag

Mrs Hinch tests out a variety of new cleaning products from B&M

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Leather handbags can last more than 30 years if they are made from full-grain leather, oiled regularly and stored carefully. You also need to make sure that you clean your leather handbag properly without using harsh chemicals. Express.co.uk reveals how to clean a leather handbag, according to Dri-Pak.

Leather is most people’s go-to when choosing a handbag because it is such a durable material.

Leather handbags go with almost any outfit and can be worn to the supermarket or to a posh event.

The one problem with leather handbags is that they are prone to picking up dirt and stains.

People assume that leather handbags don’t need to be cleaned because you can wipe most spillages off the material, but they’re wrong.

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Whether your leather bag is a handbag or shoulder bag, structured or slouchy, you will need to give it a clean every now and then.

Think about how many times you leave your handbag on the floor, place it on a dirty table, or accidentally knock it on a dirty surface while out and about.

Stains are the least of your problems – if you haven’t cleaned your bag in a while, it could be home to up to 10,000 different types of bacteria.

How to clean a leather handbag

Storing your bag correctly is the first step to keeping it clean.

Dri-Pak recommend storing your handbag upright in the felt bag it came in or a pillowcase

No matter what shape your bag is, you should stuff it with tissue paper or an old T-Shirt to help it maintain its shape.

Whatever you do, don’t store a leather handbag in plastic because this will stick to the bag or dry the leather out.

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About once or twice a year you need to handwash your leather handbag to ward off germs and get rid of stains and marks.

Start by emptying the bag, disposing of any rubbish and wiping anything you want to keep with antibacterial wipes (this could include your purse, headphones, lipsticks and other items you regularly cart around).

Always follow the care instructions for your handbag before cleaning it because some materials require specific products.

If it’s safe to do so, pull the fabric lining of the leather bag out and wipe with a damp sponge rinsed in a solution of Dri-Pak’s Liquid Soap and hot water.

Make sure you don’t drench the lining at this stage because you want the lining to dry quickly. Drape the lining over a radiator or dry it with a hairdryer.

If you can’t pull the lining away from the leather or the bag is unlined, use an upholstery cleaning spray.

Put an open cup of baking soda inside a pillowcase and place it in the bag for 24 hours to absorb and neutralise any bad smells inside the bag.

To wash the outside of the bag, you should use Dri-Pak’s Liquid Soap and hot water.

Liquid Soap (formerly called Liquid Soap Flakes) contains only pure soap derived from vegetable oils, with no added perfumes or ingredients, making them a great choice for leather.

Dri-Pak’s Paul Brook explained: “Liquid Soap does not contain palm oil – the soap comes from sunflower and coconut oil, so it is suitable for washing leather handbags as it doesn’t dry out the leather.”

Place the bag in a sink and wash the bag with Liquid Soap and a tiny bit of water.

Wash the bag as you would a delicate fabric, like silk or wool, gently rubbing the soiled areas to remove dirt stains.

Once you’ve washed it, rinse the bag by dipping it in clean water to remove all traces of the Liquid Soap.

Leave the bag to air-dry overnight or for as long as required and reshape the bag with tissue paper or t-shirts when you do so.

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