How To Clean A White Leather Purse [6 Effective Methods]

Nothing looks sleeker than a brand new white leather purse. Unfortunately, white leather can get dirty fast. We know you don't want to walk around with a less than a perfect-looking bag, so we researched the best methods for cleaning white leather purses. Keep reading to learn all about taking care of white leather bags.

White leather will stay looking fresh with proper care. There are a few different methods for cleaning white leather purses. Here are some of the most effective solutions:

  • Castile soap
  • White vinegar
  • Olive oil and white vinegar
  • Toothpaste 
  • Baking soda 
  • Cream of tartar and lemon juice 

Most of these ingredients are easy to find and very affordable. You can get your white leather bag looking new in no time! 

You probably still have some questions about each of these cleaning methods. Keep reading to find out more details about each solution and the best way to maintain your white leather purse.

Portraits of businesswoman in the city using technology and having a coffee holding a white leather shoes, How To Clean A White Leather Purse [6 Effective Methods]

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What Not to Do When You Clean A White Leather Purse 

White woman leather purse with long handle on blue background

Before we talk about the best ways to clean a white leather bag, let's take a look at what products and methods you should keep away from white leather.

Do Not Use Bleach

Even though using bleach to clean something white seems logical, you should not put bleach on white leather. The harsh chemicals will damage leather and weaken its structure. Also, bleach will dry out leather and cause it to crack prematurely.

Do Not Use Any Ammonia-Based Cleaners 

If you find a small stain on your bag, it may be tempting to spray a little all-purpose cleaner on the area. Do not do this! Most bottled cleaning solutions contain ammonia. Just like with bleach, any ammonia-based cleaner damages leather by drying it out and weakening its structure. If you want to use a household cleaning solution, make sure to read the ingredients first. Confirm there is no ammonia in the solution before you apply it to your purse.

Do Not Use Products That Contain Alcohol 

Some DIY leather cleaning methods recommend using products that contain alcohol.  But, you should not try these solutions. Alcohol is another chemical you should never put on leather. It ruins the topcoat of any leather product and can stain. It is less likely to stain white leather than darker leather, but it still may lead to discoloration over time.

How To Clean White Leather Purses

The process for cleaning white leather purses is the same no matter what cleaning solution you choose to try.

If you have a leather bag that isn't white, check out this blog post: How To Clean A Leather Handbag. 

1. Mix Cleaning Solution

Before you do anything else, decide which cleaning solution you want to use. Whether you choose a store-bought leather cleaner or make one yourself, the first step is to prepare the solution. We will go into more detail about the different solutions below. If you have an empty spray bottle, mix your solution in it.

2. Wipe Down Bag With A Microfiber Cloth

Dampen a microfiber cloth with warm, plain water. Then, gently wipe down your purse. This loosens dirt and other surface particles to prepare the leather for deeper cleaning.

3. Spray Cleaning Solution On A Dry Microfiber Cloth 

Next, take your already mixed cleaning solution from step 1, and spray it onto a clean, dry microfiber cloth. Never spray the solution directly on your purse. Doing so may result in an oversaturated bag and cause more problems like watermarks.

4. Wipe Down Purse

Then, take your damp microfiber cloth and gently wipe down your purse. Start at the top of the bag and work in small circular wiping motions. Do not scrub back and forth, and do not push too hard. This can destroy the leather. If you notice a tricky stain or spot that won't seem to go away, try to dampen your cloth with the solution again and continue to rub the spot in a circular motion.

5. Buff Purse 

After you have wiped down your bag with your cleaning solution, it is time to buff the leather. To buff, first, find a dry microfiber cloth. Then, use this cloth to gently rub down your purse again. This process picks up any lingering dirt while drying the bag.

6. Leave Purse To Air Dry

Once you buff your purse, all you need to do is let it air dry. There is no need for rinsing with plain water or patting dry with a towel. Put your purse in a safe location and let it sit for 24 hours to ensure the leather is completely dry.

White Leather Purse Cleaning Solutions

Now let's look at the different white leather cleaning solutions you may want to clean your bags. Before you decide to clean your whole purse with one of these solutions, make sure to test it on a small part of your bag first.

Castile Soap 

Castile or mild dish soap plus warm water is one of the most effective ways to clean white leather. To prepare this solution, fill a small bowl or spray bottle with warm water. Then, add a few drops of soap. Mix the solution, and you are ready to start cleaning.

This is an effective cleaning method for many leather products. If you are curious about washing leather sandals, check out this blog post: Can I Wash My Leather Sandals? 

Dr. Bronner's Pure Castile Soap

Here is a two-pack of castile soap. This versatile cleaning agent is perfect for restoring your white leather purse. As a bonus, you can use this soap for many other natural cleaning solutions.

Click here to view it on Amazon. 

White Vinegar 

Vinegar is another method for cleaning white leather. Like with the soap, all you have to do is mix a few drops of vinegar with warm water. Be very careful not to use too much vinegar. It can be damaging to leather in large amounts.

Spectrum Naturals Organic White Distilled Vinegar 

This organic distilled vinegar is the type of vinegar you should use on your purse. The higher its quality, the less likely it is to damage your bag.

Click here to view it on Amazon. 

Olive Oil And White Vinegar

Another excellent cleaning solution for white leather is olive oil and white vinegar solution. Mix the oil and vinegar together in a 2:1 ratio. We recommend using an empty spray bottle to mix the two. Then, you can shake the bottle before application.

This solution is best for spot stains. Instead of wiping down your whole bag with this solution, you may want to only put a small amount directly onto a problem area. Let the mixture sit for a few minutes before wiping it off.


Toothpaste is also a cleaning option for spot stains. After you have wiped down your purse with a damp microfiber cloth, apply a small amount of non-gel toothpaste directly to the stain. Next, gently rub it in and wipe clean.

Baking Soda 

Baking soda is another effective cleaning solution. To clean the whole purse, mix a small amount with warm water before application. Baking soda is also great for treating grease/oil stains. For these spot stains, you can apply a small amount of baking soda directly onto the stain. Rub it in gently. Then, let it sit for a few minutes, or even hours, until it looks like the baking soda has absorbed the grease/oil. Lastly, wipe the baking soda off.

Cream Of Tartar And Lemon Juice

Mix equal parts of cream of tartar and lemon juice to create a wonderful cleaning solution. You can water it down to apply to your whole purse or leave it in a 1:1 ratio for spot cleaning.

Happy Belly Cream Of Tartar 

Cream of tartar is not the most common household staple, so if you can't find it lying around your house, here is an excellent bottle to keep on hand. It comes in handy for all sorts of cleaning.

Click here to view it on Amazon. 

Store-Bought Leather Cleaners 

If you don't want to make your own leather cleaner solutions, you can always buy special leather cleaning online or in stores. Remember to read the label to ensure that the cleaner you buy is suitable for the type of leather your purse is made of. Also, make sure to follow the manufacturer's instructions carefully when applying the product.

Coach Leather Cleaner

This is a high-quality leather cleaner for many types of leather. Follow the instructions carefully and always spot the test before applying it to your whole purse.

Click here to view it on Amazon.

Chemical Guys Leather Cleaner

This orderless leather cleaner works great on all types of leather. You can clean more than your purse with it.

Click here to view it on Amazon. 

Why Does White Leather Turn Yellow? 

All white leather will turn yellow over time. It is a natural process caused by oxidation. When the leather particles are exposed to chemicals in the air, sunlight, and particles, they break down slowly over time. This process results in yellow-looking white leather. Regular leather cleaning and conditioning can slow down the yellowing process and keep your white leather looking brand new.

White clothes yellow too. If you want to read more about this topic, check out this blog post: How to Whiten White Clothes That Have Yellowed.

Can You Use Clorox Wipes On A Leather Purse? 

No, you should not use Clorox wipes on any leather item. Clorox wipes, and moist wipes, contain alcohol. Alcohol is harmful to leather and will dry it out and cause damage over time. If you happen to have alcohol-free wipes, you could use those in situations when you don't have access to any other cleaning solutions.

How To Get An Ink Stain Out Of A Leather Purse?

If the ink is fresh, mild soap and water should be enough to get the stain out. If the stain is old or from permanent ink, removing it will be more difficult. You may have to use rubbing alcohol to remove the stain. Unfortunately, using rubbing alcohol will also do some damage to the leather. So, once the stain is gone, make sure to apply a leather conditioner and be very careful not to get ink on your purse again.

Don't Let You White Purse Get Dirty Ever Again! 

Now that you know about different white leather cleaning solutions, you can bring some life back into your purse. All it takes is a few simple ingredients and some time to get your purse looking fresh again. Say goodbye to those dirt smudges and hello to a stain-free purse!

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