Your Leather Care Guide: How to Clean a Leather Backpack

The global leather goods market was valued at $394.12 billion and is expected to grow 5.9 percent from 2021 to 2028. Do you have a leather backpack? If so, it’s a great bag and investment that can last for years with the proper care.

Are you wondering about cleaning leather? It’s important that you do it correctly so you don’t ruin your bag. Keep reading our leather care guide so you can keep your beautiful bag looking new.

Step 1: Prepare Your Bag

The first thing you need to do is empty out your leather backpack and remove all the items. Then wipe off any dust before you start cleaning. You may also want to remove any ornaments or clasps on your backpack that you don’t want to clean.

You can use your sweeper attachment to remove any crumbs on the inside of your bag.

Step 2: Gather Your Supplies

Also, you need to get your supplies ready. You want a soft cloth like a microfiber so it doesn’t scratch your leather. You can also use flannels, a t-shirt, or towels as long as they are not rough.

To clean the outside of the leather backpack, create a mixture of dish soap and warm water. You can also use leather cleaner. Makeup remover is another way you can clean your bag.

It’s always important to test a small hidden patch first to ensure it does not damage your leather backpack.

Last, you need a leather conditioner to nourish the leather. Anytime, your leather gets wet, you want to condition it to prevent cracking. Leather gets stiff when wet, so the conditioning restores the leather’s pliability to prevent cracking damage.

Step 3: Spot-Test

We mentioned this above, but this is an important step. You need to find a hidden leather spot in your backpack. You want to make sure whatever cleaner you use won’t harm your leather bag. Most cleaning solutions should be fine, but some leathers are treated differently so you always need to check.

Test the small area with your cleaning solution and let it dry completely. If the bag does not look different or turn a different color, then it’s time to clean your entire backpack.

Step 4: Begin Cleaning

Dip your cloth in the cleaning solution and start cleaning your leather by using small circular motions. You may need to scrub some areas a little more to remove any tricky stains. Repeat this process until you clean the entire backpack.

Be sure you remove any excess soap and water. Then, let the backpack dry. Do not use any artificial dryer. Your backpack should dry naturally.

Step 5: Treat Your Leather

After the backpack is dry, use a clean cloth and massage in some leather conditioner. Leather is water-resistant and it is not waterproof so it can get damaged if the cloth fibers are exposed to water. The leather conditioner helps prevent this damage.

When you are not using your leather backpack, make sure you store it away from any moisture. It is also a good idea to store it in a dust bag to keep it clean.

How to Remove Leather Stains

If you have a stain, you should avoid applying any water right away. You may make the stain worse. If you have a stain, try following these steps first:

  1. Blot the stain with a dry cloth or tissue to absorb as much liquid as possible
  2. Then blot the stain with a damp cloth or t-shirt with warm water only
  3. Start at the outside of the stain and move in to stop the stain from spreading
  4. Then dab the stained area with a dry cloth to absorb leftover water or cleaner
  5. Let your bag dry in a warm room and do not apply heat directly to the stain because it can set the stain

If this process doesn’t work, there are a few other things to try. You should do the spot check again before applying these mixtures.

Cornstarch or Baking Soda

If you have an oil or grease stain, sprinkle cornstarch or baking soda on the stain. Then rub it gently with a damp cloth (not too wet). Then it should sit on the stain overnight to absorb the oil.

You can then wipe off the powder with a dry, soft cloth.

Rubbing Alcohol or Nail Polish Remover

If you have scuffs or ink stains, you can try rubbing alcohol or nail polish remover. Take a cotton swab and dip it in the rubbing alcohol or nail polish remover. Then lightly blot the stain.

Don’t rub it because the ink could spread. Keep blotting gently until the stain disappears. Then use a damp, clean cloth to wipe it off, and dry with a soft towel.

Lemon Juice and Cream of Tartar

You should only use this mixture on lighter leathers because these ingredients have a mild bleaching effect.

Take equal parts of both ingredients and turn them into a paste. Apply this paste to the stain and let it sit for about 30 minutes. Use a damp cloth to wipe off the paste.

Other Leather Care Tips

Finding the right backpack is only half the fun. There are other care tips you need to consider to make sure you keep your bag looking great.

You should never use baby wipes or vinegar to clean your leather. These products can dry out the leather.

If you get an ink mark, treat them right away. Don’t forget to condition the area after you do any spot cleaning.

Don’t use water on grease stains. Your best bet is to try to wipe it off right away. If you used hand cream, make sure you give it plenty of time to dry before touching your bag because you are just asking for a grease stain.

Avoid letting your bag sit in the sun. Find a dark area to store your bag because the sun’s rays can damage the leather and cause it to discolor.

If you use your bag every day, you should clean and condition it about every two to three months. If you don’t use it as often, you may be able to clean and condition it every six to nine months to protect your bag.

Looking for More Bags?

Now that you know about leather care, are you looking to expand your collection?  We have some great leather backpacks for both men and women at Backie Packie.

Check out some of our great new arrivals.

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