How to Clean a Leather Backpack?

How to Clean a Leather Backpack

Leather is durable and made to stand the test of time, but sometimes it will get dirty. It’s inevitable with a regular use, so you’ll want to know how to clean a leather backpack and to restore it to its former look and feel.

[Good Read: Taking Care of Leather]

Leather is a natural material, and yet it still takes a little bit of knowledge to know how to take care of it, and later, if needed, how to clean it. Every leather bag has to undergo the same cleaning process. After all, whether it’s a backpack, a purse or a briefcase has no actual difference, as long as it’s made from real genuine leather. So without further ado, let’s cover this 5-step cleaning process and put the question of how to clean a leather backpack to rest.

[Good Read: Can You Wash a Leather Backpack]

Step #1: Prepare Your Bag

This goes without saying. Empty your leather backpack, removing all items and wiping off the dust before cleaning. You will also want to remove any clasps or ornaments on your backpack that you do not want to clean.

Step #2: Gather Your Supplies

Before you start, you’ll want to gather the supplies you need. Grab a soft cloth, ideally a microfiber one as it will not scratch your leather. You can also use towels, flannels, or a t-shirt just as long as they are not abrasive.

Next, get your soap and water together. You can use dish soap, leather cleaner, or Marseille soap. You could even use a make-up remover or cleansing milk, but you’ll want to test it all on a small hidden patch to make sure it does not harm your leather backpack. If you want to use something homemade, this guide will guide you in the right direction.

Lastly, you’ll want to gather a leather conditioner. Anytime you wet your leather, you’ll want to treat it to prevent any cracking. Leather can become stiff after it’s been wet, and a leather conditioner can restore some of its flex and pliability to prevent damage.

[Our Product: Leather Care Balsam]

Step #3: Spot-Test Before Cleaning

Before you get started, it’s important to test a small hidden area on your leather backpack, as this will ensure you do not damage your bag. While most cleaning solutions should be fine with your leather backpack, some leather has been treated differently, especially those with finishes.

[You can learn more about full aniline and semi-aniline leather here and here]

So before you start cleaning your entire backpack, you will want to make sure your cleaning method and material work without damaging leather.

Then, mix the solution, test a small area and let it dry. If the bag does not become discolored or otherwise different than the original state, you can clean your entire leather backpack.

Step #4: Start Cleaning

Now that you know how your leather backpack will react to the cleaning solution, you can start to clean the bag’s entire surface area. Using warm water, add the soap and mix. Then, dip the cloth into the cleaning solution and start to clean your leather backpack using small circular motions. You may need to scrub certain areas that have tricky stains. Repeat until the entire leather backpack is clean.

If the interior of your backpack has a lining, please refer to our article “How to Clean the Inside of a Leather Purse“. This will ensure you do not end up destroying your lining, be it cotton or polyester.

Remove any excess soap and water and let the leather backpack dry. Now it’s very important not to use any kind of artificial dryer and instead let your backpack dry naturally. This will ensure that the leather that your backpack was made out of will not deteriorate.

[Good Read: How Long Does it Take for Leather to Dry]

Step #5: Treat Your Leather Backpack

After the leather backpack is dry, using a new, clean cloth, massage in the leather conditioner. As leather is water-resistant and not waterproof, it can sustain damage to the cloth fibers when repeatedly exposed to water. A leather conditioner will help prevent that damage, which would lead to cracks and weakness in your leather backpack. Let it dry completely before you use it.

When not in use, make sure to store your leather backpack in a dry room away from any moisture. Best if you kept it in the dust bag that every leather product comes with.


Still wondering how to clean a leather backpack? We didn’t think so. As you can see it’s a very simple and straight-forward process. However, it’s best if the steps above are followed in the same exact order and with delicate care. This knowledge can be passed to other leather accessories, shoes and furniture.

While you are here, don’t leave without checking out our collection of leather backpacks. They are made from genuine Italian leather and have been proved to be loveable, durable and overall excellent companions to many.

And if you liked the article, please follow us on Facebook to support our cause in teaching the people like you how to take care of leather.

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