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If your leather bag is at your side day to day, you’ll more than likely find at least a small stain on it at some point. Nobody wants a stained leather bag, so we’ve rounded up some tips for removing various types of stains. Remember - always test any of these suggestions on a small, inconspicuous area of your bag first.
Do not apply water to grease stains. Wipe grease off the surface of your leather bag with a clean, dry cloth. If this fails to remove the stain, sprinkle a generous amount of cornstarch onto the grease spot and pat it in. Let it sit overnight, which allows the cornstarch time to absorb the oil/grease. Gently brush off the cornstarch using a soft-bristled brush.
Address ink stains as soon as possible. Mix one part rubbing alcohol with one part lukewarm water. Dip a cotton swab into the rubbing alcohol/water mixture and rub it over the ink stain using a circular motion. Allow leather to dry. Apply leather conditioner. If the rubbing alcohol mix doesn’t work, you’ll need to purchase a leather ink stain remover.
Dark stains from things like food or blood can be addressed with a homemade paste of one part cream of tartar to one part lemon juice. Apply the paste to the stain and let it sit for ten minutes. Remove the paste with a damp cloth. If residue remains, add some mild soap to the damp cloth and wipe down the area again. Allow leather to dry. Apply leather conditioner.
As a reminder, always treat stains as soon as possible. And we cannot re-state it enough: always spot test. Every time. If your spot test doesn’t give you a safe result, or if you’re dealing with a large or particularly difficult stain, it will be worth your time and money to take your bag to a professional leather cleaner.