Essential Guide on How to Clean, Condition and Care for your Leather Backpack

“This simple guide will focus on leather care for your leather backpack. Hopefully, this guide will help you learn how to take good care of your most precious bag!” – BBB Team


Leather is one of the toughest materials used for bags. They are one of the most enduring materials and were used by man since time immemorial. Because of this, leather is expensive. Premium quality leather bags are costly and may even too much for some. But with proper care, your leather backpack can last a very long time.

Leather is leather whether you own a backpack, accessory, shoes or any other leather item. The most important thing is to know how to take care and maintain it. Leather goods are investments that have the capacity to be tough and durable with proper treatment and attention. No matter how old your leather item is, it will be as good as new by following the three C’s: Clean, Condition, and Care.

Premium leather backpacks is a work of art. It is a result of a difficult and long process that is art in itself. Thus, leather backpacks and other leather products should be treated with utmost care and protection. Since the discovery of leather, using it as material for bags was second nature. Up until present, leather is still used and ever more loved by both men and women particularly those who value style, durability and class.

It is true that leather is an organic artifact, and despite how glamorous and beautiful your leather goods are, they will become dull and dry without proper care and maintenance. In order to enjoy your leather items for a very long time, understanding and learning how to take care of them is crucial.

The normal wear and tear process affects leather as well. With daily use, leather backpacks can become dirty. If you consider your leather bag as an investment, you will want to learn to take care of it. Leather backpack cleaning and conditioning takes time and effort, but the results are priceless.

With regard to leather care, there are two main principles: development of character as it ages and maintain it looking brand new. Think of leather as women. It has different types and characters, which of course, need varied techniques and methods of maintenance and care. Before you start, you should know what kind of leather you are handling and dealing with. Then, mastering how to clean, condition and store your leather backpack is the next step.


Common Leather Concerns

Leather business backpacks are one of the most widely sellable bags in the luggage industry. Why? With leather business backpacks, you will enjoy comfort, convenience, functionality, style and class in just one bag. That’s why! But with leather backpacks, thorough, careful, and sometimes meticulous care and attention should be advocated. Regular cleaning and conditioning will not just help your leather look brand new, it will also prolong the lifetime of the leather.

Here are the most common and general issues in owning leather items:

Leather stains

  • Not even the toughest leather is immune to stains. If you own a vintage leather item, you need not live with its century old stains. Believe it or not, leather stains can come out easily with the help of a little water and soap. Even oil, wax and blood can be removed!

Leather Cracks

  • Accidental leather damage is not uncommon. Leather is not resistant to wear. Hence, creases, cracks, scuffs, rubbing wear and scratches might appear over time. Let us focus on leather cracks. Leather that is cracking is the next most common issue when it comes to leather. Leather cracks usually appear when its oils have been taken out after a prolonged exposure to the sun’s rays or perhaps direct heat. As a result, the leather will lose flexibility. Another cause for leather cracking is build-up of dirt as well as body oil. The leather cracks will form after the build-up becomes more and more over daily use until it breaks down the top coating or dye of the leather material. In effect, leather cracks will come out on its surface. However, preventive measures are easy and hassle-free. Just know that you shouldn’t let your leather item be dried in the sun or exposed too long in direct heat. The heat will automatically make your leather stiff and crack. Next, learning how to clean and condition is a must to prevent dirt and oil build-up.

Mold Growth

  • Since leather is organic, it is prone to mold growth. Did you know that leather is naturally a mold-friendly material? Thus, mold growth is also one of the most common problems found in leather items. The best thing to do is to make sure that you hinder the growth of molds in your leather items. You can prevent mold growth by cleaning, proper storage, and applying a chemical coating to inhibit mildew.


Here is a simple guide to help care and maintain your leather item be it a leather bag, leather belt, or even leather shoes! By following these steps regularly, you will be able to avoid the most common leather issues stated above.


  1. Get to know your leather.

Before anything, it is vital that you know the leather you are dealing with. Always remember to check the tags as well as manufacturer’s suggestions and recommendations with regard to cleaning the item.

Here are the commonly used leather types:

  • Sheepskin – is a more developed lambskin which is thicker and more durable, thus, is more expensive.
  • Cowhide – is among the toughest types of leather material and is commonly used for boots, gear and shoes.
  • Lambskin – is a soft leather material mostly used to make pants, jackets and other apparel.
  • Water buffalo – is not as tough as cowhide but is more affordable because of its abundant supply.


Leather is basically animal hide or skin. The skin is then subjected to a chemical process such as tanning in order to preserve it. One of the most commonly used most especially for bags is a tanned cow’s hide. There are many classification of leather apart from which animal it comes from. There is full-grain or top-grain leather which is taken from the upper part of the skin. The leather from the lower portion of the hide is called split leather. Also, the processes that leather undergoes such as coating and dying divides leather into unfinished and finished leather.

Here are the principal determinants in leather quality:

  • Type of leather
  • Tanning process
  • Animal’s condition
  • Portion of hide utilized
  • Item construction


  1. Cleaning the Leather

I will repeat this and will most likely repeat this several times: Always check for the manufacturer’s instructions and recommendations for cleaning, maintenance and storage. This is the golden rule in order to make sure your leather item will last for a long time. If you want to use a new product, make sure to start by applying it on a small and discreet area. You will never know if your leather item will have a reaction to the product.

Cleaning tips:

  • The main objective in cleaning leather items is quite simple: eliminate dirt accumulation using a cleaning agent made especially for the leather item. This means that the best way to clean your leather item is by using the suggested cleaning agents and equipment by the manufacturer. Most labels also have their internal leather care kit or if not, they usually team up with an outside leather care brand. So after purchasing your item, it would be best to ask for tips and recommendations in terms of cleaning and conditioning.
  • Hardware is oftentimes present in leather items such as metal locks, chains and buckles. It would be wise to also ask the boutique personnel how to clean and condition.
  • Clean your bag using a soft dry cloth every other day. This will just take a few minutes but will go a long way in preserving and maintaining your leather item.

An important thing to note down is that finished and unfinished leather are cleaned differently. When it comes to cleaning finished leather, you only need to wipe it with a soft damp cloth. Since water can harm leather, make sure the cloth is not wet but damp. In cases where the leather has hard to remove dirt or marks, utilize a leather cleaner made for the product. Remember that leather cleaners made for car seats and upholstery are harsher than those for bags. The leather cleaning agent should be balanced so that there will be no reaction. Never use alcohol or baby wipes as well as greasy cleaning agent since these could clog the pores of the leather.

When it comes to unfinished leather, the process is more difficult. This is because it does not have a coating that makes it more stain resistant. Generally, you can clean it with a soft, dry cloth. A white cloth should be used to prevent staining or color transfer. It is vital not to dampen the leather. You can brush the bag but do not brush too hard so as not to destroy the leather.


  1. Fixing Scuffs

If your leather item acquires scuffs, fear not, there is a way around that. Small scuffs can be easily buffed using the natural oils of the leather. Just gently rub the scuff using your fingers. You can also make use of leather lotions to remove scuffs too. All you need is a soft, clean and dry cloth then put a small volume of cleaning leather lotion onto the leather. Make sure that it is even so that the section will have a uniformed look. After it is dry, you can lightly buff out the leather using the cloth.


  1. Conditioning the Leather

Why do you need to condition your leather item periodically? Think of conditioning as moisturizing. Conditioning is the moisturizer for your leather so that it will not, through time and use, dry out.

Conditioning Tips:

  • In order to prevent wrinkling or flaking, put a small amount of leather conditioning. agent onto a soft cloth and lightly rub it all over the leather item.
  • You can also try to make us of neatsfoot or mink oil. These stimulate as well as complement the natural oils of the leather. Leave it for about ten minutes before wiping off the excess. Lastly, dry it in an airy room.
  • It is recommended to condition your leather item every month so that your leather item will maintain its best appearance.


  1. Waterproofing the Leather

Due to the fact that leather is naturally permeable, it is understood that it can never be completely waterproofed. So during a bad weather, it is safe not to use your leather bag. Nevertheless, as a shield against water, you can make use of beeswax creams.

Waterproofing tips:

  • Using beeswax cream may change the shade of the leather. Make sure that you test it first on a small discreet part.
  • You can make use of a spray protectant that is technically invisible and is more breathable for your leather. However, it is less effective.


  1. Chemicals to Avoid

In order to protect and maintain your leather, it is crucial that you are aware of substances or chemicals that might harm or cause damage to it.

Here are a few that are proven to be harmful to leather:

  • When going to the pool for a dip, it is best to leave your leather items at home. Not only is it prone to water damage, chlorine is very harmful to leather. When cleaning leather, it is best to always use distilled water because the water straight from the tap may comprise chlorine and other chemicals.
  • During your salon visits, it is advisable not to bring your leather item. The products used for the hair can severely damage leather.


  1. Storing the Leather

Knowing how to store your leather especially leather backpacks is important to extend the lifetime of your leather item. Here are a few tips:

  • During storage, always keep the dust bag that came along when you bought it. If you lost it already, you can make use of a soft cotton pillowcase. Never wrap it in plastic since you need ventilation so that mold will not grow.
  • Fill the bag with stuffing to maintain its shape. Do not use newspaper because it might smear. You can make use of butter paper or bubble wrap. Using bubble wrap also lessens the possibility of insect activity since some insects eat paper material.
  • Never overfill your leather bag with stuffing. When you do so, it might lose its shape since leather is stretchable.
  • Wrap the hardware such as buckles in acid-free tissue paper.
  • Place the silica gel packets (that came along with it) inside the bag. This works to lessen moisture in the bag.
  • Let your bag breathe. Air it at least once in two weeks to prevent mold growth.
  • It is vital to rotate your leather items because every day wear and tear can speed up its lifetime.


  1. Additional Tips and Advices

Here is a list of common cleaning agents and materials you might need:

  • Soft clean white cloths
  • Soft brush
  • Leather conditioner
  • Leather cleaner
  • Leather finish

You can purchase great leather cleaning agents and conditioners on Amazon and other specialty stores. Leather cleaner can also be bought from shoe stores and even sporting goods shops. Just make sure that the cleaner or conditioner you will use will not take out the natural oils of leather. It should not leave any residue because this increases the chances of mold growth.


Additional information:

  • Leather conditioners should be able to pierce through tough fibers.
  • Using mink oil or any animal fat product can darken leather.
  • Using animal fat can also become a rotting agent therefore causing the leather and its stiches to decompose.
  • When cleaning your bag, do not use household products or anything that has alcohol.
  • When preserving patina, it is normal for the leather to naturally pigment from light exposure. Always protect it against oil because it will cause staining.



Leather backpacks and other leather items are important investments that require our care and attention. Leather is elegant, beautiful and will always be in-style. However, without proper maintenance and protection, its luster and beauty can be dulled and marred by grime, dirt and abuse. Leather is durable and lasting but with proper attention and care. By understanding and knowing how to take care for your leather, its lifetime will be greatly extended and you will enjoy it for a very long time. Its care might be tedious for some; however, the effects are long-lasting.  Owning a leather item require patience and responsibility. But in the end, we are the ones benefitting.

Leather backpacks will always be a must-have in our closet. As a businessman, using a leather backpack has worked wonders for me not just style-wise but also in versatility and in the end, leather and its durability was cost-effective. If you are interested to purchase high quality leather business bags, take time to check our reviews. I’m sure you will find one that will definitely suit your personality and lifestyle!