Caring for Leather Jackets and BagsGuest Article: Cleaning Unfinished Leather Bags by Barbara and Gary of


Here’s a quicktip article from our friends

Barbara and Gary Crouthamel of



  1. Do NOT use hand creams or lotions on your leather. Even though these are great for your skin, they contain mineral oils and waxes that are not compatible with leather. You may get a darkening effect that you desire, but it will attract dirt and soil. Oils except for sulfanated oils will cause leather to rot over time.
  2. Do NOT use lanoline leather creams/conditioners – the lanolin oil rots leather and makes restoration virtually impossible.
  3. Do not use Saddle Soap under any circumstance!! Too harsh for handbag leathers – pH over 10 which causes pH damage to leather over time.
  4. Do NOT use baby wipes, or any other wipes on this type of leather as it may stain.
  5. If you get oil on your handbag, put corn starch on it immediately. Rub it in to absorb the oil. Use a light source to create heat for faster absorption of the oil into the cornstarch. Brush off with a soft toothbrush or cloth.
  6. For ink stains and other dirt, use a white eraser and erase the spot (do not use too much pressure – and check to see if the color is coming off). Usually if you get the ink right away you can remove all of it. Ink migrates into the leather fibers so once it is set, you need professional care.
  7. For water stains, there is really no at home solutions unfortunately. However it can be fixed by a professional leather technician. Use a protection-treatment on your handbag as soon as you get it. There are a few available: 3M based products can work if you are looking for a spray on option (this option wears off fairly quickly and must be reapplied regularly); Lovin My BagsPro-treatment is formulated as a rub on and protect from OIL and Water.
  8. Do NOT use any leather cleaners created for car leather or furniture leather on your unfinished leather bags as they may stain and usually are soap based making them too high on the pH scale.


Here is a Celine bag refinished by Gary. The handles were black with soil and dye transfer