Can You Wash Leather Bag in Washing Machine?



Can You Wash Leather Bag in Washing Machine

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No, leather bags should not be washed in a washing machine. However, some sources suggest that it is possible under certain conditions. If you choose to proceed, exercise caution and follow specific guidelines.

Leather bags are not just functional accessories; they’re often prized possessions, treasured for their durability and timeless elegance. However, over time, these bags can accumulate dirt, stains, and odors, leading many to wonder if they can be tossed into the washing machine for a quick clean.

In this article, we’ll explore whether washing a leather bag in a washing machine is a good idea, along with alternative cleaning methods and important dos and don’ts to keep your leather bag looking its best.

Dos and Don’ts of Wash Leather Bag in Washing Machine


  • Check the Leather Type: Before attempting any cleaning method, identify the type of leather your bag is made from. Full-grain, top-grain, and genuine leather may react differently to cleaning processes, so knowing the type is crucial.
  • Use a Gentle Detergent: If you decide to wash your leather bag in a machine, choose a mild, leather-friendly detergent. Avoid harsh chemicals or bleach, as they can damage the leather.
  • Select a Gentle Wash Cycle: Opt for a delicate or hand wash cycle with cold water. Aggressive cycles can cause excessive friction and damage the bag.
  • Use a Pillowcase or Laundry Bag: To protect your leather bag from direct contact with the washing machine drum, place it inside a pillowcase or a laundry bag. This extra layer helps prevent scratches and scuffs.
  • Air Dry Only: After the washing machine cycle is complete, do not use a dryer. Instead, let your leather bag air dry naturally. Avoid direct sunlight and high heat, as they can cause the leather to crack or fade.


  • Hot Water: Never use hot water, as it can shrink or distort the leather. Stick to cold water when washing.
  • Excessive Agitation: Avoid vigorous washing machine cycles, as they can cause the leather to lose its shape or develop creases.
  • Wringing or Twisting: Do not wring or twist your leather bag to remove excess water. Gently pat it with a clean towel to absorb moisture.
  • Direct Sunlight: Keep your leather bag away from direct sunlight during drying, as UV rays can damage and fade the leather.
  • Using Harsh Cleaning Products: Steer clear of abrasive cleaners or chemicals not specifically designed for leather care. They can strip away natural oils, leading to dryness and cracking.

Best Ways to Wash a Leather Bag: Step by Step

Step 1

Gather Your Supplies: You’ll need a soft, lint-free cloth, mild leather cleaner or soap, a leather conditioner, and a small bowl of lukewarm water.

Step 2

Test a Small Area: Before cleaning the entire bag, test the cleaner or soap on an inconspicuous area to ensure it doesn’t damage the leather or alter its color.

Step 3

Dampen the Cloth: Dampen the cloth with the lukewarm water and wring it out so that it’s only slightly moist, not soaking wet.

Step 4

Clean Gently: Gently wipe the entire surface of the bag with the damp cloth, focusing on any stained or soiled areas. Avoid excessive rubbing, and be careful not to oversaturate the leather.

Step 5

Apply Leather Cleaner: If your bag is particularly dirty, you can dilute a small amount of mild leather cleaner or soap in lukewarm water and use a clean cloth to gently clean the bag.

Step 6

Dry Thoroughly: After cleaning, allow the bag to air dry at room temperature. Do not use a hairdryer or place it near a direct heat source.

Step 7

Condition: Once the bag is completely dry, apply a leather conditioner according to the product’s instructions. This will help replenish the leather’s natural oils and maintain its softness.

Step 8

Storage: When not in use, store your leather bag in a cool, dry place, away from direct sunlight and extreme temperatures. Use a dust bag or a breathable fabric cover to protect it.

Alternative Washing Methods For Leather Bag:

While washing machines may not be the best option for cleaning leather bags, there are alternative methods that are safer and more suitable:

  • Hand Cleaning: The most recommended method is to clean your leather bag by hand using a soft, damp cloth and a leather cleaner. Gently wipe away dirt and stains, then follow up with a leather conditioner to keep the leather hydrated.
  • Spot Cleaning: For minor stains or spills, spot cleaning is effective. Dampen a clean cloth, add a small amount of leather cleaner, and gently rub the stained area. Wipe away excess moisture with a dry cloth.
  • Professional Cleaning: If your leather bag has stubborn stains or requires a deep clean, consider taking it to a professional leather cleaner. They have the expertise and specialized products to ensure your bag is treated with care.
  • Protective Measures: To prevent dirt and stains, consider using a leather protector or waterproof spray on your bag. These products create a barrier that makes it easier to clean surface dirt.


Can I use regular detergent to wash my leather bag in the washing machine?

Answer: No, it’s recommended to use a mild detergent specifically designed for leather or delicates to avoid damaging the leather.

Is it safe to dry my leather bag in the sun after washing it?

Answer: No, direct sunlight can cause leather to fade and become brittle. It’s best to air dry your bag in a cool, shaded area.

How often should I clean my leather bag?

Answer: The frequency of cleaning depends on usage. For regular maintenance, wipe your bag with a soft cloth and use a leather conditioner every few months. Deep cleaning can be done as needed.

Can I use baby wipes to clean my leather bag?

Answer: It’s not recommended, as baby wipes may contain chemicals that are too harsh for leather. Stick to leather-specific cleaning products for best results.

What should I do if my leather bag gets wet in the rain?

Answer: If your leather bag gets wet, gently pat it dry with a clean towel and allow it to air dry naturally. Do not use heat sources like a hairdryer, as they can damage the leather.

Final Words:

While it is possible to wash a leather bag in a washing machine under specific conditions, it’s not the ideal method for cleaning leather. The risks of damage, color fading, and distortion outweigh the convenience. Instead, opt for safer alternatives such as hand cleaning, spot cleaning, or professional leather cleaning services. Always prioritize the care and maintenance of your leather bag to ensure its longevity and continued beauty. By following the dos and don’ts outlined in this article, you can keep your leather bag looking pristine for years to come.

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