Can You Put A Leather Bag In The Washing Machine

Can You Put A Leather Bag In The Washing Machine? A Detailed Guide

Washing leather bags brings many myths about what to do and what not to do. With time, leather often gets dried out, loses moisture, becomes dirty, and even gets stains. And you get tempted to put your leather bags in the washer to get them cleaned. 

But can you put a leather bag in the washing machine? No, you can never put the leather bag in the washing machine. Leather, despite being considered one of the most rigid materials, agitation, excessive water exposure, and high temperature can ruin your bag. 

Whether you should put the leather purse in the washer is a multi-faceted discussion. To know more about why machine washing leather purses is a no-no and the alternatives to machine washing, stay tuned. 

Can You Machine Wash a Leather Bag? 

No, you can never wash a leather bag in the washing machine. Leather is too delicate to tolerate the agitation and heat of the washer. Moreover, washing leather bags in the machine requires prolonged exposure to water. 

Leather contains oil; In different stages of refining the raw leather material, oil and fat are widely used. These elements maintain the elasticity and shine of the leather material. So, when the leather gets wet, it absorbs the water, and the oil in it gets bound with the water molecule. 

Leather has a unique property of water absorption and desorption. It evaporates the water when it dries, and with water, the bound oil gets evaporated. This leaves the leather brittle. 

Why should you never put a leather bag in the washing machine? Washing machines can generate heat while spinning, and excessive heat exposure is unsuitable for leather material. Though leather can withstand short-term heat exposure up to 200°C, prolonged exposure can damage leather quality.

Repeated usage of detergents on the leather can lead to discoloration and hardening of the material. Also, Brands like Louis Vuitton and Kate Spade do not recommend washing their leather bags in the washer. 

How To Clean a Leather Bag? Apart from Machine Washing

There are mainly three other ways to clean a leather bag besides putting it into the washing machine. 

1. Hand Wash

Hand washing is considered one of the best and most effective ways to clean a leather bag. It lessens the water exposure time and agitation but gives an amazing result. To wash a leather bag, follow the steps below: 


  • Do a patch test. Apply the chosen detergent or soap solution on the most concealed part of the bag. Wait for a bit to see if any reaction or discoloration is happening. 
  • Do a color test as well. Take a white damp cloth and gently rub it on the bag’s surface. If you see any color bleeding or stains on the white color, you must not put that bag in the washer. It will discolor the bag. 

Step-by-step Guide

  • Step 1: Put distilled water in a tub. 
  • Step 2: Add any gentle soap/ castile soap/ leather cleaner to the water and mix it well. 
  • Step 3: Place the leather bag inside the tub and gently clean if there is any spot or stain. 
  • Step 4: After washing, take a lint-free cloth and wipe the bag off. 
  • Step 5: Hang it inside the room until it is scorched. Apply leather conditioner on the bag. 

[Caution: Never stretch the bag once washed, as it can deform the shape. Do not dry a leather bag in the sunlight, or never use a dryer, as these can lead to cracking the bag. ]

2. Spot Cleaning

Spot cleaning is effective when a small stain or spot is visible on the bag. Take a lint-free cloth and dampen it with leather cleaner or castile soap. Now, gently rub the place with the cloth and clean the stain. Wipe the moisture away with a dry cloth. 

3. Go for Professionals

So many professional leather cleaners who are skilled in removing stubborn spots from your leather bag are available. Professionals can significantly help clean your leather purse if you are new to handling leather goods. 

Related Questions

We have attached a few common FAQs on cleaning leather bags in the washer. 

How to maintain a leather bag?

Maintaining a leather bag requires some effort. You need to be careful about wetting the bag, as water can often leave marks on the leather. Do not expose it to prolonged heat or sunlight. Use leather protectants to extend the shelf life. Also, while storing, cover it with a laundry bag or case or mesh so that it does not get dirty often. 

How do you use vinegar for spot-cleaning of a leather bag?

Absolutely no. Vinegar has a high pH, which ultimately causes the leather fabric to dry out. Any home remedies are strictly prohibited when it comes to leather bag cleaning. Baby wipes, vinegar, harsh detergents, lemon juice, everything should be prevented. Instead, use mild and specialized leather products only. 

Can machine wash lead leather bags to shrink?

Yes, if washed with excessive water/ soaked for a long time/ dried with heat. While washing a leather bag, make sure you use minimal water. Never wash for too long and dry inside the room, away from the sunlight or extra heat. 


Machine Washing leather bags may seem very tempting, but it poses a lot of risks. Most of the renowned brands have prohibited machine washing the leather bags on their label. However, hand washing, spot cleaning, or even seeking professional help can be great for cleaning leather purses.

Excessive water/ heat/ detergent is a big no-no while washing leather bags. Hence, you must be careful and gentle while handling leather bags. Maintenance works as a great hack to minimize the washing; keep the bag in a case and dust regularly.

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