A couple of months ago, I sold a gorgeous suede skirt through my store and the buyer sent me an email letting me know that, because she is allergic to perfumes, she washes EVERYTHING even her suede and leather skirts. WHAT? How can that be? Everyone knows that you have to go the dry cleaner to get those skins cleaned!
Well, Kris (the buyer) was kind enough to elaborate on how she launders her leather.
I always just use Murphy's Oil Soap. If you haven't used it before, you can usually find it at
Walmart and at hardware stores. Some grocery stores carry it. My skirt is in the washer
right now. I just use a couple of tablespoons or so. Then I throw most things in the dryer and
iron them if necessary.
I couldn't believe it could be that easy, but really wanted to give it a try. I have 3 Coach purses that have absolutely taken a beating and looked pretty bad. Spots, coffee spills, and a stain of unknown origin on the smallest one that was actually thrifted. I had tried everything, leather cleaner, polish and they still looked REALLY bad. Furthermore, NOTHING could take that spot out of the the small Coach satchel.
Having nothing to lose, my purses being unusable, I started with my bright pink leather Coach purse. I figured I couldn't make the bag look worse than it already did. (I want to insert here that the older Coach handbags hold up much nicer than the newer ones, in my opinion. I even purchased the Coach leather cleaner and it didn't help my pink bag that I purchased new for almost $300!)
I took it out while the leather was still damp and hung the bag on the back of a chair. It air dried the rest of the way.
I can't tell you my surprise when I took the purse out and not only was it unharmed, but what an improvement!!! So then I decided to do the next two together since they're both brown.
This brown Coach bag was already pretty worn when I received it as a very generous hand me down from a friend. And that's cool, because in my opinion, good leather just gets better the more it's used. But it's the stains, water spots and fading that I just can't deal with.
This is the one I thrifted and can you see that? Big greasy stain is nowhere to be seen!
The Final Step
My husband made a suggestion that turned out to be the crowning touch to the whole experiment. He suggested that I saturate the bags in furniture polish (I always use furniture polish to clean a leather chair and ottoman that we have in our living room), and let it soak in. Again, I was a bit apprehensive expecting all kinds of spots, but I covered the entire bag with the polish, rubbed in as much as I could and let just let it all soak in.
Worked like a charm! Now it feels like I have 3 new bags!! I have yet to try this with my suede and leather skirts, but I have a small suede skirt that I thrifted just for the leather to use in a project. I'm thinking this will be my experimental skirt. I'll let you know how it turns out!
- Totally clean out contents of your bag
- Set washer to gentle cycle, pour in about 1/4 cup of Murphy's Oil Soap (amount depends on size of bag).
- Drop bag in, close lid and go have a drink to calm your nerves!
- When washing is completed, remove bag and place in dryer along with a few other fluffy items that you don't have to worry about any fading.
- Set dryer to the gentlest setting and keep checking about every 10 minutes, JUST until the fabric lining dries. If there's no lining, just eye ball your bag and take it out when the leather is still damp but not soaked.
- Reshape if needed and hang to dry.
- When your bag is completely dry, spray the entire bag with a good furniture polish (Pledge?) and gently rub in all over.
- Once again, hang to dry to allow the polish to set in.
*Disclaimer: This worked for me, but I can't guarantee these results for everyone who may try this. Please launder your leather at your own risk. Start out with something that is pretty much unusable to begin with.
And speaking of leather, I've got some leather goodies in my store right now! Be sure to check out the leather cross body bag that I just found! It's like BUDDAH!