How To Clean A Leather Backpack (4 Easy & Effective Steps)

If you are looking for a bag that combines style, practicality, and longevity in a single item, then a quality leather backpack could be the solution to your problem.  

However, if you invest in leather, don't forget that leather backpacks need plenty of care and attention to keep them looking great and ensure that your investment stands the test of time.  

Read on to discover how to clean leather backpack to keep them looking and feeling as good as the day you purchased them, and maintain your stylish new backpack for the long term. 

Leather Backpacks (Overview & Can They Be Washed?)

One of the primary concerns many shoppers have with purchasing a leather backpack is longevity and resilience - everybody wants to invest in something that will last.  

Leather is a great option for this; it boasts a number of properties that make it a suitable material for backpacks and will ensure that your investment is a smart one. 

Some of the top benefits include: 

  • Durable And Long-Lasting 
    Leather has a reputation for being tough, and a leather backpack can be used day after day for many years without worrying about tears or breakages. This also means that spending a little more on your initial purchase is worth it. 
  • Water Resistant And Breathable 
    Leather is a natural material, and so can handle a little exposure to water without starting to discolor or grow mold. So while we would not advocate dumping your backpack in a pond - most leather backpacks are not totally waterproof - you can survive a rainstorm without worrying that things are starting to grow just out of sight. 
  • Washable 
    You can keep a leather backpack in tip-top condition by wiping it over regularly with a damp cloth and allowing it to air dry. Some specialist leather cleaners may also be suitable, but always check the label and do a patch test if possible. 
person sitting on a bench with a leather backpack and laptop

Leather Cleaner Vs Conditioner: Which Is Better For Your Backpack?

Worried about how to clean your leather backpack? There are two key items to note: leather cleaner and leather conditioner.  

In the simplest terms, leather cleaner is what you will use to remove unwanted grime, dirt, and grease from a leather product, while a leather conditioner restores the natural oils, leaving the material smooth, supple, and less prone to cracking or splitting - these can be issues if your leather becomes old and hard. 

As a rule, a leather cleaner will be enough for most backpacks, but if you have spent a lot of money or invested in particularly high-quality leather, it may be worth checking out the best leather conditioner to keep your bag looking and feeling new. 

How To Clean Leather Backpack At Home: 4 Easy Steps

To keep your leather backpack looking, smelling, and feeling as good as the day you got it, you will need to make sure that you clean it regularly - this should be roughly every few months or when you notice that your backpack is particularly grimy or dirty. Be careful not to overclean your bag, as this can weaken the material and shorten the lifespan. You can follow our tips to increase the lifespan of your backpack.

What You'll Need: 

How To Do It (Step-By-Step Guide)

  1. 1
    Use the brush to eliminate any loose debris or dirt - pay close attention to the seams, the inside, and the bottom of the bag, as these are most likely to pick up crumbs. 
  2. 2
    Apply the leather cleaner to a soft cloth and gently wipe off any excess dirt - check the label for your product before you get started. 
  3. 3
    If desired, add a leather conditioner to the cloth, and gently rub over the surface using small circles. Make sure you pick a conditioner that is suitable for backpacks. 
  4. 4
    Allow your backpack to air dry completely for at least 24 hours. 
leather backpack with flower in it

How To Clean Your Jansport Leather Backpack

Jansport backpacks are a particularly popular model, with many fans opting for their suede leather option. This is a material that is notorious for being tricky to wash, but you can still maintain Jansport backpacks in the same way as regular leather to keep them looking their best. Wherever possible, you should handwash your bag and then follow a few simple steps:

  1. 1
    Using a Jansport stain remover, eliminate any stains on your bag by spraying the cleaner onto a wet cloth, scrubbing the stain, and wiping away any excess moisture. Pat the spot dry using a dry towel. 
  2. 2
    Take cold water and a mild detergent, and wipe the inside and outside of the bag with a damp cloth. Try and avoid the main areas or suede. 
  3. 3
    Use a fresh, damp cloth to rinse the backpack - do not use detergent this time. 
  4. 4
    Use a dry towel to wipe any excess moisture, and then allow the backpack to air dry. 

Effective Ways To Prolong The Life Of Leather Backpacks 

So once you have invested in your new leather backpack, just how do you keep it looking and feeling good as new? 

Proper Cleaning And Maintenanc

As we have mentioned, it is important to clean your backpack on a regular basis and not allow any stains to set - this makes them harder to remove and can damage the material.

Instead, address any stains as soon as you spot them, and get into the habit of giving your backpack a clean whenever you notice that it needs it. 

Correct Storage And Handling 

When you are using your backpack, take care not to drag or lift it by the straps - this causes wear and damage and could cause your backpack to break or snap. You should also make sure that your backpack is stored correctly when not in use, and kept in a dry, dark place - once again, do not hang it by its straps. 

People Also Ask (FAQs)

How long does a leather backpack last? 

Ultimately, a leather backpack will last as long as you are willing to take good care of it. With regular cleaning, proper storage, and careful, mindful handling, a quality leather backpack should last for many years. 

What household items can I use to clean leather? 

If you are reluctant to use leather cleaner, you can also restore your backpack to its full glory using a few drops of baby shampoo on a stain, and use water to gently rub and lift the stain. The gentle nature of baby shampoo means that it should not damage your backpack. 

Does vinegar ruin leather? 

In most cases, it is a good idea to avoid using vinegar to clean leather - while it is a powerful cleaning agent, it can cause leather items to become dry and cracked over time. If you do decide to use vinegar, make sure it is well diluted, and follow up with a good leather conditioner. 

Is baking soda safe to use on leather?  

In most cases, baking soda should be safe to use on leather and can be especially useful for removing unwanted stains and odors. You must always remember to wipe off any residue with a damp cloth, however, or risk a stain. 


If you are looking for a sturdy, hardwearing backpack, which is guaranteed to stand the test of time, then a leather backpack could be the perfect solution.

Learning how to clean a backpack with leather sections will help to ensure that your backpack looks and feels its very best for many years to come and means that your initial investment will offer excellent value for money. 

  • January 12, 2022