Leather Purses and Handbags – Care and Quality

Leather purses and bagsI bought my first leather purse in 1977. Wow, that’s a long time ago, with a lot of “life” happening since then. Much of which I don’t remember, or care to remember anyway. But I do remember that purse. It was a dark burgundy colored leather purse (Italian), and it cost me a fortune. I think I paid around $100, and in 1977 that was a fortune, for me anyway. However, when you consider buying leather purses and/or handbags, the consideration of quality should (to some extent) override the price.

After 15 years of good use, I reluctantly admitted that it was time to let go of my favorite purse. But, all things considered, that was a pretty good deal for the $100 or so that I spent. Some things are definitely worth the money.

Quality Over Price

There are some items worth buying where price should take the back seat to quality. However, that does not mean you have to pay $18,000 for a handbag made from box calf leather. Well, unless you want a Hermes purse, then you have to pay that. Luckily, there are lots of choices out there for those of us not willing to take out a second mortgage to buy a purse.

When I want something to last for more than a season, I tend to go for quality, makes sense, right? I carry a lot of paperwork, and sometimes books, for work on a daily basis. As a result, I look for bags that I know will last awhile. Last year I bought a leather bag big enough to hold my computer, paperwork, and books. Although I paid a little more than I usually would, the quality of the bag tells me it will last for years. So, for that reason, it was worth every penny.

Price over Quality

Price is subjective, just like quality is subjective. It comes down to what you are buying – quality or price? And, somewhere in the middle, there are great options. My philosophy on this is simple. The more frequently I buy an item, the less quality matters. For example, I like to have lots of options when it comes to T-shirts, which means I buy them frequently. I pay anywhere from $5 – $15 per shirt. To me, that’s reasonable enough and affords me to buy the T-shirts I want. To you, that amount (or idea) might not make sense at all, and your price point might be higher or lower. Just remember, as long as it works for you, that’s all that matters.

Caring for your Leather

As with anything you might want to keep looking nice for a long time, it needs some TLC (tender love and care). Leather products are no different. Cleaning your leather bag, shoes, jackets or what have you, on a regular basis will continue to improve the leather and keep it looking great for years.

The following cleaning solutions and suggestions can be used on most leather. However, you might want to test it on a small inconspicuous spot before using it on the entire product.

Warning: Never leave your leather product in direct sunlight to dry.

Cleaning Solutions

  • Keeping leather soft and strong:
    • In a jar with a lid, mix 1 part white vinegar and 2-parts linseed oil. Tighten the lid and mix well.
    • Dip a dry soft, clean cloth in the solution and apply to leather and let sit for about 5 minutes.
    • Using a soft dry cloth, wipe/buff off the solution.

How frequently leather products requires cleaning depends on how often you use them. But, moisturizing (softening) the leather should be done at least once or twice a year. Leather dries out if not used and not cared for, no matter how well it’s made.

If you don’t care to make your own leather moisturizer, you can use other products such as the “Leather CPR” which is a cleaning and conditioning product specifically made for leather, and comes highly recommended. It’s available at Home Depot and many other online stores.

  • Removing water stains from leather:
    • Use a damp sponge or soft cloth and re-moisten the leather over the water stain and let dry. If that does not remove the stain, you can use a rolled-up slice of bread (yep, bread). Roll the bread back and forth over the water stain. It’s a little messy, but nothing that a vacuum cleaner can’t handle.
  • Removing road salt from leather:
    • Mix 1 part water and 1 part white vinegar. Dip a clean, dry cloth into the solution and blot (don’t rub) over the spotted areas. Several applications might be needed.
  • Removing Ink marks from leather:
    • Add a few drops of a non-oily instant cuticle remover (NOT nail polish remover) over the ink stain. Let it sit for a minute or so.
    • Wipe off with a soft dry cloth. If the stain does not come out, you can repeat and let it sit overnight.

Caring is Sharing

“Caring is Sharing” is true for many things. So, share your care with your leather products and get cleaning. Oh, and of course, if you find this article useful please feel free to share it as well.

There are many options for buying leather purses and handbags. There’s Amazon if online is your thing. If you prefer the “hands-on” option, I suggest you check out Marshall’s, JC-Penny, Burlington, Target, and TJ Max. I have found some great purses at these stores. Granted, it sometimes requires some looking around. However, if you know what you’re looking for, it will be worth the “hunt,” right?

I go on vacation once a year (more or less) and every time I do I have the need to buy a new purse or bag. Not sure how that started, but now it’s a habit so why stop? If you have a suggestion, or comment, on where to look for something “summery” I would love to hear from you.

Happy shopping, and thanks for reading.




  1. Hi Scandi,

    This is a great article about choosing and caring for your favourite leather products. Personally, it depends on what I am buying when I choose quality over price. There are things that you are willing to pay more as long as you know that the product would last for a long time.

    Till now I really do not have an idea about moisturizing your leather. I just thought before that it was just a normal wear and tear when my leather bags and shoes become dry until they started to peel off.

    Thanks for sharing this information!


    • Hi Joyce,
      Glad to hear you learned something new about taking care of leather.
      Thanks for reading my article.


  2. Enjoyed looking over your website and reading your articles. Your website is laid out well and you do a great job discussing the topics you write about. I’ve learned a lot about taking care of leather products. Your articles are very informative and very creative. Thanks and you have done a great job!

    • Thank you Danny,
      I’m still learning how to expand out the website and hope you come back from time to time to check it out.


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