Leather dark blue female bag image by terex from Fotolia.com

Patent leather purses feature classic style and brilliant shine. If your patent leather handbag has lost its vibrant glow, you will need to follow precise cleaning steps to brighten your bag and remove spots. If you want to pamper patent leather between professional cleanings, basic household products and an old white T-shirt will protect your leather from scuffs, dryness and cracking.

Clean your patent leather purse with soap and water. Mix one part mild liquid detergent with four parts cold water. Apply the soapy solution to the patent leather with a cotton baby diaper or old rag. Pat dry with a clean rag.

Apply nail polish remover to rid your patent bag of black scuffs. Soak a cotton ball in acetone-free remover. Press the cotton ball firmly against each scuff mark. Dip the clean end of a T-shirt in cold water and remove the polish remover. Place the bag in a well-ventilated drying area for a minimum of 24 hours.

Use rubbing alcohol to remove ink stains and pen marks. Mix two parts alcohol with one part water. Apply this solution to the purse using a cotton ball. Saturate the pen mark by pressing the cotton to the patent leather firmly. Wait seven to 10 minutes. Using an old T-shirt, wipe the leather to remove any traces of the ink stain.

Add shine with a vinegar and water solution. Mix 3 to 4 tbsp. of vinegar with a half cup of lukewarm water. Wipe the bag with a clean white cloth to remove the smell of vinegar from the patent leather.

Use glass cleaner to add additional gloss to patent leather. Spray the glass cleaner on a clean T-shirt. Light rub the purse to clean. Do not mix the vinegar solution with the glass cleaner to clean; use one remedy or the other to clean the bag.


Never apply heat to dry your handbag quickly. The heat may cause the leather to crack or ripple.

Wax products applied to your handbag may cause the patent leather to peel and crack.

About the Author

Mimi Abney

Mimi Abney is a lifestyle writer specializing in online content for women. Her work has appeared in NewsOK.com and "Keepsake Magazine," among other publications. With over 15 years of writing and editing experience for the web and print, Abney is also a contributor to online health, beauty and fashion publications. She holds a Bachelor of Science in biology from Spelman College.