How to Clean Vegan Leather

Despite your best efforts to keep your stuff clean, sometimes your favorite items will get dirty so it’s important to know how to clean and maintain them. 

Vegan leather or faux leather is a wide variety of synthetic products that look like leather. It can look like the real thing but you can’t clean them in the same way as it doesn’t form a patina over time, unlike real leather. 

Cleaning your vegan leather shoes, bags, pants, etc. doesn’t have to be complicated. Just make sure to test any cleaning product on a small area of the leather and don’t use it if it causes discoloration.

So here are some simple steps to clean vegan leather.


1. Remove the mess right away with baby wipes or warm water and a soft cloth.

To keep vegan leather looking great, wipe away any dirt and smudges immediately. Vegan leather, like any other material, will look great if you keep stains away. This is one of the reasons why you should have a soft cloth, tissue paper, or baby wipes in an easily accessible exterior pocket of your bag. So you can easily grab a wipe and clean up any spillages on your leather.

2. You can use a dampened toothbrush to carefully clean between grooves on embossed or textured surfaces and use cotton swabs for delicate hardware.

Dip the toothbrush into the cleaning solution and brush the uneven surface or your vegan leather in a circular motion. Clean metal accents using cotton swabs to prevent scratches. You can also use polishing cloth.

3. Add some dish soap to your sponge or cloth to get rid of stubborn marks. Be sure to get rid of any residue.

To spot clean the stain, mix some dish soap with water (at a ratio of 3:1 water to soap). Spot cleaning with color cloths is not recommended as the stain can easily transfer to the leather.

4. If the mark is too stubborn, apply a little eucalyptus oil on a damp cloth and rub gently. 

Pen or marker on your vegan leather? If all else fails, use a moistened cloth soaked in eucalyptus oil. Be sure to work towards the middle of the stain and wipe it gently. Take note of some safety tips when using eucalyptus oil and test it out on a small patch first.

5. To remove excess water, wipe the area dry using a clean cloth.

It’s important to dry your leather with a cloth and air dry it flat on a drying rack to preserve the quality and help prevent it from shrinking and stretching.


Many vegan leather bags come with a fabric interior and some have fabric exteriors and they can be difficult to clean. So it’s important to avoid stains, because prevention is better than cure, and use the right product for each type of stain.

How to keep your bag lining clean

  • Do not touch your bag with wet, dirty, or lotioned hands.
  • Avoid putting anything damp in your bag as it could cause colour transfer to the lining.
  • To avoid foundation and lipstick stains, carry your makeup in a small pouch.

How to clean your bag lining

  • For spots like lipstick marks or oil-based makeup, you can use dish detergent or baby shampoo to clean the area. 
  • Use a sponge or clean cloth to apply the liquid.
  • Then, wipe off with a clean towel. 
  • If the stain remains, you may have to do this again.

Household items you can use to clean tough stains

  • Lipstick: rubbing alcohol or witch hazel
  • Mascara, eyeliner, lip balm or any other greasy makeup products: dish soap or liquid detergent
  • Liquid foundation: 33% hydrogen peroxide or liquid detergent
  • Powder pigments such as blush and eyeshadow: make up remover wipes, baby shampoo
  • Ink stains: Rubbing alcohol

If none of these tips work, it is likely that you have a terrible stain. This may not respond to an industrial-strength chemical. If this happens, it is a good idea to hire professional laundry services to help restore your bag to its original color.

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