If you have a gorgeous, buttery soft leather purse, you must go to great lengths to keep it looking supple, fresh and new: buy special cleaners, carefully spot-treat it and handle it tenderly. Or, you could just toss it in the washer.
Wait — what?
It might sound too easy to be true. But according to several cleaning experts, if you use gentle detergent and an even gentler wash cycle, you can save a well-worn leather handbag from the donations pile.
How To Wash A Leather Purse
Serene McEntyre shared this tip on her blog, The Elegant Bohemian, back in 2012, and her readers were happily amazed. Jill Nystul of One Good Thing by Jillee was one of those readers and opted to try it for herself.
Although they both announced excellent results, they also agree that, while it worked well for them, your results may vary. If you opt to give it a go, do so at your own risk. We suggest trying it on a bag that you don’t use anymore because it’s gotten too grimy.
Start by completely emptying the contents of your purse. Toss it into the washing machine by itself (or perhaps with another dirty bag) and add about 1/4 cup of gentle soap. McEntyre used Murphy’s Oil Soap, and Nystul opted for castile soap.
Run it on the gentlest setting on your washer; for Nystul, this meant washing with cold water. Air dry or toss on low heat in the dryer with a couple of clean towels for a few minutes, and voila, your leather purse will hopefully come out fresh and clean.
Other Surprising Washables
Once you have washed a purse or two, you might begin looking for other things you’ve hesitated to toss in the washer. Happily, many common accessories and household items can handle a spin in the laundry.
Canvas shoes and even sheepskin boots can come clean when tucked into a mesh bag and washed in cold water on the delicate setting. Officially, UGG doesn’t endorse throwing their shoes in the washing machine — the company recommends finding a third-party cleaner who specializes in cleaning nubuck leather.
You can sanitize reusable shopping bags in the wash on the regular as well.
Of course, some things should only be cleaned by hand. For instance, a faux leather purse could warp or crease in the washer. When in doubt, refer to the tags or owner’s manual for recommendations.
What will you wash next?
[h/t: Real Simple]
This story originally appeared on Simplemost. Checkout Simplemost for additional stories.