The most common stains to remove from handbags are finger marks, but simple regular treatments will stop them from building up into unsightly stained areas.

The kind of cleaning treatment you should use depends as always on the type of leather the bag is made from.

Grain leather

Regularly dust or brush with a soft brush, or wipe clean with a slightly damp cloth. Treatment with proprietary cleaners or polishers should be carried out sticking strictly to the manufacturers' instructions. Never use excessive quantities - the less the better.

Once or twice a year the handbag should be wiped with a cloth dampened with white spirit to thoroughly cleanse the leather surface from old and discoloured waxes, etc. It should then be given a very light treatment with a proprietary polish, and finally rubbed up with a soft clean cloth.

Patent leather bags

Clean with a damp cloth, plus a little neutral detergent if needed. Minor contamination on all grain leathers can frequently be removed by gentle rubbing with a soft India rubber eraser.

Suede leather

Brush regularly with a soft suede brush or rub gently with a plastic foam block. Minor stains and marks may be removed with a hard rubber eraser, or by touching up the surface with a fine emery paper. The leather should retain its colour and appearance if it is regularly treated with a fluorocarbon aerosol spray product. These make the leather water repellent, and offer protection from grease and dust. There is a wide range of suede cleaning and colouring products on the market, and these will give excellent results - provided that the product manufacturers' recommendations are strictly observed.