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How to Clean Leather Saddlebags

Margaret Dilloway

Leather saddlebags, for either a horse or a motorcycle, require a different level of cleaning care than a leather couch. Because saddlebags are exposed to the elements, leather cleaner plus a conditioner are needed to keep them soft and clean.

Choose cleaners and conditioners that are marked biodegradable, rather than cleaners that contain petroleum products; natural-based cleaners will make your leather saddlebags last longer.

  1. Dampen a soft cloth with a little room temperature tap water.

  2. Pour a quarter-sized amount of leather cleaner shampoo on the soft cloth. Most leather cleaners don't require additional water.

  3. Rub the shampoo into the saddlebags, paying extra attention to areas with embedded dirt or stains. With most leather cleaners, no rinsing is required because the dirt sticks to the shampoo; good leather shampoo soaps don't leave a residue. However, follow the product instructions on the leather cleaner you're using.

  4. Apply a quarter-size amount of conditioner to the other clean, soft cloth. Rub the conditioner into the leather. Allow it to penetrate for a few minutes, then apply another layer of conditioner if the leather still feels dry. Look for a conditioner that has UV protectants in it.

  5. Warning

    Clean leather saddlebags only when needed, because too much cleaning can diminish its longevity.