How to Clean a Sticky Leather Briefcase

by Jessica Jewell ; Updated September 28, 2017

Leather briefcases can become sticky and stained from everyday use.

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Leather comes in a variety of types, styles and finishes, many of which can be used as a covering for briefcases. Owners of leather briefcases use them frequently, and the leather surface can become damaged by the weather and dirtied by a variety of stains and spills. If you have a leather briefcase that has become sticky due to accumulation of debris, you must follow the correct method for cleaning the briefcase to restore it to its original quality without further damaging the leather.

Moisten a clean, soft cloth with a leather-conditioning cleaner. Do not use water or other detergent cleaner for a sticky leather briefcase. You can purchase leather conditioning cleaner at many leather goods stores, or the store where you purchased the briefcase. Some cleaners may come in a liquid form, and others may come as pre-coated wipes (Reference 2).

Dab the sticky area gently with the cloth. You want to make a gentle, circular dabbing motion to remove the sticky area, rather than scrubbing. If your entire briefcase feels sticky, work with just one area at a time. You may need to remoisten the cloth several times as you gently buff the solution over the briefcase.

Allow the briefcase to air dry. Then touch the surface for any areas that may still feel sticky. If you feel any stickiness, or you can see an area that is still stained or contains debris, dab that area again with the leather-conditioning cleaner and let it air-dry again.


  • Avoiding rubbing the leather too hard. Both hard and soft leather can scratch easily, so be patient as you are applying the leather-conditioning solution. If you use a wipe instead of a cloth, use the same gently motion to clean the briefcase.

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About the Author

Jessica Jewell is a writer, photographer and communications consultant who began writing professionally in 2005. Her chapbook, "Slap Leather," is forthcoming from dancing girl press. Her recent work has appeared in "Nimrod," "Harpur Palate," "Copper Nickel," "Rhino," "wicked alice," "Poetry Midwest" and "Barn Owl Review." Jewell was recently nominated for a Pushcart Prize. She earned her Master of Fine Arts from Kent State University.