How to Clean a Dooney & Bourke Purse


Jenny asked: How should I properly and safely clean a designer Dooney & Bourke purse? I need to clean my purse and I’m not sure what I can use to clean it. It’s an “It Bag” with the rainbow letters DB all over it.

Dooney & Bourke offer high quality purses with a unique, distinguished style. Over time, these bags can become soiled, much like any other fabric accessories. While prevention and protection are always key, there will come a time when the purse must be cleaned to keep its pristine look. Fortunately with some gentle effort and time, the purse can be made to look nearly new again.

You Will Need:

  • Ivory bar soap
  • Distilled water
  • Soft brush or toothbrush
  • Soft cloths

Steps to Clean the Purse:

  1. Begin by moistening the bar of soap with some distilled water. Allow it to set in the water until the top of it is soft and can be easily applied to the surface of the soft brush.
  2. Rub the soft brush/toothbrush on the bar of soap.
  3. Next, rub the toothbrush over the soiled areas on the purse. Be careful not to apply too much pressure or it may leave a mark.
  4. Rinse by wiping the soap away with a clean cloth moistened with distilled water. Distilled water does not contain minerals like tap water can. This will lessen the chance of having water marks on your purse once it dries.
  5. Dry with a clean soft cloth.

Additional Tips and Ideas

  • Do not allow soap or water to set on the purse for long. If it is on there for more than two minutes or so, it can leave marks and cause discoloration.
  • If the lining on the purse is leather, try to keep it dry so the coloring does not bleed onto the fabric.
  • To make future cleanings easier, protect your purse with a spray such as Scotchguard. This will prevent stains from being absorbed by the fabric and make them easier to remove.
  • If your bag is of high value or you are leary of cleaning it on your own, it may be worth having Dooney & Bourke clean it for you. Purses can be sent to the manufacturer to be cleaned and returned.
  • A local professional cleaner may also be able to clean the purse.
  • Rain water can contain dirt and minerals that can leave water marks on purses. If the weather forecasts rain, it is best to leave your purse at home and select a different option.


  1. Hi, I have a signature Dooney and Bourke purse that was given to me from my sister, and it is yellowed at the top. I’m going to see if this will help clean it. So, thanks, I hope it helps.

  2. keenpetite says:

    I’ve owned two small Dooney and Bourke leather satchels (one black, one tan) bought in 2004, excellent condition, but need to know the best way to clean them without damage to gorgeous leather, please!
    Thank you!

  3. The color is coming off of the bottom of my black and navy. The black one I have had about two years and the navy about one year. Who can I take them to?

  4. Darlene,
    Your Dooney & Bourke bags are guaranteed for one year. After one year, you can use the Dooney & Bourke Repair/Replacement Program (from that link, scroll down and click on the tab, “Guarantee, Returns, Repairs and Replacements”).
    You could also try having the purses re-dyed at a bridal boutique or at a leather goods repair or restoration service.
    Dooney & Bourke also has a Care & Cleaning guide for all of their handbags on their website.

  5. I have yellowing on my Dooney & Bourke. I have tried everything that has been mentioned. Does Dooney & Bourke have any suggestions?? I do not want to send them my purse or get a partial payment to replace it.

  6. On vacation in Mexico one year, the first day into the trip, the tide came in as we walked along the beach. Needless to say, I found myself in the ocean with my Dooney and Burke. I emptied the contents, including our tickets home, and let it dry in the sun. No water marks and no discoloration. When they say all weather leather…they mean it!

  7. Bought the white Dooney with colored db’s. It has yellowing. How do I get rid of the yellowing?

  8. What’s the best way to properly store my Dooney when not in use? THANKS!

  9. Amanda,
    Dooney & Bourke purses are often stored in a dust cover bag, which sometimes comes with the purse. It is rumored that the (dark blue) dust bag does not come with light-colored purses because the blue color could transfer. If you don’t have a dust cover bag, you can use a white pillowcase instead. If you don’t want to use a dust bag, the ideal storage technique just depends on the type of purse material. In general, the purse should be stored in a dark location (out of direct sunlight) and stuffing the purse with tissue paper will help to maintain the shape. If you hang the bag, use a padded hanger. Leather and suede should be stored somewhere breathable (like in a cotton dust cover, not in something sealed like a plastic storage box) so that the leather/suede does not dry out. Also, try to make sure the purse is not touching something that could leave a mark, such a dyed item, a piece of metal that could rust, or other objects (even its own decorations like a metal clasp) that could scuff the surface.

    Source: QVC – Community Forums
    Source: How to Clean Stuff – How to Clean Leather
    Source: Suite 101 – Caring for Your Designer Handbag
    Source: Glamour – How to Organize Your Handbags (and Other Genius Purse-Storing Tips)

  10. I need to know how to take out the dark stains of my Dooney on the four corners of the purse. I had to replace it before the year and the same thing happened to the second one. Help! (The color is desert and it’s a satchel.)

  11. I need to know how to take out the dark spots off my Dooney and Bourke satchel with the hearts on it. The dark spots (discoloration) are in several spots of the bag.

  12. I have a Davis collection light green bag that needs cleaning. How do I clean it without it spotting?

  13. My Dooney bag lining is filtlhly and I want to get it professionally cleaned. Can you send me the information?

  14. Melanie says:

    Information on the Repair/Replacement program is available on the Dooney & Bourke website here.

  15. I have a new Dooney & Bourke purse & on one side there is a lot of black on it; I think it was from my back brace. How can I get the black dye out???? Please help.

  16. Karen,
    Try cleaning the purse as described in the article first. If that doesn’t work and your purse is leather, this article might help: How to Remove Dye Transfer from Leather.

  17. I have green mold on my brown leather trim Dooney & Bourke. It’s on the fabric part only. Can I use Concrobium Mold Remover?

  18. Lori,
    According to the Concrobium website, that product is safe to use on many fabrics and also on leather. However, it is always best to test a product on a small, hidden area first to look for any adverse reaction. For other mold cleaning options, see the article How to Remove Black Mold/Mildew from Washable Fabrics.
    Source: Concrodium – How to Remove Mold on Fabric

  19. Sick of Mice! says:

    Oh! I am so frustrated! Please Help! I am trying to sell my D & B purse and just found that mice have gotten to it and have soiled it! How do I clean it? Mostly on the leather strapping…

  20. Sick of Mice!,
    This is the article that you need: How to Clean a Leather Purse.

  21. Is there any way to get rid of the yellow discoloration?

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