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Cleaning a Dooney and Bourke Purse

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Cleaning a Dooney and Bourke

These popular purses can look great again with proper cleaning. This guide is about cleaning a Dooney and Bourke purse.



Here are questions related to Cleaning a Dooney and Bourke Purse.

Question: Removing Ink on Outside of Purse

How do I remove ink from the outside of my Dooney and Bourke heart purse?

By RC from KY


Most Recent Answer

By Sandra S.05/27/2014

Hair spray! Removes ink from your purse!

Question: Leather Fading on a Dooney and Bourke Bag

I have a Dooney and Bourke bubblegum colored "IT" bag. The pink leather has started to appear faded, almost whitish and there are a few spots like that on the purse? Does anyone know why this happens or how to clean it? Thanks!

Isabel from TX


Most Recent Answer

By NewsView [1]10/04/2011

The phenomena described here is not a problem with staining or the leather on the handbags. The D&B "IT" bags and others that have the leather trim and the graphic prints actually consist of cotton that is coated, very much like a rain coat.

Dooney & Bourke needs to improve the surface treatment because this is an extremely common problem on their coated cotton bags and no doubt the reason why a lot of people deride D&B as "cheap" compared to Coach or Louis Vuitton. (LV monogram bags consist mostly, also, of canvas but with bulletproof durability and a much heftier price tag to match.)

As far as I know there is no repair Dooney & Bourke can make other than offering a credit (which also echos my own experience when I approached them a couple years ago about the same problem). It's not clear why some of these bags have no problem whatsoever for 5 years or more and others start fading even when they are left mostly untouched in a dark closet. Heat and sunlight only accelerate the problem.

It is my impression as someone who once worked in a repair shop that there is an underlying defect or impurity in sealing the cotton such that the coating does not remain at the surface of the canvas as it should. All the handbags start off looking the same but within a year or two, regardless of whether they are used and even if you never apply any type of cleaning product to the canvas, the fading sets in.

From what I can tell, it's not that the color is wearing off from normal use but that it is being absorbed into the grain of the fabric. The result is the appearance of dull gray clouds or generalized fading, a problem which is most apparent on the black and brown graphical bags.

At the first sign of problem, it may slow the progression to condition the canvas surface with a leather conditioner or to to rub in some colorless shoe wax/polish (something I will be trying out on my own bag, actually). The bottom line here is that if you're going to salvage the bag you'll have to be willing to experiment (just be sure that none of the treatments you apply to the canvas touch the colorless "naked leather" trim unless you wish for it to darken down considerably).

Should anyone find a solution that prevents the problem in the first place, please post and let the rest of us know.

Question: Cleaning a Dooney and Bourke Fabric Purse

How do I clean my white fabric Dooney hand bag? I put it through the gentle cycle in the washer and hung it to dry and it is still not clean!

By npk

Most Recent Answer

By carol [2]07/24/2011

I contacted the the company and they told me how to clean mine. Just look them up on the internet and send them an email.


Question: Cleaning a Dooney and Burke Bag

How can I clean my fabric Doonie bag? I got black stuff on it this morning and I am freaking out because it is brand new.

By Stacey

Most Recent Answer

By June07/17/2012

Their website has directions for cleaning different types of bags: ... 6&DNBPI=dVWChEGqeye7tecZkAniZiTB:S&DNBPI_pses=DNBPI%3DdVWChEGqeye7tecZkAniZiTB%253AS%7E

Question: Cleaning a Dooney and Bourke Fabric Purse

My son spilled his glass of milk on my Dooney and Bourke fabric purse. Will it stain and how would I clean it?

By Amanda P

Most Recent Answer

By Joyann02/05/2012

You can contact Dooney & Bourke by phone or email, they should be able to tell you how to clean it. They also have a link where you can get live help from 9AM to 9PM (EST) Monday through Friday. Here is a link to their contact page. The link is long, you might have to copy and paste it if clicking doesn't work.

Question: Cleaning a Dooney and Bourke Purse

I need help in cleaning a borrowed Dooney and Bourke handbag. The inside of the handbag has dirt and a few ink stains on the fabric on the inside. This was borrowed so I need help. If I can not get it clean I will have to purchase a new bag and they don't make this type of brown giraffe print anymore. Thanks.

By Jean from TX

Most Recent Answer

By Julie Rowe02/28/2011

For the ink, I would recommend spraying a clean, dry cloth with some hairspray, and then try to rub a spot of the inside of the purse with the cloth to see if that will remove it. Hairspray on ink has always worked for me to remove it, but since you have a borrowed item, just be careful. It should work however. Let me know if it does. Thanks.

Question: Stains on a Dooney and Bourke Purse

I have a Dooney and Bourke brown purse and recently noticed a white dingy stain on the bottom of my purse. I tried using a leather cleaner, but it did not work! How can I remove the stain?

By Rebecca from McAllen, TX

Most Recent Answer

By dooneystinks07/26/2011

I am disgusted with dooney and their lack of customer service. I have a it bag. I have so many bags i carry them for about 1 week a year each. After 3 years the coated cotton began bubbling. I went through the same process of mailing the bag in, paying myself. I was offered the credit but you didn't mention not only do you get the credit but you have to spend the same amount out of pocket too. For example $75 credit, you must spend $75 also and get a bag worth $150 or more. So I had the bag sent back, though I rarely carry it. Then my coated cotton Miami bag, not only started bubbling but it also faded to a gray when it was once black. This time I refused to send the bag in. I demanded to speak to a supervisor. Who basically said, once you have had a bag for a year (doesn't matter if you only carried it for a week) they don't stand behind it anymore. All they will ever offer is the trade in. I tried every tactic on her. She didn't care and she truly didn't care that she was losing several (me and the ladies in my family) customers based on the outcome of this conversation. Dooney does not stand behind their product, stick with Coach folks!

Question: Cleaning a Dooney and Bourke Backpack

How can I wash this bag? I tried to wash it with soap and water in the sink and the bright pink fabric on the inside faded to the grey exterior. I cannot get the color bleed out of the grey exterior.

By Denise

Question: White Film on Purse Straps

I have taken my Dooney and Bourke out of the dust bag. The straps have white film on them. What causes this?

By Rosemary C.

Question: What Type of Material Lines a Dooney and Bourke Bag?

What kind of fabric lines a Dooney and Bourke bag? I'm referring to the hot pink lining in their popular designs.

By Sarah B

Question: Discolored Dooney and Bourke Purse

I have the Dooney and Bourke white leather purse with pics of purses and flip flops on it. It is turning a yellowish color. The bag is in great condition, but looks "dirty". What should I do to restore it to its original color?

By Mary G

Question: Yellow Dooney and Bourke Handbag

There is a yellow purse in the picture here: Dooney purse. Is that yellow tint normal?

By Anita

Question: Cleaning Dirt Off Dooney and Bourke Leather Handbag

I bought this light pink leather purse from someone and it has a grayish stain on the bottom front corner lining. How do I get that cleaned?

By Lu C.

Question: Cleaning Dooney Bourke Purse Pictured on site.

How do you clean the DB purse pictured on this site? Purse Mine looks like this one which is discolored! I have tried all the suggestions posted and nothing budges my problem! I even tried pure Clorox (very carefully) on a small area thinking I could bleach it out. Help.

By Shirley R

Question: Cleaning a Dooney Bag

In searching the internet I came across you. Your post for cleaning those popular purses says that they can look great again with proper cleaning, but you don't mention which of the UGG products works on the purse. Please let me know. I would be interested in trying the product. Thank you.

By Janet D. from Lutz, FL

Question: Cleaning a Dooney and Burke Purse

I was given a Dooney and Burke by my mom. She said I could have it and clean it up. So I cleaned it with Gain, a toothbrush, and water. It cleaned well, but the problem is I got the leather trademark on it wet and it looks bad! It bled on the fabric and it has water marks on the leather.
Did I ruin it? Or is there any way to fix this at all?

By Angela

Question: Repairing a Faded Spot on Dooney and Bourke Purse

I have a Dooney and Bourke purse in crimson red, something spilled on it. I tried to clean the purse and now it's faded. How do I match this color? It's a dark red.

By Irene

Question: Cleaning Dooney and Bourke Fabric Purse

How do I clean my Dooney and Bourke fabric handbag with a leather strap and handles?


Question: Cleaning a Fabric Dooney and Bourke Purse

Does anyone have any suggestions on how to clean a fabric Dooney and Bourke purse?

By Kandy

Question: Cleaning a Dooney and Burke Bag

How do I clean a nylon fabric Dooney and Burke handbag?


Question: Cleaning a Fabric Dooney and Burke Purse

How do I clean my fabric Dooney and Burke purse?

By Richelle

Solutions: Cleaning a Dooney and Bourke Purse

Do you have knowledge about this guide topic? Feel free to share a solution!


Thrifty Fun has been around so long that many of our pages have been reset several times. Archives are older versions of the page and the feedback that was provided then.

Archive: Cleaning a Dooney & Burke Purse

Is any one familiar with cleaning a Dooney and Bourke purse. I know they are leather so do I use a leather cleaner? Any suggestions?


RE: Cleaning a Dooney & Bourke Purse

I used to sell motorcycle leathers. What we used to clean and treat the leather jackets, vests, etc, with is hand lotion that contains lanolin.

No need to buy any expensive leather lotions. This not only cleans and softens the leather but it also protects it against moisture from rain, etc. If your purse ever gets wet, allow it to dry and then re-treat it with the hand lotion containing lanolin. Hope this helps. (08/01/2005)

By Wolf

RE: Cleaning a Dooney & Bourke Purse

Whether Dooney & Bourke or any other make of leather purse (or shoes etc.) I find that saddle soap can`t be beat. (08/02/2005)

By Joyce H.

RE: Cleaning a Dooney & Bourke Purse

Use a leather cleaner the same thing happened to my loui vutton and it came right off (11/08/2005)

By Samantha Charest

RE: Cleaning a Dooney & Bourke Purse

According to Doony & Bourke instructions that come inside of purse, wipe with a damp cloth or you can use mild soap & water. They recommend using nothing with oil in it (like leather cleaner) as that will discolor the leather. I have a D&B purse also and have a few ballpoint ink stains on it - however, instructions say these type of stains, or lipstick stains, cannot be removed. (01/20/2006)

By Cheryl Petrucelli

RE: Cleaning a Dooney & Bourke Purse

After reading Wolf's post I went and looked at my Saddle Soap that I just bought and surprise! It contained lanolin. I use Kiwi Saddle Soap because it's easy to use and inexpensive. The back of the tin says this:

"Kiwi Saddle Soap is a traditional blend of ingredients which cleans, softens and preserves smooth leather. It contains a fine soap to thoroughly clean away dirt and grime, even salt stains. Kiwi Saddle Soap is formulated with glycerin and lanolin to make leather soft and supply, with a quality wax for added protection.

Directions: Remove excess dirt with a stiff brush or damp cloth. Rub surface of Kiwi Saddle Soap with a moist cloth to develop lather. Rub well into leather. Wipe off excess lather with a damp cloth. Repeat procedure if necessary. When leather is dry, buff with a soft cloth to develop luster. Not for use on suede."

So, I guess lanolin is good for leather cleaning but I would drop into Wal-Mart or any general store and buy some Saddle Soap since it's so cheap. I paid a few dollars for it. Hope this helps! ~Susan (08/18/2006)

By Susan

Archive: Cleaning a Dooney & Burke Purse

How do I clean the inside of my Dooney & Bourke? There are make-ups marks on the cloth.

Kimberly from Inman, SC

How to Care for Your Dooney & Bourke Handbag

I found the following article at under care and cleaning:

Classic All-Weather Leather

All-Weather Leather products should be gently wiped with a water-dampened cloth. Difficult stains can usually be removed with water and a mild soap. Stains that contain dye, such as lipstick or ink, should not be treated with cleaning agents or leather creams. The oils in such products loosen the pores of the leather, defeating the shrinkage process that makes All-Weather Leather impervious to moisture. The leather trim is not treated in this manner and can be cared for with any quality leather balm or cream.

Signature Fabric

All signature fabric can be cleaned with a water dampened cloth and a bar of Ivory soap, if necessary. No creams or cleansers should be applied to any leather surfaces; they have been treated for water repellency through a ScotchGuard process.


With its built-in resistance to staining, Cabriolet cloth can be easily cleaned with a damp cloth or a soft bristle brush used very gently. For greasy or more stubborn stains, use a damp, soft cloth or brush, along with a mild bar soap. The "naked" leather trim on the Cabriolet bags is vegetable tanned, which encourages a deeper, richer color and sheen as it ages. Emollients, such as creams, oils or polishes, may alter this natural aging process and cause unintentional discoloration. Water spots and natural leather markings simply blend into the uniform honey color of the leather. (10/03/2006)

By Tam

RE: Cleaning a Dooney & Bourke Purse

I called Dooney today @1-800-347-5000 to find out the cleaning process. I was told to clean my Dooney (leather or cloth) with Ivory soap (bar or liquid), and a soft bristle toothbrush. (09/20/2006)

By Winnie

Archive: Cleaning a Dooney & Burke Purse

How do I clean my Dooney & Bourke purse? It is black with brown trim and the black looks faded some. Dee Janey from Sacramento, CA

RE: Cleaning a Dooney & Bourke Purse

I have used simple dish soap and water which takes the dirt right off. I got this advice from a salesperson at the mall. It took the ballpoint pen off as well. I had no problem getting it off. (08/07/2006)

By Jessica

RE: Cleaning a Dooney & Bourke Purse

If it's a matter of faded black leather - use black leather shoe polish - buff to a high shine - you could also try liquid shoe polish. (03/13/2007)

By Pamphyila

RE: Cleaning a Dooney & Bourke Purse

I have the same problem. My Dooney & Bourke purse contains light beige leather and there started to be darker brown spots on it. Should I clean it with a leather cleaner or saddle soap? (04/14/2007)

By Sylwia

RE: Cleaning a Dooney & Bourke Purse

My Dooney and Bourke is the white bucket bag with the colored DB on it and has yellowed. I've tried just some mild soap and water but i don't know what to really use. I want to use it again this summer so if anyone knows how to clean it so it is white again that would be great! (05/07/2007)

By Samantha

RE: Cleaning a Dooney & Bourke Purse

Cleaning a Dooney and Bourke bag is not all that hard. All I had to do was take a warm damp wash cloth and a bar of soap and rub onto the fabric. Mine came clean in just a few minutes. It really does work. (05/31/2007)

By Courtney

RE: Cleaning a Dooney & Bourke Purse

I went to Macy's to learn how to clean my mini bubble bag, and the lady at Macy's had a whole book on how to clean my purse, you use a bar of ivory soap and a clean toothbrush and white towel.

1. Run bar of soap under worm water

2. rub toothbrush on soap

3. gently scrub bag

4. rinse with water lightly, then dry as much as possible with white towel.

*don't let the soap sit on the purse for more than 2 min! GOOD LUCK! (06/17/2007)

By Just A Girl

RE: Cleaning a Dooney & Bourke Purse

I have a tan bubble bucket bag and the bottom was really dirty, I used some dawn dish soap, and a white cotton towel, lightly cleaned it and dabbed the soap off with water, and it came clean, and looks brand new. I'll keep doing that. (08/04/2007)

By joey from phoenix

RE: Cleaning a Dooney & Bourke Purse

I have a baby blue Dooney that I left in the trunk of my car at an event recently. The next day, my boyfriend put a drill in the trunk on top of my purse leaving several black grease marks on it. I used the ivory soap/toothbrush method and it really does work. It even removed the grease from the light brown leather on the sides without harming it. (08/27/2007)

By jennyleigh