I noticed a sticky feeling on a few of my leather bags over the weekend, and it got me thinking about why that was the case. So I did some digging, and here’s all I found and what caused my leather purses to feel sticky.
As I have learned, there are several reasons why leather items can feel sticky to the touch. For example, leather can feel sticky due to something as simple as body oils, a reaction with the environment (like humidity), and the chemicals used in the tanning process.
The list goes on and on but stick around as I walk you through each possibility of why your leather might feel sticky.
Reasons Why Leather Bag Feels Sticky
1. Body Oils
This was one of the first suspicions as I had used my leather bag the night before, and it felt fine. But as I thought about it more, it made sense that the natural oils from my skin could be a cause.
You see, our skin is constantly secreting oils to protect itself. And when these oils come into contact with leather, they can leave behind a residue that makes the leather feel sticky.
The good news is that sticky leather from body oil is an easy fix. Just wipe down the leather with a clean cloth and some distilled water. This will remove any oils that might be on the surface of the bag.
If the sticky feeling persists, you can try using a mild soap like baby shampoo or Ivory soap. Test it in an inconspicuous spot first, as some soaps can be too harsh for leather. Once you’ve wiped down the bag, let it air dry.
2. Leather Bag Was Over Conditioned
Leather needs to be conditioned or oiled to keep it from drying out and cracking. But you can have too much of a good thing.
If your leather bag feels sticky, it might be because it’s been over-conditioned. When over-conditioning leather, excess oil can seep to the surface and make the bag feel sticky.
This was the cause of my sticky leather purse. Before an outing, my niece used too much leather conditioner on my purse in an attempt to get rid of a small scratch.
Although it was cute what she was trying to do for me, it, unfortunately, left my purse feeling sticky for the rest of the day.
The good news is that an over-conditioned leather bag is not a lost cause. You can solve this problem by using a leather cleaner to degrease the surface of the leather bag.
Once you’ve cleaned off the excess oil, you can condition the leather with a small amount of cleaner.
Let the conditioner soak in for a few minutes before thoroughly wiping it off with a clean, dry cloth. Your leather bag should now be free of any sticky residue.
3. Using The Wrong Cleaner And Conditioner
A lot of us have become victims of this common leather care mistake.
We see a commercial for a leather cleaner and conditioner and assume it will work just as well on our leather items as it does on others.
But using the wrong cleaner and conditioner can actually damage your leather bag and leave it feeling sticky.
This is very common when you use DIY leather cleaners and conditioners. Usually, it is either the wax or oils you used causing the sticky feeling, or the quantity of cleaner you used was too much.
So, what is the right way to clean and condition your leather bag? The best way to clean leather is with a leather cleaner or conditioner specially made for leather goods.
You can find these cleaners at most stores that sell leather products. Once you’ve found a cleaner, test it on an inconspicuous spot first.
If the cleaner doesn’t react with the leather in a negative way, such as darkening the leather severely, making the leather sticky, or discoloring the leather, you can go ahead and use it to clean your bag.
4. Not Cleaning The Leather Bag Before Conditioning It
Caring and maintaining leather items like your priced bags must follow a certain process to ensure their longevity.
One of the most important steps is cleaning the leather before conditioning it.
If you don’t clean your leather bag before conditioning it, dirt, dust, and other particles can get trapped under the conditioner and make the bag feel sticky.
I think it is very obvious what you have to do to avoid this problem. Simply clean your leather bag with a leather cleaner before conditioning it.
This will remove any dirt or debris on the bag’s surface and help the conditioner penetrate the leather better.
Once you’ve cleaned and conditioned your bag, you can then store it in a cool, dry place until you’re ready to use it again.
5. Adhesive Residue
I love hand-made leather bags because they are unique, and no two are exactly alike.
But one thing I don’t love is the adhesive residue that is often left behind on the leather.
This sticky residue can make your bag feel tacky to the touch, and it’s very difficult to remove.
If you have a hand-made leather bag with adhesive residue, the best way to remove it is with a product called Goo Gone.
Goo Gone is a citrus-based cleaner that dissolves adhesive and is safe to use on leather.
To use it, simply apply a small amount of Goo Gone to a clean cloth and rub it into the adhesive residue.
Be sure to test the Goo Gone on an inconspicuous spot first to ensure it doesn’t damage the leather.
If it seems to be working, continue rubbing until all of the adhesives are gone. Once you’re finished, wipe off any excess Goo Gone with a clean cloth.
You can use a mild dish solution to clean your leather bags and then apply a leather conditioner to help restore all lost oils.
You can also use rubbing alcohol to remove adhesive residue from your leather bag.
Simply apply a small amount of rubbing alcohol to a clean cloth and rub it into the adhesive.
Again, be sure to test the rubbing alcohol on an inconspicuous spot first. If it seems to be working, continue rubbing until all of the adhesives are gone. Make sure to condition your leather bag after cleaning it with rubbing alcohol.
6. Leather Is New
On another blog, I read leather can sometimes feel sticky when the leather item is brand new.
When first made leather, it often has a coating of oil or wax on it to protect it during handling, storage, or shipping.
This coating can make the leather feel sticky or tacky to the touch. If your leather item is brand new and feels sticky, then simply using the bag for a couple of days or weeks can help remove the coating and make the bag feel less sticky.
If you don’t want to wait that long, you can try cleaning the bag with a leather cleaner and then conditioning it.
This should help remove the sticky coating and make your bag feel softer and more pliable while breaking it in nicely.
7. Reaction To The Environment
Leather is a natural material that can be affected by its environment. For example, if the air is too dry, the leather can become brittle, and if the air is too humid, the leather can become mushy.
Either extreme conditions can make your bag feel sticky to the touch. If you live in an area with high humidity, you can try storing your leather bag in a cool, dry place when you’re not using it.
This will help to keep the leather from becoming too soft or sticky. If you live in an area with very low humidity, you can try using a leather conditioner on your bag to help keep it supple.
8. Sun Damage
Leather that has been exposed to too much sun can also become sticky. The heat from the sun can cause the oils in the leather to seep onto the surface of the leather, making it feel tacky.
If your bag feels sticky and it’s been in the sun, wipe it down with 50/50 rubbing alcohol and water.
Condition it and let it dry before storing it in a cool, dark place until the sticky feeling disappears.
9. Dirt, Grime, And Spills
If your leather bag feels sticky and it’s been used a lot, it may just be dirty. The dirt, grime, and spills can build up if you do not clean your bag regularly.
You will need mild dish soap and a soft cloth to clean your bag. Mix the soap with some warm water and dampen your cloth.
Gently rub the cloth over the surface of your bag, paying special attention to any areas that look or feel particularly dirty. Next, rinse the soap with a clean, damp cloth, and then dry your bag with a soft, clean towel.
Finally, condition your bag to help restore the lost oils. If your leather bag feels sticky and you can’t figure out why to, take it to a professional.
They will be able to inspect your bag and give you some advice on how to clean and care for it properly.
A professional can also tell you if the sticky feeling is permanent or if it will eventually go away on its own.
Do you have a leather bag that feels sticky? Have you been trying to figure out why it feels that way? In this blog post, I explored some possible reasons why your leather bag may feel sticky and what you can do about it.
Thank you so much for sticking around till the end! I hope this was helpful. If you have any questions or suggestions, please feel free to leave them in the comments below.
Until next time!
Your Friendly Neighborhood Blogger:)