I bought this Fossil purse at a garage sale several years ago, for something like $2 or $4. It's such a nice leather, and reminds me of a well worn saddle.
Once on vacation I bent down to observe some sea urchins in an aquarium and my purse fell in! The man opposite just stared at me, like "You dumb idiot!" and I wanted to shout "That's the least of my clumsiness!"
Alas, my purse became somewhat water stained and dingy so I put it away in the closet.
Since I didn't have much to lose, I decided to try this little trick to clean up the leather. These are the before pictures:
I added some warm water to a bowl and one (just one teeny tiny drop) of blue Dawn dish washing soap. I used a microfiber rag, got it wet, and rubbed the water into the outside of the bag. It's scary, because it does dampen and darken the leather and I was scared the whole time that I was ruining it (worse than it already was).
I then let it dry and it dried to a nice, clean, fawn colored purse, which I'm sure is what it looked like when bought new. These after photos show a cleaner, prettier bag: