How to keep your leather handbag in tip-top condition?
All products are made from natural leathers, and they will age with time. Just like
our own skin, they will need caring and moisturizing in order to be kept in tip-top
condition throughout the years.
Even with excellent care, leather goods, will still age; there’s no way to avoid this.
An aged leather handbag is just as beautiful as a new one, perhaps even more
alluring. This aging effect is called the bag’s ‘Patina.’ It is a very cherished and
admired effect that is almost impossible to replicate properly without submitting
the product to the natural wear and tear that leather bags go through from
All leather looses its moisture and oils with handling over time. We need to
ensure that the leather fibers stay supple. This is especially important when it is a
product that one seriously cares about, because so much more is at stake. A
leather care product will replace those oils and keep the leather supple.
The place to start is with prevention. Always protect your bag with a reputable
protection cream/treatment. This should be done from day one and be re-applied
at least once every two to three months. Proper protection can prevent staining,
grease penetration and can help prevent all kinds of issues later on. Also, a
regular cleaning, even if it is just a quick wipe-down, is a must.
How do you clean and protect your leather handbag?
Leather bags are susceptible to absorb grease and oils.
Wipe your leather handbag.
Wipe your tote at least once a week. For a quick wipe-down, a damp cloth is
Wipe with warm, soapy water… mix a small amount of mild liquid soap to
warm water and use a soft damp cloth to wipe away any dirt from the
outside of your handbag. Be careful not to use too much water because
leather takes time to dry and it will dry with the time.
Wipe with the grain of the handbag… to avoid ruining the leather
Never use baby wipes, vinegar or any other 'home remedy' for cleaning
or stain removal. Many of these products have lanolin or other chemicals
that can cause damage to the color, dry the leather out, create a build
up of grease in the leather and a number of other problems.
Wipe soft. The key to removing dirt and other marks is not by using a lot of
pressure. It is much better to rub a mark 100 times lightly and with low
pressure than to rub a mark 10 times with a lot of pressure. The high
pressure could remove the finish of the product and damage the leather.
A thorough cleaning once a year, keeping your handbag clean goes a long way
in prolonging the handbag's life. Take your handbag to a leather specialist once
per year to help remove the dirt and germs. This will allow the natural character
of the leather to show through.
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Remove ink marks or grease stains straight away.
The key to removing ink marks is to treat them right away… your first and
best bet is to take your bag to see a professional as soon as possible. If
you are unable to, try a special ink removing product for leather and follow
the care instructions, making sure to condition the area afterwards and
leave to dry properly.
If the ink stains are old… don't try to remove these yourself. They will likely
be too stubborn and will need professional care.
Never use water on grease stains… these should simply wipe off leather
Use a professional leather cleaning agent on tougher dirt… these creams
don't need to be rinsed out which can damage your bag further. They
might cost more, but the result will be a lot more effective.
Do not use saddle soap… it'll most likely be too strong for the leather on your bag
and could cause discoloration, for really stubborn stains, try matching a shoe
polish to the color of your bag and buffing a small amount over the affected area.
2. Remove Odor.
If you get an unpleasant smell, odor removers can be used (choose the right one
for the type of substance causing the smell), but avoid the use of harsh solvent-
based or aerosol odor removers.
To banish ever-lingering smells… carefully put an open container of baking
powder inside your bag, place your bag in a dust-bag or pillow case and leave it
in there for 24 hours. The baking powder should absorb any unwanted odors.
3. Rain or Water Splashes.
Leather handbags should not be allowed to get wet, but if they do, they should be
wiped down with a dry cloth and allowed to dry naturally.
If your leather bag gets wet, never force-dry the leather by using heat. Do
not place it on radiators or use hair dryers, simply leave it in a place that is
normal room temperature until it dries naturally.
If you are going to continuously experience bad weather then we would
suggest that you obtain some leather waterproofing products to help keep
your satchel dry.
4. Extreme temperatures
Keep it out of hot temperatures, especially extreme heat. Heat exposure can
cause the pigmented finish to bubble and to peel away.
Freezing temperatures can really damage your leather handbag and the natural
structure of its fibers that give it strength, and make them brittle. Cold
temperatures can also cause the pigmented coating to crack excessively, so if
you don’t like that effect then it’s prudent not to let it get too cold.
Don't leave your leather handbag in direct sunlight because it can cause the color
to fade away and damage the leather.
Keep your leather bags stored in places that are dry and clean when your not
using them, ideally in the specially designed dust bag that came with your bag to
help protect it.
Keep your bag stuffed while you're not using it… this will help it maintain its
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Use your dust bag. These aren't just for packaging – they are intended to keep
your bags dust-free when they're not being used.
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6. Care Products.
Always test a small, unseen part of the satchel before applying the product to the
whole bag. This is to check that the product doesn’t react or change the color
significantly to one that you dislike. Leave it alone for a day or so to verify that
there is no unwanted reaction. If after a period of 24-hours the small area
appears okay, then you can safely apply the product to the whole bag.
If you are going to apply a care product that contains a moisturizer or an oil, then
test it on the reverse sides of the leather and the edges where the pigmented
finish is more absorbent. The leather will get lots of nourishment and protection
from treatment in those areas and remain more supple.
If you are applying a waterproofing product then it is strongly recommended that
you first apply a care product that will help lock in the moisture in the fibers
before making it waterproof. Only apply the waterproof product to the areas that
will be exposed to moisture. This will allow you to still be able to treat the inner
portion of the bag with care products that will keep it from creasing, cracking, or
peeling due to being dried out.
Always use a product specific for the material that is inside the bag. A general
leather cleaner will not be as effective as a cleaner specifically designed for a
suede & nubuck interior (due to the absorbent, fibrous nature of the material).
7. Tips to better protect your leather handbag.
Avoid holding your handbag if you have just applied hand cream… or you
are just ASKING for grease stains.
Consider buying a Stain Cover just in case your bag gets messy.
Ø Don't wear light color handbags with dark clothing, as the dye from
the clothing may run and transfer to the handbag damaging the color –
one of the hardest stains to remove.
Keep cosmetics inside a pouch. Cap all pens and anything that leaks. Get
a small pencil case to protect the leather and keep small items from
spilling or damaging the fabric.
Avoid cleaning products with alcohol, lanolin, turpentine or other mineral
spirits as they will discolor and dry out leather.
Never allow water to soak into your bag. If the bag gets wet, do not use a
hair dryer on it. Instead, absorb as much water as possible with a thick
microfiber hand towel.
Take extra special care of your bag at hair salons and keep it away from
coloring solutions, hair sprays and other hair products.
Waxes or silicone products clog up leather pores and may render them
unable to be cleaned in the future.