Tips & How To’s

How To Care For Leather Bags: Complete Guide

Tim Parry


how to care for leather bags

Purchasing a high-quality leather handbag is an investment by itself, but it is worthwhile. The leather bag will maintain its quality, shape, and appearance with proper care. There are a few tips you will need to follow in order to care for a leather handbag safely. If you want to expand the life of your leather products, here is a guide on how to care for leather bags. Keep reading!

How To Care For Leather Bags in 3 Steps

What you need:

  1. A soft cloth
  2. Leather cleaner
  3. Conditioner
  4. Bubble wrap or parchment paper
  5. Dust bag

Steps to follow

Step 1: Cleaning

First off, you need to ensure that your hands are clean since leather is susceptible to absorbing oil or grease. You should do quick cleaning every day by briskly sweeping the bag with a soft, slightly damp or dry cloth. Remember not to use too much water for daily maintenance since leather tends to take a long before drying.

Twice a year, you will need to clean the leather handbags to do a more thorough cleaning to remove dirt buildup from the inside and outside using a cleaning solution by massaging the solution to the bag. Ensure that the cleaning solution you are using is specifically designed for leather. After cleaning, you will gently wipe it off using a clean damp cloth.

If your leather goods get wet, you should wipe off excess moisture as soon as possible. It would help if you never used a hairdryer to try to dry the leather. Instead, air dry it and apply a leather supple with your conditioner. Also, when choosing the best cleaning products, avoid products that contain alcohol since it may discolor your leather purse or bag. 

Step 2: Conditioning

The next step is to condition or moisturize your soft leather bag using a leather cream. The cream is to prevent the leather bag from drying out, which prevents laking and wrinkling. Next, you should apply the leather conditioner using a soft clean cloth and gently rub it all over the bag.

This step is not to be done everyday. Basically, it depends on the dryness and the climate. It is recommended that you apply the cream at least twice a year or once a month if the bag's condition is not that good.

Step 3: Waterproofing

Waterproofing is an optional step you could also do to help your bag repel water, snow and sweetness. Basically, in this step, you use either wax or protective spray. This treatment is usually done maybe once a year. However, it would be best to use the waterproof spray as many times as possible during the winter or wet seasons.

Step 4: Storage

To complete the care process is how you store your leather bag. Storing your leather bag properly increases its longevity. For the inside, you should stuff the handbag with bubble wraps or parchment to hold it in shape. Remember you should avoid using newspapers during this process.

Then you will need to store the stuffed leather bag in its original dust bag, then store the bag in its original box. Remember to add the silica gel to prevent dampness. Also, you should at least air the bag twice a month to prevent mold growth.

Care For Different Types of Leather

1. Vegetable-tanned leather

Vegetable-tanned leather is usually made using a special process that hardnesses of natural tannins. They are usually found in organic materials, and with proper care, vegetable-tanned leather can last for decades. It is recommended that you rub a leather cream every month to restore its luster. Again it would help to keep the leather bag out of direct sunlight.

2. Patent leather

Patent leathers are usually coated leather with a lustrous finish making them recognizable. It is usually waterproof and well known for being flexible. The maintenance of the patent is very minimal compared to the other leathers. You only need to wipe the bag with an ordinary cleaner.

3. Vegan leather

Vegan or faux leather is usually a plastic-based material that requires more care. The faux leather bags are usually waterproof and can be cleaned using a damp cloth and mild soap. The best part is that these bags do not need to be conditioned since they are designed with natural fibers. Nevertheless, you can use polish to give your bags a rich shine.

4. Suede and Nubuck

Suede and Nubuck feel very similar; however, they are contrary sides of the hide. Nubuck is a high-quality grain hide sanded on the grain side to get a soft, velvety texture. To keep the Nubuck clean, you will need to brush it using a soft brush regularly. On the other hand, suede bags are made from the underside of the hide. To clean the bag, you should wipe it down or use a wire/suede Brush.

What can happen to leather with time?

Let's say you have the best leather golf bag and maintain it regularly, and it will not prevent it from issues like stains, water damage and scratches. However, there are tricks you could use to ensure the leather bag's longevity.

1. Scratches

Unfortunately, when it comes to leather products, scratches are inevitable. The amazing news is that there is an easy way to deal with the scratches. First, you will need to clean your bags using the steps indicated above. Then use a conditioner that is specially designed for the leather. This will help deal with the scratches, but you could redo the process more frequently than once a month if it does not work.

2. Stains

As for the stains, there are different ways to deal with them since they all have different chemical compositions. You could use different home remedies to care for the stains, and if they don't work, you could take them to a professional specialist. Frequent conditioning of the bags provides a great buffer against penetration of either oil or dye.

If you have grease stains, you could use cornstarch to clean the spot. However, it is adviced that you go to a leather repair shop for cleaning for ink stains since doing it by yourself can make it work. Remember, regular maintenance will help to repel ink.

3. Smell

When you purchase a leather product, they likely have a distinct smell, especially if it is not properly tanned. Mostly, the smell emitted by these products is from chemicals and perfumes used when tanning. If you regularly clean the leather bag and use a leather conditioner to help deal with the smell.

3. Water

The best part about water is that it will dry out eventually. However, if there is a spot left after drying, you could use a conditioner to clean out the spot.

4. Color Fading

 Another problem that you could face with leather goods is fading. When you get a colored bag, it will have a deep and rich-looking pigment. However, the leather will fade off over time, especially if exposed to direct sunlight. To avoid fading your leather bags or slowing down the inevitable, you should avoid placing the bag under direct sunlight.

5. Time

As time goes by, leather naturally develops a patina. You cannot avoid this since it is part of the aging process. The good bit is that proper leather care for your best wallet, backpack, briefcase, or weekend bag, will help look even better with age.

Leather bag care tips and tricks

  1. Regularly clean your leather bags with a soft brush or cloth
  2. Air the bag at least twice a month
  3. Avoid soaking the bags
  4. Dry the leather naturally, and avoid artificial heat
  5. Try to clean stains or spots with warm water and mild soap solution
  6. Do not machine wash the bag

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Tim Parry

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