Moisturize, moisturize, moisturize. We can just hear our Mom’s now telling our teenage selves about the virtues of keeping our skin hydrated and that surely we’d thank them later. Now that a few years have passed, we know they were absolutely right. Kate Moss and other notable exceptions aside, everything that ages gracefully must be well maintained, including your leather bag.
To maintain your bag, you must remember that all genuine leather was once a living hide; in a word, your bag needs moisture. We recommend oiling regularly with natural leather oil. This will help keep the hide supple, protect against water damage and can be used to rub off accumulating dirt and grime. If you are storing your bag, make sure to do so in a breathable container such as a dust bag or pillowcase. To paraphrase the words of some wise women, you’ll thank us later.
Cleaning leather can sometimes lead to that infuriating moment when you realize you’ve just stained the very thing you were trying to clean. Given how difficult leather can be to properly clean, it’s ideal to avoid dirtying your bag in the first place. Yet from the personal experience of two accident-prone women, we know this is unrealistic and sometimes your bag starts wearing the pasta sauce you enjoyed at lunch.
For mild dirt build-up, we recommend using a leather oil to act as a solvent on the grime. Trust us, you absolutely want to first test a small, discrete area when beginning this process to make sure you like the result. Because oil tends to darken colored and light leathers, we always clean/condition a whole piece at once. Use the liquid to loosen the dirt and blot away the excess oil. In keeping with the skin analogy, no one enjoys discoloration or splotches, and the same is true for leather.
If your handbag has been on the receiving end of something serious like a wine time accident, we recommend bringing it to a professional. They will be able to assess the stain and help minimize the damage.
Whether you are an extreme adventure traveler or just accident-prone like us, waterproofing may be a way to extend the longevity of your bag. We first recommend that you use a leather oil before any possible contact with water to seal in the hide’s natural oils and seal out moisture. You can then apply a waterproofing agent that will further protect the leather from water and staining.