A good leather bag is always the star of any bag collection. Everybody loves them. Both, men and women, and the right leather bag can fit into every lifestyle. Leather bags are usually quite tough and durable, but they are an organic product. Because of this, they need to be looked after with care and regularly maintained. Otherwise, you will end up with a product that may still last for a lifetime, but various dirt spots and stains will make it unwearable. Therefore, we would like to present you with some tips and advice of how to take care of leather bags. If followed correctly, your leather bag will truly accompany you through good and bad for many years to come.
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Know your leather
There are many types of leather and finishes available on the market today and they might require different care. Let’s go over the basics:
- The majority of the standard leather bags are vegetable-tanned. Take caution! A big downside of this type of leather is that it does not do well in contact with water. It will cause the bag to shrivel and damage the color.
- A more water resistant alternative is chrome-tanned leather. Chrome tanning gives leather a gray tinge, so it’s also known as wet blue.
- Top-grain leather is usually less expensive than some other types. The natural grain of leather is evened out by sanding in this type of finish.
- Full-grain finish showcases the leather’s natural texture. It’s a top-of-the-line, premium-grade skin.
- Patent leather is a high-gloss finish. The glossy effect is achieved by adding oils and resin.
- Rare and expensive exotics form another category of finishes by themselves.
To help you understand the different finishes, here are some examples of the most famous and prized leather bags.
If you are a bag aficionado, the first thing that comes to mind is probably a Hermès croc Birkin. The skin from these bags comes exclusively from the belly of a certain species of saltwater crocodile. The crocodile is a water creature, but items made from its skin actually don’t do well in contact with water. They need regular maintenance which is best done by specialists. Or otherwise, applying moisturizing balsam can stave of your visit to a leather specialist.
A very similar alternative to crocodile skin is alligator skin. It comes from the American Alligator which is not an endangered species. Even though they are closely similar, slight differences in texture can be noticed upon close examination. A good example of an alligator bag is Burberry Prorsum Alligator bowling bag.
Another prized gem among women’s bags, the standard Chanel 2.55 is made from the hide of young sheep. After treatment, the material is called quilted lambskin. It’s amazing to touch, sin it’s one of the softest skins available.
Vachetta, a special type of untreated leather, can be found on the handles and trimmings of the Louis Vuitton Monogram Speedy. This type of leather is the only one for which it’s actually recommended to keep in direct sunlight. For an hour or so, that is, to achieve an even tan.
Cleaning leather bags
To avoid causing additional damage, always use a cleaner made specifically for the type of leather in question. You can ask the store assistant when buying leather items since many labels have their own line of leather cleaning and care products. If not, they might recommend a particular brand and they will know the best way to care for that particular piece of leather in any case. Many bags have buckles or other metal parts made of precious metal. Therefore, always keep that in mind when choosing a cleaning product.
For regular maintenance, wipe your bag with a soft, dry cloth every few days. It takes almost no time but it will do wonders for the appearance of your leather items.
Leather bags conditioning
Just like our skin, leather needs moisturizer to stay soft and supple. If leather dries out too much, wrinkles will start appearing or the leather will start flaking. You a leather conditioner of choice and rub it gently over the whole leather surface with a soft cloth.
As a more natural alternative, you can try using neatsfoot or mink oil. These oils are similar to the natural oils found in leather. Apply them to the whole leather area, leave for 10 minutes and dry thoroughly.
It’s best to condition all your leather items once every month to keep them at their best.
How to make your bag weatherproof
Leather can never be completely waterproof. A lot of exposure to water will inevitably cause damage at some point. Therefore, definitely don’t wear your favorite leather bag while rain is pouring. With that said, there are a couple of ways to protect leather items from water.
Beeswax creams create a protective layer against water, but it can impact the color of dyed leather. Test on a hidden corner first to avoid ruining your bag.
You can also use a spray protectant. The protection will be somewhat weaker but spray protectants are invisible on leather and allow it to breathe.
Storing leather bags
Leather bags should be stored properly in order to avoid damage and deformation. To maintain shape, stuff your bag with butter paper and keep it in its original dustbag. Don’t use newspaper as stuffing, because it will smear.
It’s best to keep items in the box they came in, together with silica gel packets which absorb moisture. Stored items should still be aired once in two weeks. The easiest way to keep your leather bags in good condition is rotation. If you use the same bag every day it will show signs of wear quickly, but if you switch things up every month your bags will last longer and the stored ones will get aired out.
If you spill water on your leather bag, wipe gently and let it dry by itself. High heat or direct sunlight will damage the leather beyond repair.
If your bag is constantly rubbing off your jeans, this can cause leather transfer to occur. Try to resist this urge to avoid ruining your leather bag.
How to Take Care of Leather Bags
Learning how to take care of leather bags is quite simple. Of course, there are multiple things to know. And sometimes it may seem overwhelming. After all, why in the world should we spend so much time and energy to take care of a thing that is supposed to serve us. Well, it is true. But on the other hand, little small things will make your bag last so much longer. It will become a part of your life story.
If you already have a bag and want it to really last and stay in good shape, consider ordering leather care balsam.