You've invested in a stylish leather bag, which you admire and love! As with anything else, time and general elements will want to make their mark and your beloved bag will start the aging process. Certain leather product types just get better with age, but all kinds will give you added years with just a basic level of care.
There are different kinds of leather and different kinds of finish requiring different kinds of specialist care. If the manufacturer of your bag has given instructions then observe and take heed! A few general everyday caring tactics will help to ensure that your cool leather bag remains in top condition.
A good leather conditioner applied every couple of months will go a long way to help on day to day maintenance. Like anything else the best form of attack is defence. Try as much as possible to keep your leather handbag away from direct sunlight, rain, dusty and dirty environments. For when this just can't be done, follow these simple hacks.
If it gets wet…
If you get caught in the rain and your bag gets very wet, dry it carefully in a warm dry area, near to (but not on) a radiator. Direct heat contacting the leather bag can cause it to dry excessively, crack and go stiff. If it is excessively wet, then it is best to empty it and stuff it with something that will help to maintain the shape.
Waterproofing a leather bag
As much as possible, try to keep your leather bag dry. Not always possible though, so add a treatment of water barrier cream or oil, which can be purchased from supermarkets of leather specialist outlets. Make sure that the said oil is appropriate for the kind of leather that you are treating.
If you have a natural vintage leather bag that dries out after time…
If your vintage leather bag dries out after time just with the natural elements, it may start to feel rough. It can also be a result of being artificially dried too many times. To keep your leather bag in its best condition, it is important to exchange the herbal oils which have will have been washed away. A natural coloured vintage leather bag may just need a drop of vegetable or rapeseed oil depending on manufacturer's guidelines.
Other coloured and polished bags will require specific leather lotion for the job. Check here and don't make short cuts, it could permanently stain the leather. Whenever using any kind of cream or oil, try it out of sight first. Just to be on the safe side.
Natural leather aroma
With new leather bags sometimes comes that special aroma. It’s part of the rich experience associated with buying real leather. When the production process uses natural oils rather than chemicals the aroma can be a little overwhelming for some. If the novelty should wear off before the scent does then here are a few ideas:
- A simple freshener such as Febreze. - A quick short spray inside the bag, being careful not to soak it. Try a little at first and if after 24hrs you need more, then do it a little at a time.
- Baking Powder – Leave an open pack of baking powder inside the bag, which will absorb a large amount of the smell. Depending on the kind of bag that you have, a light dusting inside could also go a long way.
- Leave the bag in an open airy environment. If it's closed then it will just keep absorbing its own smell. If you can leave it outside in fresh air, then this will help very much.
- Odour eaters for shoes. If it can kick the smell of feet then it can certainly help the leather aroma.
Treating scratches in leather
These can be authenticating marks in natural goat leather. Typical are light scratches on the surface and are hallmarks that make your bag unique. This adds to the delightful appeal of distressed and vintage leather. However if you prefer, these can sometimes be reduced just by rubbing it with your finger. Alternatively a drop of vegetable oil, sunflower oil, baby oil or rapeseed on cotton wool rubbed over the scratch can reduce its appearance (if you really want to!)
On polished or treated leather, a scratch can look very much out of place. Products like boot polish, Vaseline or saddle soap may treat this. When applying any kind of liquid treatment always work in the direction of the grain, otherwise you could leave it badly marked. Any kind of application can alter the appearance of leather so give it a try in an out of sight area first.
Face cream and balm can also help to remove a scratch. Usually it's just a case of blending the scratch in with the rest of the leather. Check colouring when using any kind of cream, by trying it out in a hidden area.
A few general tips
Dye from dark clothing can rub off on light coloured leather and be very difficult to remove. Careful with the colours!
If you have just applied hand cream then let it dry before picking up your leather handbag, otherwise the grease can stain it.
Keep you handbag stuffed if you are not going to use it for a while
Try to keep your leather bag free of dust, if it came with a protective cotton bag then use it! If not, you could try a pillow case.