A quality leather bag is the product of centuries-old tradition performed by skilled artisans: so treat it right. No, you don’t have to baby your leather, but you may need to brush up on proper leather bag care. Your top 3 concerns ought to be cleaning, how to condition, and how to store your leather bag. Here are a few tips we’ve learned along the way:
- Soft, clean cloth
- Leather cleaner
- Leather conditioner
- Parchment paper or bubble wrap
- Dust bag (or pillowcase)
Be sure you’re cleaning your leather bag with clean hands. Leather bags are susceptible to absorbing grease and oil.
Do a quick cleaning every other day, briskly sweeping your leather messenger bag, briefcase or backpack with a soft, dry, or slightly damp cloth. (Do not use too much water; leather takes time to dry.)
Once or twice a year, do a more thorough cleaning to remove dirt buildup. Wipe down your leather bag with a cleaner made specifically for leather. Apply in a circular motion, and wipe off with a slightly damp cloth to avoid clogging the pores of the leather.
Leather conditioner is like moisturizer for your leather bag. Without it, the leather will dry out over time.
To prevent flaking and wrinkling, apply leather conditioner to a soft cloth and gently rub over entire bag.
Depending on the dryness or humidity in your climate, apply conditioner at least twice a year, up to once a month or so, to keep your leather bag soft and supple.
Stuff your leather handbag with bubble wrap or parchment paper (but not newspaper, as it will smear) to restore and hold its shape.
Place your stuffed leather bag in its original dust bag, and then store in its original box, along with silica gel packets to avoid dampness.
Air your leather bag once every two weeks to prevent mold growth.
Take care to not let water absorb into the leather. If your handbag or jacket gets very wet, wipe off excess moisture as soon as possible. Do not dry the leather with a hairdryer; let it air dry, and then apply a leather conditioner.
Do not use cleaning products that contain alcohol, as these will dry out and possibly discolor your leather purse or bag.
Our leather bag care recommendations apply whether you’re working with a leather handbag, leather purse, or leather jacket. As long as your cleaner and conditioner are formulated for real leather, you’re all set.
You don’t need to baby your leather bag, but be aware that heavy exposure to the elements will age the leather dramatically. Adjust your leather care and cleaning habits accordingly.