How to Care for Your Leather
Caring for Your Leather Bags
With proper care, you can extend the life of your leather goods, whether they have a suede or smooth finish. Leather company Aspinal of London gives the following tips to ensure your investment lasts for years.
- Leather is a skin that can stretch. Avoid overfilling your handbag, purse or wallet to maintain its original silhouette
- Take extra care with leather items you use often. Take the time each week to wipe away dust and spots with a soft cloth or brush
- Scratches can detract from a flawlessly crafted piece. Take care to avoid contact with heavily embellished clothes, sharp surfaces, or chunky jewelry.
- Wet leather requires extra care, so if rain is forecast, remember to take an umbrella
Storing your leather correctly is one of the easiest ways to prevent damage and maintain a high-quality finish:
- Store leather away from direct sunlight as this can cause fading
- Store handbags in a dust bag to avoid scratches
- Avoid using plastic bags, they prevent good ventilation
- Store leather away from artificial sources of heat, e.g. furnace vents can cause leather to dry and crack
Although it's tempting to leave handbags packed with daily essentials ready for the next day, instead take the time to empty them completely to avoid warping. Once empty, you can maintain the handbag's silhouette by gently filling it with plain, acid-free tissue paper.
If you are planning to leave your bag in storage for an extended period - until next season, for example - you might also like to take the time to wrap hardware such as zips and clasps in tissue paper to avoid them creating any unwanted imprints on your leather.
The next stage is to cover your bag, preferably in the dust bag in which it arrived with - these are cut to the right size to avoid squashing and warping. If you no longer have the original dust bag, a white cotton pillowcase is a great substitute.
Once covered, place your covered bag away from direct sunlight and artificial sources of heat. Be sure to stand it on its base rather than hanging it up, as this can stretch the handles. Finally, take care to choose a spot that is tall enough to allow the handles to stand up unimpeded. Doing otherwise can cause them to become bent or misshapen.
Dos and Dont's
- Do regularly clean leather with a soft brush or cloth
- Do regularly air out leather
- Do blot away water or moisture as soon as possible
- Do dry wet leather naturally, away from artificial heat
- Do keep leather supple with a specialized leather conditioner every 3-6 months
- Do clean spots and stains with a mixture of soap flakes and warm water
- Do use a steam cleaner to disinfect and remove buildup from regular use
- Do test any conditioners, cleaners, polishes, or wax in a hidden spot beforehand
- Don't machine wash leather
- Don't get leather wet wherever possible
- Don't dry wet leather next to a heating vent or with a hairdryer
- Don't tumble dry leather
- Don't iron leather
- Don't immerse leather in water to clean