A leather bag is an investment, and can have a long life if taken care of properly. Typically, when you buy a leather bag, you are willing to pay a bit more because of the durability that leather provides. Since you are treating your leather purchase as an investment, you need to know how to properly care for your bag.
What type of leather is your bag?
It’s important that you know what type of leather you are working with, because some methods of care cannot be utilized with all leathers.
- Vegetable-Tanned: Most leather bags will be tanned this way. Be cautious because vegetable-tanned leather can shrivel or change color when soaked in water.
- Chrome-Tanned: This type of tanned makes the leather water resistant.
- Full Grain: This is the highest grade of leather and is the most expensive. The hide has not been buffed and will show natural markings.
- Top Grain: This grade is less expensive than the full grain. The leather is thinner, and the natural markings have been sanded away.
How to Clean
The bag will need to be wiped down with a cleaner that is made for the type of leather you are dealing with. There are many homemade methods available, but you will want to be careful when trying untested methods. If you do choose to do this, make sure you start on a small area of the bag. This will let you see how the leather is going to react to the cleaner.
Don’t forget about the hardware on the bag. You will want to polish these areas according to what type of metal is used. Make sure not to get any of the metal polish on the leather. You can quickly brush your bag off with a soft-dry cloth on a regular basis, as this will help preserve the leather as well.
How to Condition
Conditioning your leather bag is important. Conditioning is a basic method of adding moisture to the leather. If you do not do this on a regular basis, your leather may crack. Put a small amount of conditioner on a soft cloth and gently blot. You never want to rub, as this can cause damage to the leather. It is recommended that you condition your leather bag every month to keep it looking pristine.
How to Weatherproof
Leather bags are typically not all the way waterproof. There are a few methods that you can use to ensure that your bag does not get damaged in bad weather. The first method is beeswax cream, but you have to use this with caution because it can change the color of the leather. Therefore, you should test a small area on the bag to see how your leather reacts. The other method is a spray protectant. This method is less expensive, and goes on the bag invisible. You will not have to worry about the color of your leather being altered.
How to Store
You should store your leather bag in the dust bag. Before storing, use tissue paper to stuff it. This will help keep the form of the bag. Never use newspaper, as the print can transfer to the interior of the bag. If you still have the original box that the bag came in, use it to store your bag. If not, store in an area where the bag will not be smashed. If storing for long periods of time, you will want to air out the bag periodically.