There is a reason that leather handbags have endured as a popular fashion choice. They have a beautiful timeless look and can survive decades of use when carefully cared for. Leather requires specific cleaning and conditioning steps to keep it looking and feeling great. Here’s what you can do to best maintain your leather handbag and ensure that your elegant piece lasts for years.
Although they are certainly a fashion piece, leather handbags are subjected to the rigor of everyday use. There are several ways to ensure that the stress placed on your bag is minimal while being a practical accessory for daily life.
One of the easiest ways a leather handbag is damaged is through absorbing the oils and other liquids that touch it. Over time, the result is a permanent dark stain. Oil stains also tend to attract dirt, which gives your bag a dirty appearance. The oil in your hands can be the worst culprit simply because of the frequency with which you handle it. You can solve this problem by simply making a concerted effort to keep your hands clean while you use your handbag.
Oil is not the only enemy of leather. Leaks from pens or makeup can cause irreversible damage to your leather handbag. Using zippered pouches or snap shut cases to hold your makeup and pens is a way to keep potential stains from occurring.
Your bag goes with you everywhere – to the salon, work, and even the bathroom. Placing your bag in a spot where it will not get a stray squirt of perfume or dollop of lotion on it is essential to keeping it stain free. All sorts of beauty products can damage your bag, including hair products, hair dyes, perfume, anything that comes in a spray bottle, and lotion.
As you have probably gathered, moisture is the enemy of leather. Not only can it stain your handbag, it can also affect the shape. It is best to leave your handbag at home in inclement weather to help keep it from getting wet. If it does happen to get wet, don’t panic! Once will probably not damage your bag irreversibly. Using a towel to blot away the moisture and leaving it to air dry is the best way to treat your handbag if it gets wet.
Let’s face it, it’s so easy to want to throw everything and the kitchen sink in your handbag. However, leather can stretch and tear. Overstuffing your bag or routinely filling it with heavy items can permanently affect its shape. Being mindful of what goes in your bag can go a long way towards making sure it lasts a long time.
Even if you follow these daily preservation tips religiously, your leather handbag will inevitably have some wear and tear from daily use. Learning how to properly clean and condition your handbag will keep it looking and feeling better than ever.
Despite your best efforts, sometimes your handbag will get a stain. The best way to get rid of the spot is to place powdered white chalk on the stain. Leave the white powder on the stain all night and then brush it off in the morning. Try to treat the stain as soon as you can as the longer it sits, the more difficult it is to remove.
Using a quality leather cleaner can give your bag a fresh and new appearance. Cleaners are typically rubbed onto the bag, allowed to sit, and then wiped off. Be sure to follow the directions on the bottle and to always clean your bag with a cleaning product specifically meant for leather.
Leather should be soft and supple. Over time, your leather bag can become stiff and cracked if not routinely treated with a leather conditioner. Be sure to choose a conditioner meant for handbags and test the conditioner on a concealed spot first. Applying the conditioner annually or semi-annually is usually sufficient for average use.
If you know you will be using your handbag more rigorously, you may want to consider applying a protective spray. A protective spray will provide an extra layer between the leather and the elements. Try the spray on a hidden spot first to make sure that it will not negatively affect the color or texture.
After you have spent all of this time and effort in preserving your beautiful leather handbag, the last thing you want to do is stuff it into the back of your closet. Carefully storing your handbag will help to preserve and lengthen its life.
If your handbag is damp or wet from cleaning, make sure it is dry before placing it in your closet. A damp leather handbag will smell and can even grow mildew.
Filling your bag with tissue paper will help to preserve its shape. Make sure to fill all of the pockets and compartments for optimum effect.
Buckles and chains can leave an unsightly permanent mark on leather. By wrapping the metal details in tissue paper, you ensure that that the metal will not touch the leather during storage.
The final way to defend against moisture is to store your leather handbag in a closet or box that breathes. Poke holes in the box or place it on an open shelf, and avoid putting your bag in a bin.
A fine leather handbag is a beautiful piece for any fashionista to treasure. Caring for your leather handbag diligently will result in years of use and a bag that looks and feels great.