A leather handbag is a statement piece many people covet. This timeless material never seems to go out of season, even as trends change. Of course, when making an investment in a piece like this, it needs to be properly cared for so you can use it for many years to come. The correct cleaning and storage methods can add years to the life of leather, so it’s important you know the right way to care for and store your bag.
We asked the handbag experts, Bags To Go, for their top tips on caring for leather bags.
Prevention is better than cure
Your new leather handbag will last much longer if you take steps to avoid damage. Keep your bag away from clothing such as dark jeans, the colour can accidentally be transferred onto your bag. Where possible, avoid placing your bag on the ground, that can get it looking dirty very quickly. Don’t keep bottles of perfume or moisturiser in your bag either – any spill can ruin the leather!
Clean gently and condition
Lots of people want to know the secret to cleaning leather. Unfortunately, there isn’t one magic product that works for every leather type. It’s best to use a cleaner and conditioner recommended by the manufacturer to avoid affecting the colour of the leather.
Condition the bag around once every month or six weeks (unless the manufacturer recommends otherwise). That will help lock in the natural oils of the leather, which can help keep it supple. Give the bag a quick once-over with a soft dry cloth every couple of days to remove any dust as well.
Protect your bag from the weather
While there are a number of protectants on the market, keep in mind that leather is porous. Heavy rain or high levels of humidity can still cause damage, even after a leather protector has been applied. If your handbag does get wet, allow it to air dry rather than trying to dry it with a hairdryer. Heat and sunlight can cause the leather to dry out, so try to keep your bag somewhere cool. Humid environments can encourage mould growth, particularly if the bag is in storage. Regular conditioning should also help keep mould at bay.
Store your bag carefully
When you get a brand new bag, it’s understandable you want to use it all the time. At some point though, you will probably want to store it (particularly to avoid the bag wearing out early). Don’t simply throw it into the bottom of a drawer or cupboard; leather can become scratched very easily. Instead, give the bag a quick clean and place it in a dustbag once dry. If your handbag didn’t come with a soft dustbag, you can use a clean pillowcase instead. Fill the inside of the bag with more pillowcases or acid-free tissue paper to help it holds its shape. Bubble wrap will also work, but avoid using newspaper as the ink can rub off on the bag. Also pop in a silica gel packet if you have one spare, as this will help absorb any moisture.
These tips can help keep your gorgeous new leather handbag in great condition. After all, who wants to carry a worn out, dirty-looking handbag?