When it comes to handsome and functional accessories, it's hard to beat the look and feel of genuine leather.
If properly cared for, leather softens and ages beautifully over time. However, it is not a set-it-and-forget-it material. Leather requires some upkeep and attention for long-term durability.
Unless it explicitly says water-proof (not water-resistant), you should regularly safeguard your accessories from the elements, especially precipitation, which can cause permanent damage if left untreated.
Leather accessories don't experience as much wear-and-tear as footwear, but anything you wear outside needs to be cleaned and maintained to stay looking fresh. As we transition from one season to the next, here are some easy steps you can take to get the most out of your leather and keep it looking great for years to come.
Prevention is Key
Before you try to reverse damage caused by water, scuffs, or dirt, make sure to treat your new accessories before something happens in the first place.
As soon as you bring your new item home, take the opportunity to use an all-purpose leather protector. For easy application, look for a spray protector to get full coverage without fussing with messy creams or balms.
To apply the protector:
- Hold the can about 30 cm away from the bag.
- Spray the product onto the leather.
- Get even coverage around the entire outside of the bag, but make sure not to over-saturate the leather.
- Reapply the product at least four times a year (or more if you live in a rainy climate).
Leather is a skin. Like with our own skin, we need to keep it clean and moisturized to look its best.
Leather is porous, so it absorbs dirt and oil. When you clean your accessories, make sure to wash your hands first. Once your hands are clean, you are ready to start treating your leather goods.
- Thoroughly wipe down the surface of the item with a damp cloth. Do not use a wet cloth. Excess water applied to leather can cause staining.
- Use a leather conditioner to soften and moisturize. Coat a clean cloth or rag in the conditioner and apply it liberally to the bag's surface.
- Next, use a dry cloth to buff and shine the leather.
- Respray with your all-purpose protector.
Shit happens. No matter how careful you are, there is a chance that you will get a scuff, stain, or spill on your bag. The important thing is that you act fast when damage occurs.
Do not give a stain time to settle into the surface of the leather. Once it becomes fully set, it is nearly impossible to remove.
DO NOT use a blow dryer to speed up the drying process; this will wrinkle the leather and cause the stain to set faster. If you get liquid on your bag:
- Gently dab away the excess with a clean, dry cloth.
- Apply your leather conditioner with a cloth and massage it into the surface.
- Let it dry overnight. The conditioner should penetrate through the pores and will replenish the stripped oils.
Never apply water to a grease stain. If you get oil or grease on your leather accessories:
- Wipe the oil or grease off the leather's surface with a clean, dry microfiber cloth.
- Sprinkle a generous amount of baking soda or cornstarch onto the grease spot and pat it in.
- Let it sit overnight.
- Gently wipe it clean.
Pen stains are common, especially on bags and briefcases. If you get ink on your leather accessories, act fast to avoid the mark penetrating the leather and causing permanent damage.
- Mix one part rubbing alcohol with one part lukewarm water.
- Dip a cotton swab into the alcohol/water mixture and rub it over the ink stain in a circular motion.
- Allow the leather to dry naturally.
- Once it's dry, apply a leather conditioner to the area to counteract any drying caused by the rubbing alcohol.
Scuffs and Scratches
We believe that some light scratching or scuffing adds to leather's beauty. However, if you don't like the look, there are some things you can do to minimize scuffs or scrapes.
- Add a small amount of leather oil to the scratch and rub in a circular motion.
- Leave to dry completely.
- Apply leather conditioner or Vaseline in a circular motion.
- Remove excess oil and conditioner with a dry cloth.