Believe it or not, leather responds surprisingly well to treatment and you can even revitalize a leather bag to look brand-new again. It’s true, this durable material is incredibly resilient but due to either time or neglect, the appearance of leather will eventually change and even deteriorate.
But what can happen exactly and how can you revitalize a leather bag?
Well, leather has a tendency to stiffen over time and this is usually what happens when the bag becomes especially wet or dry. On the other hand, leather is vulnerable to all the same stains, dirt or abrasions as any other accessory and will inevitably need to tender loving care.
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As for how to revitalize a leather bag, regular care and cleaning are usually enough to make a leather bag look new again. That being said, let’s take a closer look at the process.
The truth is, the condition of a leather bag will also depend on the owner. That is to say, leather tends to last a lot longer when you take care of the bag and even after cleaning, regular care and attention are still needed to ensure it doesn’t happen again.
At the same time, you should know that certain changes in the appearance of leather are perfectly normal. You see, leather will eventually patina over time which can result in an uneven coloration of a leather bag. However, this is a sign of quality and something which happens all leather products.
How to Take Care of Vegetable Tanned Leather Bag
Vegetable tanned leather bags have a slight protective coating but this will only last so long. For this reason, it’s best to avoid getting a leather handbag wet at the beginning as it takes time for the fibers to loosen which makes leather less vulnerable to water.
With that said, if you do notice any stains in the first month, you should know that dye can sometimes feature on the edges of a leather bag. In fact, this is common with vegetable tanned leather bags and a reason why they tend to age so well. While these remnants of dye will disappear after a month or two, just be careful in terms of where you leave a new leather bag at the beginning.
What to Use When Cleaning a Leather Bag
First of all, you should never use a bleach-based cleaner or ammonia to clean leather. Also, water can stain leather so try to ensure the material is moist rather than wet during the process.
This is a great way to get rid of ink stains and scuffs. Dip a cotton swab in nail polish remover or rubbing alcohol and lightly blot the stain. Don’t rub, or you could make the ink spread. Blot gently till the stain is gone. Wipe with a clean, damp cloth and dry with a towel.
Cornstarch or Baking Soda
You can use cornstarch or baking soda to remove greasy stains or patches of oil from a leather bag. Simply place one of these solutions over the affected spot and begin rubbing this into the leather with a damp cloth. After leaving the bag to dry overnight, you should notice that the starch or soda has absorbed the oil or stain and left little more than some powder remnants which can be wiped away.
Cream of Tartar and Lemon Juice
You can also mix tartar cream and lemon juice into a paste which is especially good for removing stains. After applying some of this solution to the stain, leave the paste to work for thirty minutes before wiping away the remnants with a damp cloth. Simply put, this paste acts as a mild form of bleaching and is especially effective on light colored leather bags.
Meanwhile, there are also leather-cleaning products which can be used to clean a leather bag. While various colors are available, choose a neutral cleaner and test this solution on a small patch before applying the same process to the rest of the bag.
And that’s just part of the story……
You will need a sponge, cloths, saddle soap and a special dressing with neatsfoot oil to clean a leather bag. In case you might be asking yourself, this dressing can be picked up in many department stores and saddle soap is simply a specialized soap for cleaning leather.
Here are some quick steps for the right way to clean a leather bag using cleaning products:
How to Clean a Leather Bag Without Ruining It
1. Rub the Leather with Some Saddle Soap
Use a damp cloth and some saddle soap to clean the leather. However, make sure to squeeze all excess moisture out of the cloth to avoid getting the leather too wet.
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2. Wipe Away All Soap and Moisture from the Bag
Wipe away all the saddle soap with a separate damp cloth and repeat this many times, squeezing out the moisture as you go. Ensure every last bit of the soap and moisture is removed from the bag.
3. Use a Dry Cloth to Buff Up the Leather
Take a dry cloth and start to buff up the leather. Ensure there is absolutely no moisture left on the bag and any straps or buttons that might be attached to the leather bag.
4. Apply Some Dressing With Your Fingers
When the leather is completely dry, you can use your fingers to apply a dressing with neatsfoot oil to the surface. It will take a number of hours to soak into the leather but when the material softens, apply this process once again.
5. Leave the Leather Bag to Dry
Finally, leave the bag out overnight to dry and try not to leave anything touching off the material.
It’s true, you need to take care of a leather bag to ensure it stands the test of time but as you can see, reinvigorating this material is relatively easy. In fact, this is yet another reason to love leather and continue showing off one of your favorite accessories.