Monday, 19 April 2010

How to Clean Leather Bags and Handbags

Leather bags and handbags will last a long time if looked after and nurtured. Cleaning is an essential part of caring for your leather products. It not only removes dirt and oils (which can, over time, break down the leathers protective coating) but will also help to maintain the moisture balance in the leather and keeps the leather supple. However, as leather now comes in a variety of fashion effects such as Polished, Distressed, Washed, Cracked, Antiqued, Matte, Crushed and Crinkly it’s difficult to know the best way to care for your bag or handbag without causing irreparable damage. So here are some handy tips to help you.

Firstly, check to see if there is a care label with your leather product. Some leather products require specialist cleaning only. You can look up specialist cleaning companies on the internet or try asking your local dry cleaners if they can recommend one which deals with leather products. Suede and Nubuck leathers are best left to a specialist for cleaning although general dust and dirt can be gently and safely removed with a soft-bristled baby brush for day-to-day care.

When using a cleaning product, always test a small unnoticeable area prior to use to check for colourfastness of the leather. During the cleaning process keep a careful eye on what is coming off on your sponge and what is happening to the surface being cleaned.

For Finished Leather (Polished) use Antiquax Leather Cream which is a blend of natural lanoline and waxes. It will protect and preserve your fine leather furniture and is also ideal for use on other leather goods such as handbags, briefcases, shoes etc. The oils in Antiquax Leather Cream feed the grain keeping the fibres supple and restoring the natural oils lost due to the drying effects of central heating and exposure to sunlight. Antiquax Leather Cream is suitable for antique and modern leather. This is sold online at

For Hunter Leather (Visconti Oil Bags) use Timberland Waxed Leather Protector. This is sold in shoe shops which sell Timberland products. This easy-to-apply waterproof treatment contains oils and waxes to soften and protect oiled and waxed leathers.

For Unfinished Leathers (designer effect leather such as Washed, Cracked, Crushed and Matte may fall into this category) use a moist but not excessively wet, sponge to remove surface dirt and dust. Do not apply cleaning products containing oils as this will soak in and stain the hide. In most cases you are only able to clean dirt off the surface of leather, not out of it. Some foam cleaners may be used to give a deeper clean but check out the instructions prior to use and test a small, unnoticeable area before applying to the whole bag. It’s also best not to scrub spots or localised areas or you may end up with an unsightly colour difference.

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