Congratulations with rewarding yourself with a new Italian bag! Your leather bag looks gorgeous, but if you wish it to stay looking beautiful for the years to come, you are going to have to take care of it properly.
Storing your leather bag
Store your leather bag in a dust bag. Leather is a natural material and should never be stored in plastic because it encourages the growth of mildew and bacteria, and it could ruin the leather. For storage, do not stuff your bag with paper because paper may attract moths. Instead, use bubble wrap. It does not attract moth the same way paper tissue does.
Store your leather bag in a cool, dry environment, away from dust, dirt, moisture, and away from heat. Make sure that your leather bag is stored away from direct sunlight to prevent the color from fading. Keep leather away from extreme heat as it could dry out the natural oils.
For long-term storage, do not store your bag in a "tight" place. You may also want to cover locks, buckles and other hardware with some protective materials so that impressions on the leather are not created.
Don’t leave your leather bag (especially patent leather bags) in contact with other kinds of leather or with plastic and nylon bags. Their color could be absorbed by your leather bag causing permanent stains).
Taking care of your bag
Leather is a natural material, and some irregularities in the grain, natural marks, or variations are normal and typical of natural leather. It is to be expected that small imperfections could be visible on the surface of your leather bag.
Remember, leather products should not be cleaned with water or solvents. There are various types and grades of leathers, and some require a bit more maintenance than others. Household chemicals should never be used to clean leather, and any liquids that contain alcohol should be avoided.
Nourish your leather bag ever so often with neutral color cream (shoe cream or leather conditioner) to help maintain the bag’s natural oils. Leather conditioners contain fats and oils that help lubricate leather. Look for a product that will penetrate the leather, but beware of any that include petroleum or mineral oils. Such products may damage your leather bag over a period of time. Always make sure to read the instructions stated on the product’s label. Some neutral color leather conditioners should not be used on the lighter color leather.
Before applying anything to your leather bag, be certain to test it out for effect and possible color distortion on an area that is not very visible. Once you are absolutely sure that the leather care product is acceptable to use, apply it to your bag. With a slightly dampened cloth, remove the cleaning product from the areas with stitches.
Moister, rain, and other liquid hazards will damage your bag’s leather. Consider applying moister barrier products beforehand. Allow sufficient time to penetrate and to dry before using your bag. If the leather does get wet, you should take immediate action. It is very important to treat wet leather before it has a chance to dry. Wipe your bag with a soft cloth, then condition while the pores are still fully responsive. Remember that leather should always be dried away from any heat. Pack the inside of your bag with soft tissue paper to absorb any further wetness and leave it to dry naturally in the ventilated area.
Regularly dust or brush with a soft brush, or wipe clean with a slightly damp cloth.
Make sure to use nubuck-cleaning cloth. It will restore your nubuck leather bag to its original look.
Brush your suede bag regularly with a soft suede brush or rub gently with a plastic foam block. Minor stains and marks may be removed with a hard rubber eraser.
Clean with a damp cloth, plus a little neutral detergent if needed.
For patent leather cleaning and polishing, use sprays recommended for this type of leather. Such sprays are widely available on the market today. Use spray by gently rubbing it over the surface of your bag with a soft cloth. Polish your bag a few minutes later using a soft cloth.
If you do use any of the metal cleaning products to take care of your bag’s hardware, be sure to cover the leather of your bag with a protective layer of material to avoid any damage to the leather.
Do not overfill your leather bag as it could stretch out and lose its shape.
Avoid spraying perfume or hair spray near leather as it can affect the color.
Handle your bag, especially lighter bags, with clean hands.
If you are constantly changing your handbags, consider buying a handbag liner. Handbag liners/organizers enable you to change your handbag contents quickly. You can move essential items from one bag to another in one “operation”. Handbag liner could also protect your bag from makeup, creams, and lotions. You could search the internet, and you will quickly find many websites selling handbag liners/organizers at around $15- $25.
A leather handbag can really last you a lifetime, as long as you take good care of it and perform proper and regular maintenance with the right products.