Best way to care for your Vintage Leather Bag
Aurelius Designs - Leather Care
If you already own or are considering purchasing an Australian handmade leather bag by Aurelius Designs, you will understand that leather bags are a high-quality product that need to have the correct storage, cleaning, and care to last for years. By following the correct leather care procedures, your vintage leather bag can last for up to a lifetime!
Aurelius handmade leather bags have been mastered over centuries by skilled artisans in India. Throughout the production phase, your leather has been carefully treated using natural oils. This means, once you own your handmade leather bag it is in prime condition. It is important that from here, you continue the process of correct storage, maintenance, and care. This applies to all products in our range including leather camera bags, baby backpack, leather briefcase, leather overnight bag…the list goes on!
So, how do you properly maintain your leather products? As mentioned, there are three key pillars: storage, cleaning, and care. On this page, you will find everything you need to know about these three important leather care pillars and in turn, feel confident to maintain your leather at home.
About Leather Products
Firstly, to understand why leather care is so important, it is useful to have some background information on the material that is used to make the product. Here are a few essential things to know about leather:
Leather is a strong, flexible, and durable material – therefore it has been utilised for centuries among a wide range of cultures. Throughout this time, we have learned many things about how to properly store leather, care for leather and clean leather in a way that maintains the product for as long as possible.
Leather is a natural material - Although your Australian handmade leather bag is quite strong and has been crafted carefully, it can still stretch if it has the opportunity. This means you should be careful to not over-pack your bag with items that will allow any stretching. As leather is a natural material, it also means it can dry out over time if not properly moisturised and properly stored.
It is important to keep these above points in mind when reading about leather storage, cleaning and care processes.
Environmental factors can impact your leather bag, so it’s important to stay on top of the forecast. If it is predicted to rain, bring an umbrella to be safe, as this will protect your leather bag from being exposed to water. If your leather bag has been exposed to the elements, there are ways to ensure minimal damage. So, how do you care for your leather bag once it’s exposed to rain?
Simply wipe off any leftover rainwater on the bag with a soft microfibre cloth that won’t leave any scratches. Then, allow the leather to dry naturally. The process of drying the leather naturally may take several hours. It is best to leave it in a sunny area with enough air to let the bag dry slowly.
Note: Do not use a blow dryer or any similar tool to speed up the process as this will damage the leather. Next, to ensure moisture is replaced in the bag, use a conditioner on areas that the bag was exposed to. This will replenish any stripped natural oils and get your handmade leather bag looking back to its original condition. Keep in mind while conditioning that some parts of the leather bag may need more conditioner than others. If this is the case, you can simply repeat the conditioning process in these areas.
For leather bags that are used daily, it is worth a small time each day or every other day to simply wipe away dust and spots. You can do this with a soft cloth or brush. Avoid scratches on your leather bag by ensuring your piece doesn’t encounter sharp surfaces or objects, heavily embellished clothing, or coarse jewellery. For more information on cleaning your leather bag, see below.
Leather Cleaning is one of the most crucial elements to maintaining a healthy-looking bag. The first step to cleaning your Australian handmade leather product is to ensure you have clean hands. Handmade Leather is susceptible to absorbing grease and oil so clean those bad boys up before handling your leather bag.
The best way to start the cleaning process is to take slightly damp cloth and dust over the whole bag. Ensure not to use too much water as leather takes time to dry, so aim for a lightly damp cloth.
In the case that you need to dry it – the best source for this will be natural light (sunlight). If sunlight is not available, simply place in a lightly aerated space with as much natural light as possible.
Once or twice a year we would suggest a more thorough cleaning to remove dirt and residue build up. To undertake a thorough clean, you should use an organic leather bag cleaner or a home-made cleaning product (which are listed below). The best way to apply the product is in a circular motion and then simply wipe off with a slightly damp cloth. This is to avoid any clogging in the pores of your leather.
Once all cleaning products have been wiped off thoroughly with the damp cloth, finish the cleaning process by airing out your leather bag with around ten minutes of natural sunlight.
Home-made Leather Cleaning Products
To thoroughly clean your leather bag, you don’t need to invest in expensive products. Leather is a natural material and so it only makes sense to utilise natural ingredients to clean it. The best part is, you can most likely find these products in your home, ready to create your own home-made leather cleaning product. There are two options when it comes to DIY leather cleaners:
- Olive Oil + White Vinegar - 2 parts white vinegar with 1 part olive oil and put the mixture into a spray bottle. Spray the mixture over the bag and wipe off with a damp cloth.
- Moisturising Soap and Warm Water - Make use of moisturising soap and lukewarm water to clean up your leather. Mix ½ cup of soap solution in a medium sized bowl of warm water. Mix well and dab a microfiber cloth in it to then apply to the leather bag. Remember to wipe off with a damp cloth.
A Leather conditioner is like a moisturizer for your leather bag. If your leather is not properly cared for with conditioner it will dry out over time – which will lead to flaking and wrinkling.
To maintain a healthy-looking leather bag, we suggest applying a conditioner with a soft cloth and gently rub over the entire bag.
In Australia we have quite a dry and warm heat throughout the year and the sun can be harsh in the warmer seasons. Due to these environmental conditions, we would recommend applying a conditioner to the bag at least once every 3 months to keep your bag in optimal condition. If you have a less harsh climate, you can consider reducing this timeframe to 1-2 times per year.
You would hope to never have a stain on your leather, but these things happen. So, what should you do when you have a stain on your leather bag?
Stains, especially on leather can be a tricky process, though, not impossible. The number one thing to remember is to treat stains as soon as possible. No matter if it is on your leather briefcase, leather camera bag or handmade leather tote, all stains are treated the same way by a professional leather cleaner. We highly recommend that for leather stains you invest some money into a professional as they will have the correct products to remove the stain while maintaining the high-quality aesthetic of your bag.
Be smart with your storage on your leather bag by keeping it in a spot that will be out of the elements.
A great way to maintain the bag's shape is to place some bubble wrap or cushion insert into the bag when it’s not in use as this will help restore and hold its shape. Due to leather being a natural material, aeration is an important factor to consider. You will need to air out your leather bag approximately every two weeks to prevent dampness and mould growth.
Aurelius Designs is proud to present to you the above information on Leather Care, Leather Storage and Leather Cleaning. Aurelius Designs specialises in handmade leather bags, leather goods and vintage leather bags. We sell a wide range of products including leather camera bags, baby backpacks, handmade leather totes, leather briefcases and leather overnight bags. We hope the above information was useful and if you have any further questions, please feel free to contact us via our contact page.