At last, you’ve bought The Bag. You’ve toted The Bag. You’ve outright flaunted The Bag. Since the moment you slung it over your shoulder, your bag has lived just like you – in action. Luckily, ZAAF’s products have been made for a long and tough life and with a little care you will keep it looking good for many years. We have listed 13 simple leather care tips for you.

  1. Proper storage. It all starts with avoiding any damage. And so it starts with storing your precious bag in a dry and dust-free place. You want to avoid a humid environment, because moisture will attract mildew, and this is a bear to remove from any other kind of leather. For suede products, it is good to know that its colors can fade quickly, and it’s best to store them in the dark. Never store or transport suede products in plastic; instead cover them with a pillow case.
  2. Avoid water. It’s simple- don’t take your gorgeous bag into the rain if there is no emergency.
  3. Got wet anyways? Should you get a leather product soaked in a downpour, then blot as much water as is possible with paper or cloth towels, then simply let the article dry at room temperature, away from direct sunlight. And do not put leather in front of heaters.
  4. Test before cleaning. When cleaning your product, always test in an inconspicuous area first to make sure it won’t cause more damage than good.
  5. And check the label. It’s kinda obvious, but please do so: when using a cleaning product, check the label first to make sure it’s suitable for the leather products you want to clean.
  6. Don’t use harsh chemicals. Full stop. Leather is a naturally occurring material, hence, it must not be treated with chemicals. It needs to breathe, so look for all-natural cleaner’s void of alcohol, turpentine, or other mineral spirits.
  7. Regular maintenance. Your bag needs a gentle cleaning as often as your closet – about once a quarter. The recommended products below come highly rated. Apply your cleaner of choice to a microfiber cloth. Rub the excess liquid into the cloth before gently wiping along the grain using smooth, even strokes. Areas that come in contact with body oils, such as handles, may require extra attention. Once you’ve finished working the cleaner across all surfaces, allow the bag to air dry. To buff up the brass or other metallic accoutrements, use a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser. You can nick particles, lint, and other mystery crumbles from the inside with a lint roller.
  8. Conditioning is crucial. Because leather, too, is skin and just like your skin in the harsh of winter, it needs conditioning to prevent dryness and cracking. We have recommended a few products below. Apply a very small amount of conditioner to a clean microfiber cloth (preferably not the one you used to clean your bag even if it has been laundered). Most conditioners are creams and so excess need not be rubbed into the cloth prior to application. With the same smooth, even strokes you used to clean your bag, gently wipe the conditioner along the grain, giving extra attention to excessively dry areas – usually corners and edges. Leave the bag to air dry.
  9. Woops, I spilled something. Ok, that can happen, especially for the clumsy among us. If a specific leather cleaner is unavailable to you, you can simply use a mild soap or dishwashing liquid. Most marks can be easily removed using just a damp soft cloth. Use a sponge or a soft rag with the soap diluted in water (1:10) to wipe clean the leather surface. Then rub the leather thoroughly dry with a towel.
  10. But I have a suede bag! That’s ok (good choice by the way). When you are attempting to clean suede on your own, we must stress here that it can cause irreparable damage, so it is always safer to take your product to a professional dry cleaner. But if this option is unavailable to you, instead of advice #9, you can clean your suede product at home by following these steps: 1) Rub the surface with a clean bath towel. 2) With the judicious use of a clean pencil eraser, try to remove small, dry stains. 3) Stains may also be rubbed off with a damp towel and some white vinegar. After drying, there might be a reek of vinegar for a while, but this will fade. 4) If there are lumps of dirt or dry scuff marks that won’t come off this way, try rasping them off with a fingernail file. But be gentle!
  11. Got an oily stain? That’s no fun. But rescue is near: First: try blotting the stain with a dry clean cloth to absorb what is spilled. Then use talcum powder, powdered blackboard chalk or corn starch to completely cover the stain, this will draw it out even more. Leave it for 2 hours, then brush the powder off. Repeat until the stain is gone (applicable for suede as well).
  12. Noooo! There is mold. This is something you really, really, want to avoid, as it can truly destroy your leather product. There are a few tips and tricks here. Create a mixture of one-cup rubbing alcohol per one-cup of water. Wipe the mildew area with a cloth dipped in the diluted alcohol, then allow it to dry. If the mildew persists, use mild soap and water that contains a germicide, then remove with a clean dampened cloth and allow to dry. (Don’t try this on suede though. In that case, run to a professional cleaner).
  13. Having trouble? We can’t say this enough- if you are having trouble removing stains from your leather product, take it to a professional cleaner is the right thing to do.

 

Now you and your bag are good to go. Your newly cleaned and conditioned bag should be as soft and supple as the day your first slipped your fingers around the handle. With a consistent care regimen your bag can last several vibrant decades of toting. Well cared for, high quality leather, such as that from which ZAAF bags are crafted, does not wear out. Rather, it develops a natural patina due to oxidization. This mildly distressed look isn’t anything to despair over as you might over the oxidization of your beach cruiser bicycle. It’s an enviously chic look, very much part of what makes your bag one of a kind. Essentially, patina tells your bag’s story – your story.

 

Product recommendations:

Leather cleaners:

  • For regular refreshment of lighter-colored leather try Chamberlain’s Leather Milk Leather Care No. 1 (doubles a conditioner)
  • For dark-colored leather potentially exposed to harsher weather conditions try Chamberlains Leather Milk Care No. 3 (be advised that this product will darken lighter leather pieces).
  • For cleaning any color leather try Leather Honey Leather Cleaner

Leather conditioning products:

  • Leather Honey Conditioner
  • Aldo Leather Conditioner (a cleaner and conditioner in one)

Balenciaga Conditioner