The 123’s on How to TLC For Your Leather Part 1: Cleaning Your Goods

At last, you’ve bought The Bag. You’ve toted The Bag. You’ve outright flaunted The Bag. From the day you unwrapped that brown postal parcel, filled it with your goodies and must-haves, and slung it over your shoulder, your bag has lived just like you – in action. After a few intense months of fabulous living, you and your bag are due for spring-cleaning. For you, the spa. For your bag, some luxury leather care is in order.

Leather bags, especially because they accompany you into the Urban Jungle’s variable environments, require regular maintenance. Over the course of two installments we’ll cover how to keep your handsome counterpart buff and lustrous.

General Cleaning

How often: Your bag needs a gentle cleaning as often as your closet – about once a quarter.

What products: At one time, all genuine leather was a living hide. It is a naturally occurring material, hence, it must not be treated with chemicals. It needs to breathe, so look for all-natural cleaners void of alcohol, turpentine, or other mineral spirits. Some leather cleaning products are conditioners as well (see below for a list of recommended products).

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. Though the recommended products below come highly rated, we always patch test new cleaners in an inconspicuous area just in case. Once you’ve finished working the cleaner across all surfaces, allow the bag to air dry. Do not apply heat (such as a blow dryer) or place near a heat source (such as a fireplace or heating vent).

To buff up the brass or other metallic accouterments, use a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser. You can nick particles, lint, and other mystery crumbles from the inside with a lint roller.

Some leather cleaning products are conditioners as well. However, for thorough leather-care enlightenment, look for part two in this series.

Recommended leather cleaning products:

  • For regular refreshment of lighter-colored leather try Chamberlain’s Leather Milk Leather Care No. 1 (doubles as 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

*Note: suede requires different cleaners and techniques.