Leather Bag Care and Cleaning

So now you’ve purchased your beautiful new leather handbag – and you want to keep it that way! Leather requires special handling and maintenance to keep it looking and wearing its best.

First of all, remember not all leather is created equal! There are different ways to care for and clean patent leather, suede leather, and finished leather bags.

Here are some tips that should keep your bag looking it are best for years to come:

Patent Leather


  • Patent leather requires the least amount of care, as it already has a protective coating of varnish or lacquer applied in the final steps of tanning.
  • It’s a hard finish, not very breathable, but that means it’s much less susceptible to stains and easier to clean.
  • A quick wipe-down with a mild soap and preferably distilled water (as tap water often has dulling elements of chlorine and minerals) is often all that’s needed.
  • To restore the luster when needed, use a quality silicon product applied with a soft, clean cloth.
  • Never, ever use a wax or Vaseline on patent leather! It will become a dust magnet instantly, and start to look muddy and dull.


Suede Leather


  • While suede is certainly beautifully supple and soft to the touch, it’s often the hardest to clean and maintain, and is very susceptible to staining and discoloration.
  • Of course the first thing to remember for suede is, keep it away from water! It has no protective coating to guard it.
  • You can apply conditioning or waterproofing products to help protect your bag, often available at shoe repair shops; you should also invest in a soft suede brush, and use it every 3 to 4 months to remove surface dirt and renew the nap of the suede. Duffle
  • If your bag does get wet, allow it to dry naturally. Suede will dry stiff, so brush the nap gently to restore it.
  • When brushing the nap, always remember to brush in one direction. Circular brushing may damage the nap.
  • If you get a grease or oil stain, try applying talcum powder and allowing it to sit for 24 hours, and brush gently.
  • Another stain removal remedy that’s been highly useful on a variety of stains and scuff marks is a natural or uncolored pencil eraser! But avoid using vigorous force; again, be gentle.
  • Under no circumstances should you use soap or any water based product to clean suede items.


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