Leather products are highly regarded for their class, sturdiness and timelessness. It looks great, feels great and it will also last you a lifetime. While other materials will wear and tear over time, top quality leather products form a patina that gets better over time. The fact is, leather gains more shine through use, proving that any leather product like a leather jacket and bags can be considered as a lifetime investment. Just like anything that you want to last, you have to give it some love and leather is not an exception. There are steps that you can take to maintain the beauty of your leather VASH bag. Read on to know about our Leather bag cleaning and care:
THE BASICS OF CLEANING LEATHER
There’s no stopping it – Leather ages like anything you wear or use, leather items are going to get dirty over time. But don’t worry, most dirt can be cleaned off without too much work. Just keep in mind that leather is essentially a living material, meaning it will naturally change and age over time. However, the rate and severity of the ageing is up to you.
The following leather bag cleaning and care process should allow you to extend the life of your leather items longer than they would last on their own.
STEPS FOR BASIC LEATHER CLEANING:
Step 1: Grab some essential cleaning items, old rags (or paper towels), clean water, a non-abrasive unscented bar of soap, and a brush. You could use a toothbrush, but we highly suggest using a proper leather cleaning brush.
Step 2: Begin by wiping away as much dirt and grime as you can with the dry rag. Sometimes the dirt isn’t caked on too badly and can be wiped away easily. If there’s still more, repeat this step with a damp cloth to loosen up the grime.
Step 3: If you find that there is still dirt or grime stuck to your leather, it’s time to use the soap. Work up a bit of a lather with the soap and water in your hands and then rub it directly onto the dirty spots of the leather. You should be able to see the filth break up and start to come off the surface.
Step 4: With the damp cloth, wipe away the soap. If you need to repeat step 3, do so as necessary but make sure you don’t soak the leather, as this is highly discouraged. It’s best to avoid this measure to avoid shrinking and stiffening.
Step 5: Once your leather is clean, lay it out to dry on a flat, dry, cool surface. Do not apply heat and do not leave it out in the sun, as this can shrink and crack the leather in the process. It may take a while to dry, especially if you have a large surface to clean, but your leather should dry on its own.
In the unfortunate event that your leather is exposed or got soaked completely, because of the rain, accidentally dropping it in a puddle or fell into a body of water… you want to be very careful getting your leather dry. Do not, under any circumstances, use a direct heat source or the sun to dry out your leather. Like human skin, exposure to intense heat for a prolonged period of time can cause the leather to dry out, shrink, and potentially crack. If your leather gets soaked, lay it out on a flat dry surface in a cool room and wait. Letting the leather dry naturally will ensure it will shrink as little as possible and not suffer any other damage.
While water-logging is mostly reversible, there is one type of damage that cannot be undone. Sunlight is leather’s number one worst enemy. As leather (and all animal hides) are essentially skin, UV rays and heat will do them no good (with the exception of the heat used in the tanning process). To keep your leather in pristine condition, keep it out of the sun as much as possible. If this is impossible, you must be prepared to replace your leather items after some time as there is no sunscreen or treatment for damaged leather. The drying out and cracking of your jackets, shoes, bags, or whatever is something that cannot be undone.
There are plenty of other things you can do to extend the life of your leather. While your best bet for leather care starts with the short term cleaning solutions listed above, there are plenty of other things you can do to extend the life of your leather even further. There are also some practices to be aware of that may seem like a good idea at first but will either have no effect on your animal hide leather and potential to cause damage. We’ve listed these longer-term solutions below, as well as some information on their purpose, benefits, and what to avoid:
Conditional creams are like skincare products for your leather products. These products are designed to help keep the appearance and feel of your leather, making it supple and softer to the touch. These creams also help to fight some of the negative environmental damage that your leather will experience, like drying, cracking or shrinking. One thing to watch for in many conditioner creams, however, is lanolin. Lanolin is a fatty substance found in sheep’s wool that is a common ingredient in leather conditioners. While it isn’t dangerous, it will soften and moisturize your leather – which is great if that’s what you’re looking for. But if you’d rather keep your leather looking and feeling rigid and tough, avoid lanolin conditioners.
Oils are another option for conditioning your leather. While oils and creams may sound like very different products, they are essentially the same. You’ll often see leather oils with the word “conditioner” on their label and no mention of the fact that it is an oil-based substance. Oils or conditioner creams? That is the question. At the end of the day, it all comes down to personal preference.
CHAMBERLAIN’S LEATHER MILK
Don’t let the name fool you, this did not actually come out of a cow. It is, however, excellent for rejuvenating cowhide leather. Chamberlain’s Leather Milk is a chemical-free formula and excellent leather conditioning oil.
As a natural side-effect of the material itself and the tanning process that keeps leather from putrefying, leather is highly water-resistant. It is, however, NOT completely waterproof. With prolonged or excessive exposure, leather will absorb water. We highly discourage apply Scotch Guard to waterproof leather because as you have already read above, leather is a living material. It needs to breathe in order to maintain its pliability, flexibility and the natural ageing process. Spraying a waterproof layer onto your leather product can suffocate it, giving it a cheaper look over time.
With the above leather bag cleaning and care tips, you can continue to enjoy your beautiful leather goods for a long period of time to even a lifetime!