Really if you care for your bag properly you shouldn't need to use anything on it. The best way is to store the bag in its dustbag if available in a dark cupboard away from dust and sunlight. I use acid free tissue paper to stuff my bags so they keep their shape while being stored. Keep the bag out of the rain, in fact, make sure the bag stays dry at all times. Also keep the bag away from radiators and heaters as this can dry the leather.
If you feel you need to put something on it then there are various leather conditioners on the market but always do a patch test first if you want to use them as sometimes the results can be unpredictable. Also if you have an exotic skin bag such as crocodile or lizard etc, be very very careful and don't put anything on the bag without expert advice.
If your bag has a light coloured handle and you don't want it to darken due to the oils in your hands, you can protect it by wrapping it with a twilly or scarf.
What's a twilly? I have Coach bags, which are hard to wear out, but the leather does get dry sometimes and Coach makes its own conditioner. Have never tried it on any other brands, though, for the very sound reasons listed above. Indeed, if it is really expensive, keep it in a bag between uses. (I used to watch those high-end real estate ladies on "Selling New York" walk around with their large Kelly and Birkin bags, almost to prove how much money they were making.)
I used these recommendations and everything was good. So, now I can recommend them too. HOW TO CLEAN
- The general principle is simple: remove dirt build-up by wiping down with a cleaner made specifically for the leather in question.
- Most labels have their in-house leather care range, so always ask the boutique assistant for care tips and recommended products.
- Remember the hardware. Some bags have precious metal-plated buckles or chains. .
- Every other day, give your bag a brisk sweep with a soft dry cloth—this won't take more than a few minutes, but will go miles towards preserving the appearance of your leather.
HOW TO CONDITION
- Think of conditioning as moisturizer for your leather, which will dry out over time. To prevent flaking and wrinkling, dab a dollop of conditioner on a soft cloth and rub gently all over.
- Try mink or neatsfoot oil, which simulate and supplement the natural oils of leather. Leave on for 10 minutes, then wipe off the excess. Dry thoroughly in an airy room.
- Condition every month or so to keep your leather looking its shiny best.
HOW TO WEATHERPROOF
- Leather is permeable and can never be entirely waterproof, so avoid toting your favorite Givenchy Nightingale in bad weather. Nonetheless, there are beeswax creams which function as a barrier against water.
- Word of caution: beeswax may alter the hue of dyed leather, so test first on an inconspicuous corner.
- A more breathable but less effective alternative: a spray protectant, which is virtually invisible on your bags.
HOW TO STORE
- Stash your bag in its original dustbag and fill it with stuffing—use butter paper, never newspaper, which will smear— to maintain its shape.
- Keep the dustbagged product in its original box, along with packets of silica gel so your bag doesn't get damp.
- Air once every two weeks to halt the growth of mold.
- Rotation is key. Everyday use of your bag will wear it out, so switch things up every month.
SOME FINAL TIPS
- Let water spills dry naturally. High-heat measures like using a hairdryer will only cause the skin to crinkle beyond salvage.
- Prevent color transfer by consciously resisting the urge to rest your bag against your jeans. Bring it back to the boutique immediately if your bag gets stained.
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