You may have been ditching the luxury coffees to save up for that pricey leather bag you’ve had your eye on, but it’s no use blowing your budget on an item if you don’t look after it properly! Leather is not only soft and beautiful, but it’s also a great investment because it ages gracefully (if you look after it!). We asked Claire van Turenhout creative director of Jinger Jack, for her advice on caring for precious leather goods. Here’s what you really need to know…
Dirty patches? There’s a special way to clean it
Whatever you do, don’t throw leather goods into the washing machine! Instead, remove dirt build-up by gently wiping the leather, buckles and chains with a soft, damp cloth. To dry them off pat the damp area – DON’T rub! Ideally you should be wiping down your bags, boot and belts once a week.
Keep it conditioned
Remember that leather is an animal hide, and just as we need to moisturise our skin to prevent flaking and wrinkles, we need to moisturise our leather for the same reasons. There are many different leather conditioners on the market, Claire recommends Meltonian Clean & Shine for dark or dyed bags and boots. For robust natural leathers with a waxy look and feel, she recommends Dasco Waxed Leather Cream(R70) available at shore repair shops. Apply to your bag with a soft cloth once a month.
Prevent water damage!
Leather isn’t waterproof so that means you should avoid leaving it in the pouring rain…and don’t even think about taking it to the beach! To weatherproof your leather invest in a spray protectant or cream and apply to your leather goods once a month (after you condition), or before the rainy season hits.
TIP: If you’re using a beeswax-based weatherproofing cream do a patch-test on an inconspicuous corner of your bag before applying it all over, as some products may alter the original hue of dyed leather.
Keep it safe
Want your leather items to last a lifetime? Then don’t crumple up your investment and shove it in the back of your cupboard or just leave it lying around on the floor. Rather store your items in a dustbag or box to prevent scuffing and keep the moisture out. But don’t leave them packed away for too long – air your leather goods every two weeks or so to prevent mould growth.
TIP: Before you pack away bags or boots, fill them with paper stuffing so that they hold their shape.