Simply put, proper leather care varies depending on the environment and leather type. But keep in mind, if you purchased a basader bag, it’s made from quality leather. And unlike inferior materials, cleaning a veg-tan or oil-stuffed bag is actually a breeze given the right tools and products. If you just purchased a bag, rest assured, it will arrive completely conditioned, so there’s no urgent immediate need treat it, but still, it’s always good to be prepared. With this said, we’re going to quickly explain some simple leather cleaning procedures and followup with some frequently asked questions.
If you purchased a bag similar to the image below, you are now the proud owner of a bridle or hand-dyed veg-tan leather bag. Cleaning this type of bag is simple, the surface has a sheen, so stains should come off using nothing more than a damp cloth. However, the key to ensuring the longevity of this leather type is the conditioning.
1. Cleaning: To clean your veg-tan or bridle bag, a slightly damp cloth will suffice. More importantly, when you do clean it, it’s necessary that you followup with a quality leather conditioner.
2. Treatment: Leather protectant ensures that natural oils are replenished after cleaning. For reasons explained in more detail here, we highly recommend “Obenauf’s Heavy Duty Leather Protectant”. To apply it, we recommend a fine cotton rag and gentle circular motions. Using a less is more approach, a little bit of Obenauf’s LP should go a very very long way. In fact, the only caution is applying too much — so, take it slow. Ideally, you want to apply a thin even coat. The leather will look extremely dark upon application, but no worries, it will return to its natural color within an hour.
3. Finishing: Once the application has dried, anywhere from 15 minutes – 30 minutes, we personally recommend polishing the bag with a clean cotton cloth (again, using a circular motion). More than anything, this is to ensure that the wax portion of the mixture (which protects the leather and adds water resistance) doesn’t attract dust.
4. That’s it! Your bag has now been imbued with the necessary organic waxes and antibacterial resins that will ensure its longevity.
Much different than our veg-tan products, oil-pull up leather is more porous and has a matte finish. If you purchased a bag similar to the example below, please follow the cleaning steps outlined below.
1. Cleaning: To clean your oil-pull up bag, you will rarely need much more than a damp cloth. Working in circular motions, stains and even scratches can be removed with little effort. While you can get away with cleaning oil-pull with a damp rag, it’s always best to followup with a leather conditioner (which will restore the surface to like-new quality).
2. Treatment: For this step, we recommend using Fiebing’s 4-Way Care for reasons detailed here. Apply with a slightly damp cotton cloth, or, lightly spray the 4-Way Care onto the bag. As you will see, the surface is almost instantly restored. Using your cloth, you can massage the conditioner into the bag gently using circular motions. If you are dealing with scratches, scuffs, or abrasions, carefully apply pressure until these markings are removed.
3. Finishing: Once the 4-Way care has dried, about 15 – 30 minutes, polish the application with a clean cotton cloth. While this will not make a visible difference, it will ensure the protective waxes don’t attract dust particles.
4. The End: We love oil-pull up leather due to its matte finish, but the ability to restore even harsh abrasions is a great quality. If properly cared for, oil-pull is an extremely durable material that should last a lifetime.
When you buy a great leather bag like our you either try to speed up time to achieve that worked-for-it patina and softness or attempt to guard it from all signs of wear. Turns out, there are a few things you should do no matter which look you prefer. Here are our simple tips for taking care of your leather bag. Just remember, a little care goes a long way!
1. Take the extra five minutes to treat it.
We know, we know. The second you buy a new bag you want to break it out, but pretreating the leather (rubbing the surface with an oil-based coating like Bee Natural Leather Finish Wax) prevents ink and oil stains from sinking in.
2. Give it a good cleaning twice a year.
“Some oil is good and will bring out the leather’s natural creases and that beautiful darkened fade,” says Arty. “But it needs to be cleaned so the patina is truly the leather breaking in, not buildup.” Two times per year, apply two coats of a conditioner (Arty recommends Bee Natural Mink Oil) with a leather brush, and finish with their Leather Protector spray.
3. Be hands-on with your bag.
This one’s for those who like that kinda slouchy look and don’t want to wait a year to get it. Arty suggests laying your bag on a flat surface and then, starting from the bottom, roll it up. Reroll starting from a different side of the tote. Then, turn it inside out and roll it again.
4. Have a plan in case of ink/red wine/lip balm/etc. emergencies.
There are some things even pretreated leather can’t fight. Arty advises bringing your bag to a specialist and resisting the urge to sprinkle the stain with powder or cornstarch. P.S. Though it’s counterintuitive, do not use soap—it can’t penetrate a stain and will strip your bag’s natural finish, not to mention leave a residue.
5. Accept that how you care for your bag is how it will look.
The aforementioned treatments will slow down the aging process, but a bag that’s often tossed onto the floor will look like just that. Show a little extra love toward your bag, and it’ll show you a little extra love right back.