The Ultimate Guide To Leather Care
From handbags and purses to journals and wallets, we want you toenjoy your leather goods for a lifetime. From the moment they arecrafted, until they arrive in your arms, they need to be cared forproperly.
With our handy guide, your most treasured pieces will lookbeautiful for years to come. Covering all day-to-day care andmaintenance to small repairs and specialist cleaning, here you'llfind everything there is to know about leather care.
How to Look After Your Leather Goods
By taking time to care for your leather, you will uphold thevalue and maintain the appearance of your most treasuredpieces.
Looking after your leather goodsstarts with day-to-day care. By following just a few simple rules,you can avoid unnecessary wear and tear and extend the life of youraccessories for years:
- Leather is a skin, and it can stretch. Avoid overfilling yourhandbag, purse or wallet to maintain its original silhouette
- Take extra care with leather items you use often. Take the timeeach week to wipe away dust and spots with a soft cloth orbrush
- Scratches can detract from a flawlessly crafted piece. Takecare to avoid contact with heavily embellished clothes, sharpsurfaces, or chunky jewellery when you are out and about.
- Wet leather requires extra care, so if rain is forecast,remember to take an umbrella
You may be asking yourself howshould I store my handbags? Storing your leather appropriately isone of the easiest ways you can prevent damage and maintain ahigh-quality finish:
- Store leather away from direct sunlight as this can causefading
- Store handbags in a dust bag to avoid scratches
- Avoid using plastic bags, they prevent good ventilation
- Store leather away from artificial sources of heat, e.g.radiators can cause leather to dry and crack
Everyday care and thoughtful storage will go a long way inmaintaining the life of your favourite leather accessories, howeverspecific products may require different care techniques.
Although it's tempting to leave our handbags packed with ourdaily essentials ready for the next day, instead take the time toempty them completely to avoid warping. Once empty, you canmaintain the handbag's silhouette by gently filling it with plain,acid-free tissue paper.
If you are planning to leave your bag in storage for an extendedperiod - until next season, for example - you might also like totake the time to wrap hardware such as zips and clasps in tissuepaper to avoid them creating any unwanted imprints on yourleather.
The next stage is to cover your bag, preferably in the dust bag inwhich it arrived with - these are cut to the right size to avoidsquashing and warping. If you no longer have the original dust bag,a white cotton pillowcase can be an ideal substitute - avoid usinga coloured fabric to avoid the colour transferring.
Once covered, place your covered handbag away from directsunlight and artificial sources of heat. Be sure to stand it on itsbase rather than hanging it up, as this can stretch the handles.Additionally, take care to choose a spot that is tall enough toallow the handles to stand up unimpeded. Doing otherwise can causethem to become bent or misshapen.
When you have taken such care with your handbag at home, it isimportant to extend the consideration to other environments. Investin a handbag hook to keep your bags safe and away from dirty, roughfloors and surfaces.
Purses come in a variety of sizes and silhouettes to accommodateyour needs. Select a style that fits your requirements anddecreases the risk of stretching the leather by not overfilling itsvarious pockets, compartments and card slots.
When carrying your purse in a handbag, you can prevent scratchesand imprints simply by storing your purse in a separate compartmentor a designated zip pocket in the lining. It's good practice togently wipe or brush your purse regularly to remove the daily buildup of dust and dirt which can build up.
While leather travel bags are designed with durability and thewear and tear of travel in mind, there are a few easy steps you cantake to preserve the quality and finish of your suitcase, cabin bagor weekend bag.
Before and after travel, when your bag is in your care, alwaysstand it on its wheels or protective feet rather than on its sideto minimise contact with the floor.
In transit, make use of a protective luggage cover in order toavert the possibility of scratches when your travel bag is in thehold or overhead compartment.
In between trips, empty your travel bag and store it in itsprotective bag in a spot that comfortably accommodates it withoutthe need for folding handles or tightly packing it against anyother accessories
Maintain a briefcase's refined and professional finish by takingcare to stand it upon the protective brass feet whenever possible -this will avoid unnecessary wear on the leather.
Avoid putting excess strain on its zips and hardware by notoverfilling it with heavy laptops and contents. If you are requiredto pack your briefcase within a larger travel bag when workingoverseas, ensure it is safeguarded within a protective bag.
Given that we wear gloves during a season of unpredictableweather, they are often exposed to a variety of elements. Shouldyour gloves get wet from snow or rain, allow them to dry naturallyaway from sunlight and any artificial heat such as radiators.
If you happen to drop a glove and need to clean it, begin by gentlywipe it down with a soft brush or cloth. Next, prepare a solutionof soap flakes and hot water. Wear the affected glove as younormally would and use a sponge to clean the area. Take care not tooversaturate the leather and dab away any excess water. Once clean,leave your glove or gloves to dry in a cool, dry place, puttingthem on from time to time will help to maintain their shape.
Albums and Journals
Leather albums and journals often preserve precious memories, soit is important to preserve the books themselves. To achieve this,wash your hands before handling them so as not to transfer anyresidue or dirt to the leather surface. We also advise that youpolish or buff them with a clear wax to hydrate and maintain theleather covers.
When storing your cherished albums and journals on a shelf, keepthem out of direct sunlight and give your shelves room to breathe.Books stacked on shelves too tightly may crack at the spine, whilebooks stacked too loosely may sag and warp. Aim for gentle supportand, when removing them from the shelf, it is important to pullfrom the middle, as hooking your finger over the top of the spinecan create a stretched and misshapen finish.
As belts are an accessory that many of us wear every day, it isimportant to rotate them to extend their lifespan. Identifying thecorrect fit will also support their longevity; preventingstretching.
When not wearing your belt, gently wipe away any dust or debrisand hang it by the buckle in a cool, dry space away from directheat or sunlight. By allowing a belt to hang flat rather thanrolling it up, you will avoid any imprints from the hardware andmaintain its original shape.
How to Clean and Maintain Your Leather Goods
Dos and Don'ts
- Do regularly clean leather with a soft brush or cloth
- Do regularly air out leather
- Do blot away water or moisture as soon as possible
- Do dry wet leather naturally, away from artificial heat
- Do keep leather supple with a specialised leather conditionerevery 3-6 months
- Do clean spots and stains with a mixture of soap flakes andwarm water
- Do use a steam cleaner to disinfect and remove buildup fromregular use
- Do test any conditioners, cleaners, polishes or wax in a hiddenspot beforehand
- Don't machine wash leather
- Don't get leather wet wherever possible
- Don't dry wet leather next to a radiator or with ahairdryer
- Don't tumble dry leather
- Don't iron leather
- Don't immerse leather in water to clean
Leather is loved for its visual nuances; varying textures,delicate shifts in tone, slowly developing patinas and subtle signsof a life well-loved. When working with such a versatile andmulti-faceted material, the maintenance choices you make can shapethe appearance of your leather goods for years to come; allowingyou to truly tailor them to your individual style.
Polishing leather, for instance, maintains its original shine. Thisprocess is ideal for high gloss, formal or eveningwear accessorieswhich you would like to keep in pristine condition. You may prefer,however, to allow more casual, functional pieces such as duffelbags or hobo bags to weather and develop their own uniquecharacteristics. In this case, regular dusting and a simple wipewith a damp cloth from time to time will certainly suffice.
Smooth, fine and patent leathers will benefit from a soft leathercream to nourish, hydrate and preserve their supple qualities.Gentle creams and conditioners may also be used to remove lightscratches. Where bright colours are concerned, polish can be usedto spot buff scratches and scuffs, while specialist colourrestoring balms are ideal for a full rejuvenation.
Cleaning Different Types of Leather
We often get asked 'How to cleanyour leather handbags' or 'Can leather handbags be dry-cleaned?' Each of our luxurious leathers are different and must be cleanedand cared for according to their individual qualities.
Black and ebony leather is forgiving in that the dark colour canhide a multitude of sins. However, it is still important to cleanand care for your black leather goods. Regular soft brushing andsemi-regular cleaning with a damp cloth will keep your accessoriesin good shape.
Leather in lighter tones is more susceptible to noticeable wearand tear. A white bag worn with indigo jeans, for instance, may besubject to colour transfer, so cleaning is essential to maintain apristine finish.
Before cleaning, be sure to wipe away any dust with a soft cloth.Subtle marks may be buffed away with a solution of soap flakes andwarm water but tougher stains will need a little more work.Methylated spirits or rubbing alcohol will work to remove inkstains, while absorbent powders such as corn starch or bakingpowder can be utilised to tackle oil and grease. Once your bag isclean, it is wise to apply a protective spray to safeguard againstfurther marks or stains.
Scuffs can interrupt the luxurious appeal of a patent or highshine accessory; however, they can be removed with little effort.If your patent bag, purse or accessory is looking a little dull, awipe with a damp cloth may be all you need to remove dust and buildup and restore the original shine.
If there are more concentrated scuffs to tackle, speciallyformulated patent leather cleaners are available. Alternatively,simple household items can also be very effective: Apply petroleumjelly or olive oil to the affected area with a soft cloth, leavefor a few minutes then gently buff away.
Created with a stamping method, Saffiano leather has a signaturetextured finish. This cross-hatch texture coupled with the waxtreatment makes it incredibly durable and stain resistant. To avoiddamaging the specialised finish, only clean your Saffiano leatherproducts with a soft damp cloth or a specific leather cleaningsolution.
Special care should be taken to preserve the finish of smoothleather. As such, it is important to avoid using abrasive cleaningmethods.
Begin by brushing with a soft bristle brush and wipe away anyexcess dust or debris with a cotton or micro-fibre cloth. Next,nourish the surface with a gentle leather conditioner, taking careto test it on an inconspicuous spot beforehand.
When cleaning textured leathers such as lizard, pebble, and silkprint, always be sure to work with the grain.
While standard cleaning methods such as soap and water andspecialised leather cleaning solutions can be applied, it isimportant to thoroughly remove any product build up from groovesand crevices after cleaning. This can be achieved by gently buffingyour products with a soft brush.
How to Clean Specialist Materials
Exotic and delicate leathers and materials must be cleaned withextra care to uphold their sumptuous nature.
Buffalo hide and snakeskin
Buffalo hide and snakeskin are coveted for their exquisitetextures and should be carefully cleaned accordingly. Continuousfriction may cause fur and scales to wear away, so take care totreat the surfaces gently with a non-abrasive cloth and work withthe grain of the texture.
A damp cloth will remove dust and debris from snakeskin. However,do not oversaturate the skin with water and ensure you allow it todry naturally, away from artificial heat.
Buffalo hide will require soft brushing in the direction of thefur to loosen any build-up of dirt. Once clean, store your buffaloand snakeskin accessories away from direct sources of heat.
Suede and nubuck
Water and oil can stain suede and nubuck, so dry cleaningmethods are advisable.
Begin by using a suede brush to lift away any dust and dirt and,if a little extra help is required, apply a short burst ofsteam.
Light oily or greasy marks can be lifted out by applyingcornflour overnight and gently brushing away the excess afterwards,while for tougher stains, it's advisable to use a dedicated suedeor nubuck cleaning solution.
Printed leather can be treated much like any other; dusted witha soft brush or cleaned with a damp cloth.
However, colour based balms and polishes should be avoided asthey may alter the appearance of the print, and any conditioners orprotective sprays should first be tested on an inconspicuous areasuch as a corner or under a pocket flap.
Velvet is a sumptuous and luxurious fabric and should be treatedwith the utmost care.
Wet conditions should be avoided and water should not be usedduring the cleaning process, accidental spills can be blotted awaywith a clean, dry cloth. You may smooth the pile with a soft brushor the palm of your hand but ensure you do not vigorously rub thesurface.
For stains and more thorough cleaning, we recommend using aprofessional dry-cleaning service.
How to Remove Deep Scratches
While faint scratches can betaken care of with a little polishing, deep scratches requirefurther attention.
First, it's important tocarefully clean the area with a damp cloth and allow the surface todry. Next, assess the surface. If the colour is scratched but thesurface remains intact, buff the scratch with a soft dry cloth andslowly apply thin layers of a matching colour balm. Blot any excessand protect from further scratches with a leather protector.
When a scratch has compromisedthe surface, a leather filler should be used to restore the evenfinish before buffing and applying a colour balm. For particularlydeep scratches that require filler, we recommend consulting ourvery own warranty and repair service.
Aspinal's Warranty and Repair Service
While we handcraft our productswith the highest quality in mind, we offer a 1-year manufacturer'swarranty in order to ensure that you are completely happy with yourAspinal product.
On the rare occasion that a product may begin to show any faultssuch as a broken zip or loose hardware, it can be returned to us tobe repaired. Once received, we will assess the fault and take themost appropriate avenue in order to return your product to you inthe condition you are able to expect from Aspinal.
As our craftsmen tackle each repair individually, this may take upto six weeks. Should you have any queries, our customer service team is on hand throughout the weekto assist in any way possible.