Handbags are often the one real investment we’re willing to make when it comes to the wardrobe department. Which means, making sure it lasts forever (or as long as we do) is a must.
Whether you’ve just splurged on a new IT bag or are afraid that your beloved tote is beginning to wear thin, the reality is that all leather handbags eventually wear down over time. And it’s not helped by the fact that alongside scratches and spills, we’re all guilty of just tossing our totes in the back of the closet – with usually little to no care.
Luckily, we’re here to help with a few tips and tricks that will ensure your bag is kept looking as good as new. From general rules such as keeping your bag stuffed with tissue to spraying it with waterproof protectant, follow these 6 simple steps that will make bag maintenance seem like one easy feat.
1. Store your bag properly
The golden rule here is to never hang your bag in your closet. After a while, this will cause the leather to stretch where it is hung from (especially if you didn’t take your things out of your bag). If you can, it’s best to store your handbags upright on a shelf. Stuff it with tissue paper or an old T-shirt to maintain its shape (be careful not to over-stuff, though) and place the bag in a dust cover or cotton pillowcase (more on this later).
To make sure embellishments don’t catch on surrounding items, wrap any crystals, dangly pieces, or key chains in a bit of tissue paper when storing. And lastly, if you’re really into organization, separate bags with dividers or pieces of cardboard.
2. Keep your dust bags
Most handbags come with a dust bag – make sure you keep it.
Dust bags are there to protect your bags when you’re not using them as dust can diminish a bags shine if not protected, thus allowing them to keep looking as pristine as possible.
Top tip: Make sure to air your bag out once every two weeks in order to stop the growth of mould.
3. Stuff your bag to maintain its shape
All handbags, no matter their size, will benefit from stuffing. It’s the best way for them to keep their shape over time. Especially if you won’t be using them for a while. Tissue paper or newspaper will work here, but if you’re using the latter be careful to wrap the newspaper in a layer of tissue paper first as the ink can stain.
4. Remove stains the right way
The general principle is simple: remove dirt build-up by wiping down with a cleaner made specifically for the leather in question.
Leather is permeable and can never be entirely waterproof, so avoid carrying your favourite bag in bad weather.
Natural ingredients such as beeswax creams can be used as a barrier against water, but always do a test on a little hidden part of your bag to see the effect it has on your leather.
For suede items, we recommend buying a leather cleaning product to spray on your bag before wearing it to offer more protection against staining and water damage.
5. Protect the lining
Use a pouch to hold your pens and liquids. How many times have you accidentally spilled water or lotion, or even had a pen leak in your bag? Chances are more than once. Which is why to avoid the worst we recommend using a pouch to hold all your pens and liquids – which will help protect your bag’s interior from any accidental spills. Bonus point, it will also help you find any small essentials easily.
6. Practice Routine Maintenance
Every other day, give your bag a brisk sweep with a soft dry cloth – this will only take a few minutes and go miles towards preserving the appearance of your leather.
A lint roller can also come in handy to dust out the hard-to-reach interior spots and a bit of leather polish will keep regularly-used leather bags looking shiny and supple.
7. Keep Metal Hardware Shiny
After all that leather prep, don’t forget the hardware – especially as some precious metal-plated buckles or chains can tarnish over time.
Try using a metal and silver cream-based product when you see the hardware is starting to look a little darker. All you need is a tiny drop of cream and a cotton swab, however, make sure to cover the leather around the hardware before you clean it as the cream can stain.