A high-fashion handbag represents a major investment of time, thought, and money. Once you’ve found the right handbag, it can last a lifetime—if cared for properly. But what is proper care for a high-fashion handbag? After all, today's modern handbags use the softest leathers and delicate finishes. Yet many people care for these expensive treasures with shoe polish or furniture cleaner.
Here's how to pamper and protect your bag against drying and cracking due to age. A proper leather-care ritual has three components: weatherizing, conditioning, and cleaning. In this post, we'll be discussing the importance of moisturizing your bag.
Leather is skin. Like all skin, it needs balanced moisture. A leather conditioner moisturizes your handbag’s leather so it doesn’t dry, scale, harden, or crack. Cheap conditioners can leave your precious bag with a greasy feel and a dark patina. A high-quality leather conditioner should have no effect—none—on the color and texture of your handbag. But in the interest of caution, it’s always best to test a product on a small area first.
Always apply leather conditioner to a polishing cloth or clean rag—never directly to the handbag. Use a nickel-sized amount at first, and gently rub the cloth into your handbag. You want to give your bag a light, even coat of conditioner. Use a clean spot on the cloth for each dollop of leather conditioner. Wipe away any excess or drips promptly, because wet spots take a long time to dry and may even darken your bag. Remember to condition your bag’s handles and zipper pulls, if those are also made of leather: hands are a major source of sweat and salt!
Just like facial moisturizers, leather conditioner needs a few minutes to set. Allow 10–20 minutes for your handbag to fully absorb the conditioner.
How often you condition your bag depends on several factors: humidity, sunlight, even the ph of your skin. But a good rule of thumb is to condition your bag once each season. You should also apply leather conditioner after your bag gets wet or after you have cleaned it with a cleaning wipe.