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How to make leather bags last forever

Dropping the secret to keeping your carry-alls clean and supple

Leather bags are a mainstay accessory in fashion—it’s a classic piece that never goes out of style. Most leather handbags are a result of years of craftsmanship and dedication from designers and artisans, which make each piece incredibly valuable. Leather is made to last a lifetime, but only if it’s properly cared for. Here’s a handy guide on how to keep it in good condition for years to come. 

Swap out your bags

Like any material, leather can deteriorate over time. Deterioration can even be accelerated by excessive and heavy use so make it a habit to swap out your bag every few weeks to lessen wear and tear. Some bags like Fossil’s Ryder Satchel even have removable and adjustable straps that you can whip out for a style change and to save your bag’s handles from being chafed. 

Fossil’s handbags that turn into sling bags or three-way bags that go from handbag to messenger bag to backpack are incredibly convenient and stylish.

Keep in mind the size and capacity of your bag, too. Leather can be a very pliable material so once it gets stretched because you forced a laptop inside or misshapen because you’re forcing a really big water jug into it, there will be no going back. Pick out a bag appropriate for your needs. If you’re someone who can’t go without a multitude of things, this travel bag from Mendrez can give you the space you need. Apply Coco Chanel’s tried and tested quote not just to your clothes but the stuff inside your bag, too: before leaving the house take one thing off (or two or three).

Travel bags are perfect for the busy person. You never have to worry about forgetting anything because your spacious Mendrez bag holds it all.

Clean regularly 

It is inevitable, no matter how stressful it is to think about, that your bag will become stained or scratched. If you find yourself in a situation where your bag becomes exposed to damage or stains, act quickly. Clean off stains with a dry and soft cloth immediately so the leather won’t absorb it. Use warm water only when the stain has been there for a while and isn’t removed by a dry cloth. For faux leather like this clutch from Alberto, you can use a solution made from mild soap and warm water. 

Since it’s always on hand, clutches are exposed to a lot of liquids that can stain, like drinks, tinted moisturizers or watery hand creams, so keep this in mind when bringing out your Alberto clutch.

Scratches can be remedied with leather oil or conditioner applied with  a dry cloth. To prevent stains on the inside, make sure that you have a separate pouch for leaky materials like foundation, shampoo, perfume or gel pens. Aside from the usual dusting, wiping and clearing out of trash from the inside, a regular schedule for cleaning does wonders to a leather bag, so book an appointment every two to three months at Mr. Quickie to ensure that your bag stays in tip-top shape.

Store properly 

These days, especially because we’re going out only for essentials, the easiest way to protect your leather bag is to store it properly. Bags often come with a dust bag and storage box so make sure you utilize them.  A bag that’s made of soft leather, like duffel bags, bucket bags or Cole Haan’s Grand Ambition Backpack, are prone to becoming misshapen when not stored properly. To prevent this, don’t forget to put stuffing inside your bag when you store it; this makes sure that the bag keeps its shape and doesn’t crease or deform. Soft stuffing paper such as packing or tissue paper is often used but you can also use old towels or T-shirts. 

Cole Haan’s bags made of soft leather slump and fold in on themselves without stuffing so prevent the risk of a deformed bag by stuffing it well.
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