The leather we make our bags out of will get better with time and use, but it still needs a little TLC.
Just like our skin, the key to healthy leather is moisture. Over time, your leather bag may get dried out – especially on the corners and edges. This is easy to fix. We like to use a product that is all natural and packed with yummy natural moisturizers like tallow, beeswax, and Brazilian carnauba wax. We don’t use anything synthetic which can break down the natural fibers of the leather and can cause rot. Our favorite leather conditioner is the one we sell in our conditioning kits – Ray Holes Saddle Butter.
Here is a little leather care manual…
First, it is important to give the leather a good cleaning with a nice natural saddle soap. I like to use Fiebings Saddle Soap. Add a little water to the tin – not too much! – and make a nice fluffy paste. It should be more of a paste than soapy water. Taking a clean rag, and starting on the underside of your bag, wipe in a circular motion. Again, don’t wet the rag too much. This is where most people freak out and stop. The wipe marks will show up much darker than the rest of your bag. It will dry. That been said, the leather may darken a little after the cleaning. Think of it as an addition to the patina you have been work so hard to acquire!
After about 24 hours - or when the bag is completely dry - buff with a nice soft, clean rag before you begin to condition the leather. As with the saddle soap, less will be more. I like to do the next step with my hands. Taking a tiny bit of the saddle butter in your hands, warm it up so it becomes nice and fluid then begin to massage it into the leather. Start with the bottom again. The top of your bag probably won’t need that much oil. Let this dry and soak in for at least another 24 hours, then buff out with a soft rag.
Scratches - Your leather will get scratches. The scratches acquired should not be seen as flaws, but rather as an extension of the creation process. Remember, you are the final designer of your bag! Your bag will show your life and the patina you are acquiring is highly coveted. However, there are ways to reduce or “repair” the scratches if they really bother you. Restoring the oils will minimize the scratches. Take a tiny dab of the saddle butter on your fingertip and rub it over the scratch massaging it in well. Let the area dry and then buff with a lovely soft cloth.
Keeping a yearly maintenance program for your bag will ensure it lasts this lifetime and long into the next.
If you are way too intimidated to try any of this on your own, we do offer a complimentary once yearly cleaning and conditioning. You can also come in for a tutorial.
We stock little leather maintenance kits in the shop, here.