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Leather Bag Care Tips

Updated on February 21, 2015

Tips and advice on purchasing, maintaining and travelling with your Italian leather bag!

An Italian leather handbag should be a staple item in any chic ladies wardrobe. Classic and hardwearing, they are made to last years and always look the part. However, bags are no longer just for women, they are a necessary tool and style accessory for men too! Always stick with a classic type (briefcase, messenger, holdall) and you can't go wrong!

Without a doubt European leather (especially Italian) is the finest in the world! This is well known within the industry.

In this lens we bring you tips and advice on picking the best leather bag and how to maintain it that you may have never heard of!

We also aim to show you how to use it when travelling, as well as presenting you with some fantastic links to help treat and look after your new favourite leather accessory!

Tips on picking a top quality leather bag:

What style to Choose?

Before picking your leather bag try to think of why you want it. Do you want to make a statement? Then you should pick smaller bags with a detailed look. However for a classic style and practicality you should go for a medium to large sized bag with a simple appearance!

Remember...Try and carry a handbag which is in proportion to your body size! This applies to men too. This does not mean a smaller man or woman can't pick a large bag, but it does mean they should make sure it isn't overpowering!

Simple and Classic

Detailed and Stylish



What's price got to do with it?

Often said but usually true- one of the first indicators of leather quality is the price!

Think about it this way; a good quality leather handbag may cost you money, but in the end it will save you some. A more expensive handbag will last you many years longer than a cheaper alternative.

However do not get quality confused with the brand...

Brand or quality?

A Prada or Gucci handbag will be made from Italian leather. However the price tag is not only based on this! They are priced highly because of the brand itself. Yes they are fashionable and well known, but is this what you really want in a handbag? Or is it the quality you are after?

If you look a little deeper, you can find many leather handbags of the same or better quality at half the price!

People often mistake grain and small imperfections in leather bags as a fault with the leather. However this is completely untrue. These marks are a sign of good quality leather that has not been corrected! These natural marks give the bags a unique character and antique look.

A more common allergy then you may think is a chrome allergy. If you suffer from this you should opt for vegetable tanned leather bags. Vegetable tanned leather is leather that has been coloured using tree bark, tannin or other natural sources.

A good test to see if the leather is vegetable tanned is to burn it...this will have no effect on the leather at all!

How to maintain your leather bag: - How do I clean it?

To be honest, really good leather bags rarely need cleaning. With the best leather, minor scratches and scrapes can be buffed out with good old spit and polish!

Watch this video to see what we mean...

However, if you want to clean your bag then mild soap and water is the best option.

If you get oil or grease stains on your handbag they can be lifted by simply grinding ordinary blackboard chalk... all you have to do is sprinkle area and leave for 24 hours!

By no means try and use chemicals to clean your leather bag. This can cause more damage than good.

To feed leather bags use natural products such as bees wax, the product needs to penetrate the leather and not leave a coat. We have some great leather cream suggestions at the bottom of this lens.

5 top tips for keeping your leather bag in best condition...

  1. Do NOT pull loose threads. This is the worst thing you can do! Simply burn the loose thread instead.
  2. Keep it away from the rain. We know this can be hard so if it happens, just wipe away excess moisture and leave it to dry naturally. For quick results stuff it with newspaper to help soak up the water!
  3. Rub candle wax on the zip. This is a great tip if the zip on your bag gets a little stiff, trust us it really works!
  4. Keep it in a cool dry place away from heat. If you are using your bag on a hot summer’s day this can be virtually impossible, however use common sense! Keep it away from any direct sunlight or heat source. Heat can actually cook the hide and cause it to stiffen; the fibres un-mesh and it can crack.
  5. Do NOT keep it in a plastic bag. This encourages the growth of mildew and can completely ruin your leather bag!

Brown Wheeled Luggage
Brown Wheeled Luggage

Travelling with your leather bag:

Now that you have bought your leather bag and cared for it as well as possible it may be that you want to travel with it too! These tips are particularly useful if you have purchased a leather weekend bag or leather trolley case.

Why travel with a leather bag?

Leather bags are perfect for travelling with as they can withstand wear and tear with ease! Not many bags can be taken abroad time and time again, thrown in the back of a plane or car and look brand new each time they are used.

If you are planning on using your leather bag for travelling a key tip is to look for ones that have a very long or lifetime guarantee. You can be sure you will never have to purchase another suitcase again with one of these!

The best reason to travel with a leather bag? Well you will be the most stylish individual in the airport...and you will always be able to identify your bag as your own! ;)

Before you travel...

Pick a leather travel bag that is lightweight, expandable and safe! If your leather bag is used mainly for travelling then keep these points in mind.

They should also have good quality zippers that are heavy duty enough to support the weight the bag was designed to hold (we suggest looking specifically for YKK zips)

When travelling one of the best ideas is to cross pack into different bags, therefore if you are a victim of theft or a bag gets lost then it is often an inconvenience rather than a disaster! We also recommend you put your contact information on the inside and outside of every luggage bag so that it can be easily returned to you!

A final point...make sure you always travel a couple of kilos under the maximum weight as on the way back your luggage will always be heavier due to the sweat and dirt that build up in your clothes!

Links for keeping your leather bag at its best:

The following products have been designed to help care for your leather bag without damaging it. They have been made using natural ingredients to help feed and protect your new favourite accessory!

For more tips...

Follow Maxwell Scott on Facebook and Twitter!

So, What Do You Think?

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    • profile image

      mari-jungstet 5 years ago

      very useful information, I like your lens, hope you like mine too.

    • MaxwellScott LM profile image

      MaxwellScott LM 5 years ago

      @indiavacationplans: Thank you :)

    • profile image

      indiavacationplans 6 years ago

      Lots of great information here and very nicely presented!

    • profile image

      indiavacationplans 6 years ago

      Great lens! Lots of great ideas for vacations! :)

    • MaxwellScott LM profile image

      MaxwellScott LM 6 years ago

      @aesta1: glad to hear it! thanks for stopping by :)

    • aesta1 profile image

      Mary Norton 6 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      I find this information useful.