1. Know Your Skins
Our leather bags are vegetable-tanned. Downside: vegetable-tanned leather bags discolor and shrivel when drenched in water. Make sure you protect it from moist and damp areas.
2. How to Clean
The general principle is simple: remove dirt build-up by wiping down with a cleaner made specifically for the leather in question. Every other day, give your bag a brisk sweep with a soft dry cloth—this won't take more than a few minutes, but will go miles towards preserving the appearance of your leather.
3. How to Condition
Think of conditioning as moisturizer for your leather, which will dry out over time. To prevent flaking and wrinkling, dab a dollop of conditioner on a soft cloth and rub gently all over. Try mink or neatsfoot oil, which simulate and supplement the natural oils of leather. Leave on for a few minutes, and then wipe off the excess. Dry thoroughly in an airy room. Condition every other month or so to keep your leather looking it’s shiny best.
4. How to Weatherproof
Leather is permeable and can never be entirely waterproof, so avoid toting your bag in bad weather. Nonetheless, there are beeswax creams which function as a barrier against water. Word of caution: beeswax may alter the hue of dyed leather, so test first on an inconspicuous corner. A more breathable but less effective alternative: a spray protectant, which is virtually invisible on your bags.
5. How to Store
Stash your bag in its original dustbag and fill it with stuffing—use butter paper never newspaper, which will smear— to maintain its shape. Keep the dustbagged product in a box, along with packets of silica gel so your bag doesn't get damp. Air once every two weeks to halt the growth of mold. Rotation is key. Everyday use of your bag will wear it out, so switch things up every month.
6. Some Final Tips
Let water spills dry naturally. High-heat measures like using a hairdryer will only cause the skin to crinkle beyond salvage. Prevent color transfer by consciously resisting the urge to rest your bag against your jeans. Keep the dustbagged product in a box, along with packets of silica gel so your bag doesn't get damp. Air once every two weeks to halt the growth of mold. Rotation is key. Everyday use of your bag will wear it out, so switch things up every month.
Synthetic or composite leather is an artificial type of material that feels like leather but is cheaper to produce. The materials are also more multipurpose and can be used both indoors and outdoors. Synthetic leather doesn't need to be broken in as it already has a softer feeling to it.
Composite leather is made using leather scrap and Polyurethene (PU). It is coated with an acrylic layer and then heat embossed with a fake pattern to give it an appearance of real leather markings. This kind of 'leather' is very commonly used to make all kinds of accessories and bags but is not long-lasting.
Full-grain leather takes the entire grain of hyde, with all the imperfections and inherent toughness of the material. It's often used for heavy-duty leather items, like weapon holsters and utility belts. But it can also be used (with great success) for dress belts, briefcases, dress shoes, work boots, and numerous other leather goods.
This type of leather is often naturally marked with imperfections from the animal, like a brand or a scar, but products from pricier companies won't use these flawed hides — making it even more expensive. Full-grain is hard-as-nails and will develop a rich patina as it ages, looking more and more beautiful as you use it. It's widely recognized as the best and highest-quality leather money can buy.
Often much more expensive, full-grain pays dividends with its durability. If you invest in an item made with full-grain leather, you will probably have that item for the rest of your life if you take care of it properly.