I miss the old you. The one that cared about me!
Natural wear, ageing and patina
Now that you have your beautiful new leather bag, the next step is to make sure that you look after your bag so that it’ll stay with you for a very long time. Proper frequent maintenance will help your bag last a while and avoid issues that are common to leather goods.
All products made from natural leather, like satchels, will age with time. Just like our own skin, it will need moisturising and caring, if they’re to be kept in tip-top condition throughout the years. Even with excellent care, they will still age; there’s no avoiding this; a well looked after and aged satchel is just as beautiful as a new one, if not even more so.
This ageing effect is called the bags ‘Patina’, it’s a very cherished and admired effect and the effect is almost impossible to replicate properly without submitting it to the natural wear and tear that leather bags go through from everyday use. This natural ageing process adds character to a satchel and gives it a life-story of its very own, every mark, scratch and crack tells a tale.
What happens to your leather bag with time?
- It loses its moisture and oils.
- As this happens the leather dries and the leather fibres could break rather than stretch.
- The more you use your bag the faster this will happen.
How to avoid this?
That’s very easy, moisturise. Just like your skin a leather bag requires daily moisturising to protect it. There are several ways to do that. For day to day maintenance a dab of sunflower/vegetable oil, on a dry, clean sponge or cloth rubbed over the bag evenly will work to re-oil the leather. Or you could use a moisturiser specifically designed for leather protection.
- Always do spot testing before you apply any product on the leather. Apply a small amount to a spot that’s usually not visible, leave it for 24 hours to see if it changes the leather colour in any way and if you are happy with the results then continue applying to the rest of the bag.
- Never use products that contain Lanolin – often found in baby wipes.
- If you are applying a waterproofing product then it’s strongly recommended that you first apply a care product to help lock in moisture and to keep the fibres of the skin supple before making it waterproof. Only apply the waterproof to areas that will be exposed to moisture.
Polishing and scratches
The best way to treat scratches is to avoid it in the first place. Keep your satchel away from sharp objects and pay careful attention when putting your bag down on the floor, etc. But if you use your bag everyday scratches are almost unavoidable but don’t worry most scratches can be treated or avoided.
To avoid scratches, apply boot polish, Vaseline or saddle soap. This creates a protective layer which will help you avoid small scratches.
To treat scratches, if the scratches are small, rub it gently with your fingers as the natural oils on your finger will work into the leather. For larger scratches and marks apply a tiny amount of oil to the mark, let it soak in for a few minutes and then wipe the excess away with a clean soft cloth. If the scratches are still visible you can use leather polish or a dye to cover the scratched area. Always spot test before you apply any sort of products on the leather, to see if you are happy with the results before proceeding on the complete bag.
Warning: Applying any form of polish will almost always change the leather colour. So do a spot check before applying to the whole bag to see if you are happy with the outcome.