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The most common
stains to remove from handbags are finger marks, but simple regular treatments
will stop them from building up into unsightly stained areas.

The kind of cleaning treatment you should use depends as always on the type of
leather the bag is made from. Here are a few tips to
handbag care…

Grain leather

  • Regularly dust or brush with a soft brush, or wipe clean with a
    slightly damp cloth.
  • Treatment with proprietary cleaners or polishers should be carried
    out sticking strictly to the manufacturers’ instructions. Never use
    excessive quantities – the less the better.
  • Once or twice a year the handbag should be wiped with a cloth
    dampened with white spirit to thoroughly cleanse the leather surface from
    old and discoloured waxes, etc. It should then be given a very light
    treatment with a proprietary polish, and finally rubbed up with a soft
    clean cloth.

Patent leather bags

  • Clean with a damp cloth, plus a little neutral detergent if needed.
  • Pigskin leathers should be treated with a silicone preparation to
    protect them.
  • Minor contamination on all grain leathers can frequently be removed
    by gentle rubbing with a soft India rubber eraser.

Suede leather

  • Brush regularly with a soft suede brush or rub gently with a
    plastic foam block.
  • Minor stains and marks may be removed with a hard rubber eraser, or
    by touching up the surface with a fine emery paper.
  • The leather should retain its colour and appearance if it is
    regularly treated with a fluorocarbon aerosol spray product. These make
    the leather water repellent, and offer protection from grease and dust.
  • There is a wide range of suede cleaning and colouring products on
    the market, and these will give excellent results – provided that the
    product manufacturers’ recommendations are strictly observed.

In-store care

  • Handbags awaiting display and sale need to be kept in a cool, dry,
    well ventilated stockroom and be protected from direct sunlight. They
    should be wrapped in acid free tissue paper and kept in their boxes.
  • Storage of leather handbags in plastic containers isn’t advisable
    because this can lead to discolouration of the leather.
  • If you have enough time, high quality grain leather bags such as
    crocodile, lizard and pigskin bags should be given a light coating of
    silicone wax and polished with a soft dry cloth to protect them whilst
    being stored and during initial use.
  • Bags on display should be protected from heat and direct sunlight
    because both can cause colour changes. Alternatively using ultra-violet
    light absorbents on windows will help protect the leather from these
    harmful influences.

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