Saturday, June 22, 2013

Leather Care

I've always been interested in bags and leather goods in general. The heady aroma, the feel and look of leather gets me into a twist and it seems like I've blacked out only to come to with a shopping bag in hand and said leather good inside that bag. 

However, this dizzying effect needs to be maintained. Leather is natural and needs to be treated like how you would your own skin. If your skin started to look dull and dry, you would moisturize it. As I do with my own skin, prevention is always better than cure. So rather than waiting for it to look dull, faded and dry, you would try to maintain it, sort of like a pre-emptive strike before the worse happens.

I'm not saying the above products are the best for your bags and leather goods, these are just the ones that have worked for me. I only mainly use these products on my bags and my Chanel Espadrilles in Lambskin. I try to use cleaning/care products on my bags that do not alter the feel and look of the leather.

*** As with everything else, please do an overnight or a 48hr spot test in an inconspicuous spot before applying it to the actual bag. Most bags will come with a small leather swatch, I use those to test my cleaning/care products on first ***

This is the Lovin' My Bags products I mainly use. The Lamb Caress, For Handles Only and Miracle Shield. You can purchase them here. There are many other products that the brand offers to care for and keep your leather goods in tip top shape. If you have any queries and unsure about what to use on your item, you can ask Barbara and her team questions, they're very helpful.

I got these products when I had accidentally grabbed one part of the handle on my Givenchy Nightingale with my damp and moisturized hand. Unfortunately, that part of the handle could not be completely saved. Please see pictures below. I refrained from using the bag until I was able to get my LMB products. 

At this point I was still sceptical about it actually working. I tried the Lamb Caress on the handles and the whole bag for an overall cleaning of any marks and stains. In my opinion the Lamb Caress, didn't do as much, it only got the superficial stains out, but nothing more. I then used For Handles Only on the handles and felt that it protected it from future markings. I used the bags a handful more times and as you can see from the picture the clean handles stayed that way and the ruined one didn't get any worse and just stayed the same. 

I applied Miracle Shield on the whole bag to prevent it from any staining as it claims to be water & stain repellent.

This HG Deep Cleaner for Leather was recommended to me by someone from the Purseforum who also had a cream coloured Givenchy Nightingale in Lambskin. She said this really cleaned her bag without damaging and altering the leather.

The 3 pictures of the Nightingale below shows where I used the HG cleaner. First pic, on the right hand side of the handle is a faint line going down. That is where the bag folds when you're using it. A woman who was sitting next to me on the train had a black fabric bag and she sat it right next to my bag, my bag was on my lap, but she decided to encroach my space and I didn't realize it was rubbing on my bag the whole time. The mark was much darker than this, unfortunately the black dye had penetrated deep into the pores and I could only manage to get some of it off.

The 2nd & 3rd picture is the bottom corner of the bag that rubbed on my pants when I walked. It was also much darker than this and I felt the HG cleaner got rid of most of the marks.

In the end, this Nightingale was a nightmare to wear and keep as much as I loved it. I didn't want a minor aneurysm every time I carried her, so I sold her on. Hoping one day to get a Nightingale again, in a different leather and colour.

HG Deep Cleaner was purchased on eBay. I could not locate it anywhere in Australia. I believe this is a European brand.

Last and definitely not the least is Leather Honey. This is my all time favourite. It's not so much a cleaner, but more restorative care. My love for Balenciaga bags is due to it's vibrant colours and the soft puddly leathers. However, you can't always snag the colours you want at any time as different seasons will produce different styles and colours, so the next best thing is pre-loved Balenciagas. 

Due to the nature of how the leather is treated and coloured, the bag does need some up-keep from time to time. When I finally snagged myself a 2010 Sorbet Flat Clutch, I was over the moon! However I noticed that colour was different on the outside compared to the leather tag inside the bag. For fear of ruining the leather, feel and colour of the bag, I did not want to use just any products you can buy at your closest cobbler. I did my research and stumbled upon this thread on the Purseforum.
Please have a read through the thread, it's very informative and insightful and a lot of people have been very happy with the results.

Below are photos of the Flat Clutch about 1hr after application. The darker side is the treated side & you can see how faded and dry the other side is. You need to let the first application dry a few hours or even overnight and apply another if you wish. The end result, though not as dark and moisturized as per initial application, but you can definitely see a massive difference in the leather. I also noticed how it took away some of the faint fingernail/scuff marks, so I was very happy with that.

It tells you to use a brush or a cloth to apply it, but I did it with my hands and felt that was more effective for me as I could really get into the nooks and crannies of the leather. I however did not use LH on the handles of my Balenciaga bags as I thought it would get sticky, however I just read towards the end of the Purseforum thread, that a member used it on the handles to restore the colour and felt it didn't leave a sticky residue, she also buffed it with the LMB For Handles Only afterwards and was happy with the results.

I tested LH on my Alexander Wang Rocco in Latte, even though the Rocco is lambskin, I think it's a differently treated lambskin to the Balenciaga leather. The LH didn't dry properly even after a week and left a faint mark on the Rocco.

Leather Honey was purchased on eBay. I could not find anywhere in Australia, or even in New York, that sold them. The bottle still looks very full even though I've used it on about 5 items, with 2 coats each. So a little goes a very long way.

Like I initially stated, these are my opinions and how these products have worked for me. I cannot guarantee if they will work for your kind of leather goods. Your best bet is to do your research, Google and forums are great for reviews.

With all my bags, I make sure I store them stuffed, so they stay in shape, inside their dustbags. For bags with darker interior, I find newspaper is great to stuff with. Newspaper will also keep away any musty smell that leather may get over time if not used regularly. I don't suggest stuffing bags with anything other than paper based materials. Paper will absorb any moisture that may gather. Storing them in their original dustbag will also help in keeping hardware from oxidizing and from dust gathering on the bag. Though oxidization in hardwares/metals can't be avoided in some metals, storing the item properly can prolong it from happening. If you don't have dustbags, pillow cases can also do the trick.

I rotate my bags a lot. After each use before putting it away, I'll quickly look over it to see if I need to clean or wipe any areas before storing it.

I hope this is somewhat helpful at least. I'm a little OCD in trying to keep my items in good condition, so my sickness can be your learning tool.



  1. Do you use the LMB products on your Latte Rocco? I'm thinkin' I definitely need to do something to treat and protect mine, and have been sniffing around the LMB products for a while. :)

    1. Maja, I haven't used anything on my Latte Rocco. I have tried LMB's Lamb Caress, and it took out some surface dirt, however did not clean it properly. My Latte is so sad looking, it doesn't really look it in some photos, but I felt it's gotten so dark and doesn't have that nice sheen that yours has.

      I even tried HG Cleaner on one corner, but I think it's too harsh for the leather and didn't clean it either.

  2. your blog is good for all.After reading some nice stuff in your article I really feel speechless, because it is quit pretty article. Beside this it is also a long lasting article about leather cleaner. Thanks for giving me such type of useful information..

  3. Hi there, which products do you use to clean your espadrilles? thanks!

    1. Hi L, I use the Lamb Caress and the Leather Honey on my espadrilles. But of course mine is black, so if you have a different colour, best to do a spot test to see how it holds up when dried.

      Hope that helps!

  4. hi there, which of these products do you use to clean your espadrilles?

  5. Hi there! I was alas wondering how you cleaned/protected your espadrilles !thank you!


Thank you for taking the time to comment. I appreciate you visiting the blog.
Anne xox