Okay, brace yourselves people. I am about to reveal a random truth about myself.
Are you ready???
Okay here goes… I only own one purse. *collective gasp!*
Yup, I am a one purse kinda gal. I usually wait until my current purse in in tatters, and then I thoughtlessly and impulsively buy a bag that strikes my fancy. My last purse I bought about a year and a half ago while on a roadtrip around Monument Valley in Utah.. it was a Navajo design woven rug hobo bag. Super cute!
But it is already starting to look a bit shabby, and I was starting to feel the urge / desire / hankering to buy a QUALITY purse that will last me for more than just a year or two. I have always wanted a real leather purse, so I sat down, did some serious online shopping, and finally settled on this Nino Bossi leather hobo bag at a super crazy markdown on Overstock. I LOOOOOVE IT!!!!!!
So now that I have my hopefully long term purse, I wanted to make sure I am taking care of it. Good quality leather purses can last for decades if you care for them properly. Proper care prevents the leather from drying out and cracking, and it protects it from excessive moisture that can cause the skin to swell or mildew. If you keep to a cleaning schedule you’ll have a soft, reliable leather handbag for years to come.
How to Care For and Clean Your Leather Purse
1. Handle your leather purse with clean hands.
Leather bags are essentially skin.. and just like your skin, it is susceptible to absorbing grease, oils and chemicals! Take extra special care of your bag at hair salons and keep it away from coloring solutions, hair sprays and other hair products, which can seriously damage the leather over time. Also, keep cosmetics inside a pouch, cap all pens and anything that leaks, and get a small pencil case to protect the leather and keep small items from spilling or damaging the fabric.
Be sure to regularly and thoroughly wipe the surface of your leather purse with a damp cloth to – about one a week – to remove visible and invisible surface oils and grime. Just be careful not to use too much water, which can damage your purse! If your purse gets too wet, do not use a hair dryer on it. Instead, absorb as much water as possible with a thick microfiber hand towel and allow the bag to air dry. Then condition it and store it.
2. Apply a cleaner specially made for leather.
Leather cleaners are designed to be applied using a circular motion and wiped off with a slightly damp cloth so as not to clog the pores of the fabric. It usually cleans AND conditions, and it an absolute essential to investing in your purses long-term use. Cleaning and conditioning your purse should be done a minimum of twice a year.
I just purchased the Norwex Leather Shine (click here to buy!) which is made with pure bee and carnauba wax. Norwex Leather Shine naturally cleans, restores and beautifies leather without man-made waxes or harmful chemicals, and it replaces the natural oils in dry leather as it waterproofs, moisturizes and protects! Synthetic waxes or silicone products can clog up leather pores and may render them unable to be cleaned in the future, so avoid those and opt for natural alternative. Also avoid cleaning products with alcohol, turpentine or other mineral spirits as they will discolor and dry out leather.
3. Remove stains as soon as you notice them.
Organic stains from food or blood can often be removed with chalk powder. Just crush white chalk, let it sit on the stain overnight and dust it off with a clean microfiber cloth. Voila! (Again, I highly recommend Norwex microfiber!!)
4. Use a toothbrush and cotton swabs to clean buckles, zippers and stitching.
Dirt, debris and grime can work it’s way into the tiniest nooks and crannies! While cleaning, use a lightly damp stiff bristle toothbrush and cotton swabs to gently loosen and lift dirt and grime from tiny areas like zippers, buckles and especially around stitching.
5. Stuff your unused bag with bubble wrap to hold its shape when in storage.
Store your leather purse in a dust bag or natural-fabric pillowcase. (If you’ve just cleaned the bag, allow it to air dry completely before storage!) If you’re storing long-term, ease open the buckles and straps so impressions are released. This helps to avoid rubbing or permanent creases in unwanted areas.