How To Care For Your Handbag

Image: The Vendeur / Tom Hartford

When properly taken care of, a well made leather handbag can last for decades. It has the potential to become an incredibly sustainable item in your wardrobe. We spoke to Karen and Ellen Yates of Taylor Yates to get some insider tips on how to care for your leather handbag.

With a little regular love, your handbag will reward you with years of faithful service. However stains, scratches and discolouration are a sad but inevitable part of owning a leather bag. Before you throw your bag away, fear not, help is at hand. In recent years, restoration services have popped up, allowing us to breath new life into bags that have been loved a little too vigorously. But what can you do yourself at home? Give a little thought to storage when you’re not using it and endeavour to keep it away from grease and pens. But most importantly, say Taylor Yates, love it and wear it well.

We love the fact that as the leather ages the softer it gets and the small marks and natural lines become part of the look that makes your bag individual.” Ellen Yates

Image: The Vendeur / Tom Hartford

  • Wipe your bag once every week or so with warm soapy water and a damp cloth. This will help to prevent dirt becoming ingrained. Taylor Yate’s bags are all treated with a water resistant finish which means they dry off soft after getting wet.
  • For tougher dirt, use a cleaning agent like a cream, not water as you risk permanent water damage.
  • Avoid holding your bag just after you’ve applied a body, face or hand cream/oil as the grease will transfer. To treat a grease mark, some cornstarch applied quickly can absorb the stain. Regularly spraying a leather protector or applying a cream will make it easier to lift marks away.
‘The main cause of permanent stains on leather is due to oil and grease. The WR100X finish on our bags mean that if the stains are caught quickly they can often be lifted off with a dry cloth. We have recently learnt a top tip from our factory that putting talc powder on a grease stain can help to draw some of the stain out.” – Ellen Yates
  • Use a dust bag or pillow case to store you bags when not in use. This prevents dirt and dust build up. Always store them away from sunlight to ensure the colour doesn’t fade or bleach.
  • Use a leather cream regularly to condition the leather. It also provides a protective layer to prevent superficial damage like scratches.
  • Never use baby wipes to clean leather as they will discolour it and may leave marks.
  • Cleaning suede it harder and may be better left to the experts. However if you feel confident, try a foam cleaner brushed into the suede using a slightly damp suede brush.
  • Treat scuff and scratch marks on coloured leather with The Handbag Spa’s custom repair pens. They have been designed to match popular handbag styles perfectly.

Image: The Vendeur / Tom Hartford

And If You Need Professional Help…

Some issues are better left to proffessional services, especially if the damage is extensive or your bag was expensive. Luckily several amazing services exist that have special experience working with the most high end leather handbags. It may also be worth checking your bag in every year or so for a little refresh to keep it looking like new. Here are a few that we really love. 

Disclaimer: This post was created in partnership with Taylor Yates. Images (unless otherwise notted) are the property of The Vendeur and should not be reused without prior written permission.