All products made from natural leathers, like satchels, will age with time. Just like our own skin, it will need moisturising and caring for 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 beautiful as a new one, if not even more so. Leather is a complicated substance, but taking care of it doesn’t have to be. Take some time to learn about caring for leather products, follow these best practices, and you’ll only need to use the occasional treatment to keep your products supple and attractive.
- All leather loses moisture and oils over time and with handling. As a hide dries out it is more likely that the fibres that make up the surface of the skin will break rather than stretch. Every animal hide is unique and some will have less natural oils than others. The more we handle a product made from leather the quicker it will lose its natural flexibility due to its oils and moisture being transferred to our hands, etc. Thus, it is important to oil your jackets and bags before storing them. Apply a boot polish, Vaseline or saddle soap. This will coat the leather with a protective finish that will make it more durable.
- Remove salt deposits with a damp cloth. In damp, winter conditions, white salt deposits can form on leather. Wipe the salt off with a damp cloth promptly, to avoid dry spots and cracks. Let the leather air dry, then apply conditioner to the affected area.
- Leather Odours Leather. Leather can be stubborn about holding on to odours. You may be able to locate a leather specialist or dry cleaner in your area that can remove the odour, but it won’t come cheap. Instead try removing unwanted odours at home. There are many safe and gentle methods of removing odours like using baking soda. But, first let it air-dry.
- While storing, keep it out of hot temperatures, especially extreme heat. Heat exposure can cause the pigmented finish to bubble and to peel away. Freezing temperatures can also damage your satchel and the natural structure of its fibres that give it strength, and make them brittle. Cold temperatures can also cause the pigmented coating to crack excessively, so if you don’t like that effect then it’s prudent not to let it get too cold. Try to keep leather out of direct sunlight for long periods, because this can fade your leather.
- Once you’re happy with your clean product, keep it somewhere cool and dry to avoid damage from mould and mildew.
Although leather is very durable, it is not indestructible. Improper care or cleaning can crack and dry leather skin, remove finishes and colours, or make it too stiff to wear. Keeping leather away from chemicals, heat, and humidity are key. If leather is like skin, think of its care as anti-aging; if you wouldn’t put it on your own skin, it probably isn’t very good for the leather either.