Leather is skin, and just like your own skin, it needs a bit of nourishment every now and then. Luckily you don’t need to spend a fortune keeping your leather goods looking supple and healthy. Your leather product will change over time and it's natural beauty grow and age with use. Different types of leather have been prepared and treated with different materials and will age and wear differently. Knowing what kind of leather you’re using is therefore important.
At TITCH we primarily use two different types of leather: semi-aniline full-grain leather and vegetable tanned leather. I’ll go into why we choose to use these types of leather in another post, but for now I’ll focus on how to care for it. As an example, semi-aniline leather is the softer leather used in our slouchy anthracite tote while the straps are made from natural, untreated vegetable tanned leather. This leather ages beautifully, with the leather of the body developing a lovely deep colour, and the veg tan growing darker and softer with wear and exposure to the elements.
The first rule applies to all types of leather. Leather does not like to be repeatedly wet and dried. The constant wetting and drying will dry out the leather and cause cracking. So try not to get your bag wet. If it does get a little rain on it, or get a drink spilled on it, or whatever the cause – just pat it down gently with a dry cloth or towel. Don’t place in the sun or near a heater to try and dry it quicker as this will accelerate the drying out and cracking process. Keep the hairdryer away!
For dirty marks, use a slightly damp cloth. No soap, chemicals or any foreign substances.
For vegetable tanned leather, and particularly the natural colour, dirty marks are going to form part of its story. This leather is undyed and untreated. It will pick up marks from the natural grease of your skin, and it will tan and get darker with sun exposure, just like your skin. Don’t fight it. Embrace it. It will make your bag unique.
Every now and then, if you really want to do a good job preserving your leather, use a good leather conditioner, such as Renapur (you can buy it at any good shoe repair or leather specialty shop and one tub will last a lifetime). It’s really not necessary to do it more than once a year. Just apply a small amount and rub in with a soft clean cloth.
For our canvas totes, you’ll need to spot clean dirty marks, avoiding wetting the leather handles. If it’s really dirty try and submerge the body of the bag in a bucket of water with washing powder or stain remover, again avoiding the handles!
For some more reading on taking care of your leather goods, see here