There are 2 main schools of thought when it comes to leather care: one attempts to keep the leather looking brand spanking new. The other is more concerned with caring for the leather in a way that lets the life story of the leather—and its carrier—emerge over time.
I’ll let you guess which corner we’re in.
So, here are 4 simple steps to care for your leather—whether briefcase, bag, or dopp kit—in a way that honors its story and yours:
1. IF YOUR LEATHER GETS WET, DRY IT.
Gently blot (not rub!) excess as soon as possible, and allow the rest to air dry. Do not use a heat source to speed up the drying. When drying a bag, stuff the inside with newspaper to help the bag hold its shape and to help absorb moisture from the interior.
2. IF YOUR LEATHER GETS TOO DRY, CONDITION IT.
Massage a high-quality leather conditioner into the leather and use a clean cloth to gently wipe off excess.
3. IF YOUR LEATHER GETS DIRTY, CLEAN IT.
Start by always handling your leather with clean hands - oil and residue will easily transfer to leather. Every other day, briskly sweep your leather bag with a soft, dry, or slightly damp cloth. Once or twice a year, remove dirt buildup by wiping down your leather bag with a cleaner made specifically for leather. Apply in a circular motion, and wipe off with a slightly damp cloth to avoid clogging the pores of the leather.
4. IF YOUR LEATHER ISN’T BEING USED, STORE IT.
Proper storage is important when caring for leather. Store leather in a space away from heat, humidity, sunlight, and dust - preferably in a fabric (not plastic!) bag and/or box. Air leather bags, jackets, and luggage once every few weeks to prevent mold growth.
When you care for leather properly, it will become more beautiful, rugged, and interesting over time, echoing its adventures—and yours.