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What No One Tells You About Cleaning Your Leather Handbags (But Probably Should)

Cleaning your beautiful leather tote bag shouldn’t be a hassle. A lot of people stress about it, because after all, the last thing you want to do is ruin your beautiful tote with the wrong type of cleaner. Oils on the skin and regular exposure to environmental factors, such as perfumes or hairspray along with daily use can take it’s toll on leather and bags.

Some say clean your leather handbag once a week to reduce light soiling. Others say only clean it once a year. With all of the conflicting advice how do you know what to listen to? To make things easier we asked the experts at Portland Leather Goods a Oregon based company that specializes in high quality full grain leather products at affordable prices. These tips can help.

Clean YourLeather Tote with Warm Water.

Add a few drops of mild liquid soap to two cups of warm water and mix until suds form. Dip a soft cloth in the water. Use the wet cloth to clean the outside of the bag. Move the cloth in a circular motion. Buff dry with another soft, dry cloth. You don’t need to use too much water, keep it light and bright.

Clean the InsideEvery Few Months.

The inside of your leather tote can get just a dirty often even more so. Spilled food, uncapped pens and unopened snacks can rattle around on the inside leaving the tote bag in need of some added tender love and care. To clean out the inside you will want to focus on removing everything from the inside first. We recommend cleaning the inside ever three to four months. If you use it every day, then you may need to clean it more often. Empty the contents of your purse and run a lint brush or vacuum hose along the inner lining to collect dust.  You can then wash the interior stains with soap and water. Always allow your handbag to dry before replacing contents.

Remove Heavy Stains.

Grease stains can be overwhelming but they are easy to wipe away. Simply wipe off with a cloth. Ink stains can be removed from the tote by dipping a cotton swab into rubbing alcohol. Rub the stain with the dipped swab until it disappears from the leather bag and then let dry.

Organic stains from food can often be removed with chalk powder. Take the chalk powder and crush the white chalk, dab it on the stain on the leather tote, you can even let it sit on the stain overnight for maxim benefit. In the morning dust it off with a clean cloth. Think about using a leather-specific protective spray for brushed or finished leather if you use your bag frequently. Test this product first in an inconspicuous area to see if the finish darkens.

If you see a deep stain, you will want to remove it as soon as possible. Stains, such as blood, wine, and food, should be cleaned off your leather tote bag with a paste. Mix together one part tartar with one part lemon juice and apply the paste liberally to the stain. Let it sit for ten minutes; then wipe it off. Finish by cleaning and drying the handbag as we shared above.

Check Manufacture Cleaning Details.

More common ‘genuine leather’ products available from large department stores have been stripped down and rebuilt with resins, waxes, and chemicals to make all 100,000 look identical. The best these mass-made products will ever look is the day you buy them! In contrast, a full grain Portland Leather Goods tote bag will be stunning when you use them for the first time, and only increase in beauty with every day, becoming something you will treasure for a lifetime.

When buying from Portland Leather Goods, the tanning process has already treated your leather product and most scratches & scuffs accrued in the first few months of use will easily rub out or disappear with time. Seriously, it will amaze you! It’s best DO NOT use conditioner for the first 6 months to a year.

After many months (or years) of use, the natural oils in the leather will begin to dry. Now is the time to use a leather conditioner! Always test any conditioner on a small, inconspicuous part of your leather item. Please note that conditioning with oil or an oil based product will darken the color of your leather, so proceed with caution.

Do Twice a Year Reconditioning.

Just like your car or home, a deep clean is needed. We recommended at least twice a year you mix one part white vinegar with two parts linseed oil in a plastic bowl. Dip a rag into the solution and rub onto the leather bag in small circular motions. Let the vinegar solution soak into the leather for 15 minutes; then use a dry cloth to buff the leather bag to a beautiful shine. Think of it as a spa treatment for your leather tote bag.

This article brought to you by Portland Leather Goods. We make award-winning handmade leather products in Portland, Oregon, from the finest full-grain hides, creating personalized products to showcase your personal style.

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