Protect and condition- these are the two main things you need to know when it comes to leather shoes and bags. Leather’s worst enemy is water, followed by heat, so preventative measures to make sure that leather doesn’t get wet is a must. There are a number of water and stain repellent products on the market, and treating your goods before using them is a great first step. Bear in mind that this won’t make them 100% waterproof though, so try not to use your leather goods in wet conditions!
Leather in general is quite porous, and it will lose moisture through evaporation. Cream polishes are also a great way to bring out the shine, add a bit of colour to faded leather and also help moisturise the leather. Just make sure you choose a matching polish for the shoe or bag for instance, and buffer with a clean, soft cloth afterwards to give it that extra shine and take off excess polish!
Tackle dust and dried-on dirt by wiping your leather goods with a dry, non-abrasive cloth or even a soft-bristled dirt brush. Stubborn stains can be treated with a leather stain remover; just remember to use it per bottle instructions!
But what should you do if you unexpectedly get caught up in the rain or accidentally knock a glass of water onto your leather bag? The first thing to do is to soak up the excess moisture with an absorbent towel or cloth and allow it to air dry in a well ventilated place. Resist the urge to use a hair dryer or expose it in direct sunlight or other heat sources such as heat vents or radiators, as heat warps the leather and dries it out. You don’t want those unsightly cracks at all!
Leather goods need to breathe, so it is essential not to use plastic containers to store your shoes and bags, as this will cause mould to grow. For bags, use dust bags or even cotton pillowcases, and include a couple of silica gel packets to absorb the moisture.
And last, but not the least, find a good, neighbourhood cobbler for shoes and bags as an investment. Not only can they buffer and polish your goods to the shiniest standard, but they also have a few tricks up their sleeves such as mending a leather tear and other services such as shoe stretching or colour re-dyeing.