At Blithe & Merry - being a jewellery label which focusses on leather cuffs - we value our leather products very much and would love to share with you ladies the best way to care for your leather goods in order to extend their lifespan.
Now, we all know that leather goods should not be exposed to extreme heat or be left soaked in water. But do you know the tricks to prolonging and enhancing the durability of your beloved leather goods? If you don't, here are 5 lesser-known top tips which work wonders!
1. Let your leather breathe.
We all know this scenario: a leather bag is carefully put in a dustbag, or even a plastic bag, and then kept away in the storeroom at home. You take the bag out one day to use (or admire) it and the once-beautiful, luscious looking leather is marred by patches of white. "Is that mould?!" you ask yourself. Well, yes, it is.
Just like skin, leather products need to have some form of ventilation to prevent mould and mildew from forming and thriving. When kept in a relatively air-tight environment where air does not flow freely, your leather goods are not able to breathe, and mould forms.
Now, we know that many of us do not have the luxury of space to display our bags in well-ventilated areas of our homes like a walk-in wardrobe or the living room, so we advise taking out your leather goods once a month to air them for at least an hour, especially if they are usually stored in areas where air is still. This way, your leather goods can breathe, leaving any moisture to evaporate naturally.
And always use a breathable fabric to store your leather products in. If your leather goods came in a cloth dustbag when you purchased them, use it. Otherwise, pillowcases are great alternatives too - time to stock them up!
2. Always think “White Vinegar”
As if dealing with mould and mildew on our leather goods is not enough, we also have to battle with stubborn marks and stains. They may be tough and frustrating to get rid of, but did you know that you can wipe them off with a cloth or cotton pad soaked in white vinegar?
Begin by diluting 1 part white vinegar in 10 parts water, and, thereafter, slowly increase the amount of vinegar until you get the desired effect. It is important to always dilute the white vinegar first and slowly increase the concentration, while being watchful for any signs of damage, which includes extreme dryness.
White vinegar is actually great for many uses to help in protecting and conditioning of your leather products, but don’t make the grave mistake of getting any other vinegar other than white! Always, always think white!
3. Damp cloth always works best
So we talked about airing our leather goods to prevent mould and mildew from forming, but what if it has already grown on our leather products? How do we get rid of it? Instead of panicking and using various means of washing or scrubbing it with a harsh cleanser, a simple damp cloth is surprisingly sufficient.
First, let the leather product dry out completely in a well-ventilated room. Then, go ahead and wipe the area where the surface mould is present, with a damp cloth - no cleansing solution needed! Allow the leather to dry again. Lastly, use a mild cleansing solution like baby shampoo and apply a tiny amount on it and see the mildew come off completely.
There! No more mould problems!
4. Rock your leather accessories, but wear them last!
A typical scenario of preparing for a night out is to dress, accessorise, put on make up, and then spritz on our favourite scent as we prepare to walk through the door so the fragrance lingers on our clothing throughout the night.
What happens in this scenario, where we accessorise first? Our leather accessories may get coated with perfumes or cosmetics whilst we are happily preparing to head out, which is harmful for the leather and may shorten its lifespan.
A simple adjustment in how you prepare for a date or a night out goes a long way - always accessorise last!
5. Care for the metals too.
Leather products often come with clasps, buckles, chains and zippers, and these hardware should not be neglected as well. A leather cuff with a tarnished clasp and hardware is the same as the moon without its glow!
The gold plating on gold-plated hardware can wear off if there is excessive friction against other surfaces and the base metal underneath will show. To care for gold-plated hardware, make sure to wipe off any body oils and fingerprints with a soft cloth after every use.
In the case of silver-plated metals, the silver plating wears off easily with repeated polishing. In addition, all types of silver tarnish eventually. To keep silver hardware shiny for as long as possible, clean them on a weekly basis (or every time you use it) with a soft cloth.