7 Tips for Extending the Life of Your Leather Bag

It starts with a scuff, maybe a stain, and before you know it, you're left with a remnant of what your handbag once was. We've all been there - neglecting bag upkeep is something we're all guilty of. And so is the familiar disappointment that comes with realizing that your favorite bag is on its last leg. What do you do at that point? If you're anything like me, you may search for something similar, only to find that it's not as good as the original. Or you look for the same bag again. In either scenario, you've now spent double… or more. Wouldn't it be great not to have to replace it at all?

My mission with AALLYN is to help women do more with less. In this case, that means extending the life of your favorite bags. With this mission in mind, I've consolidated the following tips on how to care for your handbags:

#1: Keep your hands clean

Would you touch your face immediately after eating french fries? If you answered no, then you've passed the test! The same thinking applies to your leather bag. Leather naturally absorbs oils and other substances that touch it, so it's important to keep your hands as clean as possible when using your leather bag. Repeatedly touching your bag with oily fingers will result in darker leather and unsightly oil spots over time. Oil is also the perfect magnet for dust and dirt, making the leather look worse. 

#2: Don't overstuff your bag

It can be tempting to stuff your bag to the brim, but doing this regularly will eventually change the shape of your leather bag. If you're the type that loves to carry more, consider purchasing a more structured bag that won't be as affected by the shape of the contents inside. 
Our Bobbi Crossbody and June Satchel are the perfect options if you don't want to think about the shape of what you're carrying. 

#3: Store makeup in a separate pouch

If you've ever had a makeup compact come open and spill inside a purse, you understand why this tip is essential. Leather is prone to staining, so keeping potentially damaging items isolated inside your bag is a good idea. 
I'd recommend investing in a cosmetics pouch to carry essential makeup (like powder, lip gloss, etc.). Alternatively, you can look for bags that come with a pouch included, like our Jordan bucket bag, which comes with a removable nylon carry compartment.

#4: Avoid getting beauty products on your bag

Generally, I don't bring my leather bags into the bathroom at home. Placing a bag on a bathroom counter (especially in a home) can expose it to many "goo" threats. If you're wondering what the heck "Goo" refers to, it's a term that my husband coined when describing my crazy collection of beauty products; anything from hair spray, lotions, toners, serums… it's all just "goo." Reduce the risk of getting goo on your bag by being mindful of the environment when using your leather bag.

#5: Keep it dry

Moisture can be one of the easiest ways to damage a leather bag. It can quickly damage the leather by causing mildew and encouraging it to swell, warp and generally lose shape. Direct water can also leave water spots/marks if left on the surface for too long. If possible, avoid using your leather bag on rainy or snowy days. If you get caught in the rain or accidentally splash water on your bag in the restroom, you can blot it dry with paper towels. Beyond that, allow it to air dry the rest of the way; do not use a hairdryer or any direct heat source on leather.
Pro tip: I used to live in Seattle, where rain often came suddenly, so I had a habit of carrying a thin, packable nylon shopper bag with me inside my purses. Whenever I noticed a raindrop, I'd take the nylon bag out and put my leather purse inside. It's not perfect, but it may save you in a downpour!

#6: Store your bag where it can breathe

Be careful not to store your handbag in a plastic bin or bag, especially if it's gotten wet recently or you live in a humid climate. Storing leather inside something like a plastic bag can trap damaging moisture within the leather and encourage mildew production. Instead, wrap the bag in its dust bag and store it on a shelf or somewhere with airflow. 

#7: Treat stains immediately

If you notice that your bag has a food stain or other mark, I recommend treating the spot as soon as possible. You can use a damp, soft cloth and wipe gently, letting it air-dry afterward. If I notice a grease or oil spot, I like to brush a bit of cornstarch on that spot, let it sit overnight, and brush it off the next day. It does wonders in soaking up those oils. 

And there you have it, our list of tips to keep your leather bags in great shape so that you can do more with less. I hope these tips not only help your bags look nicer for longer but also help you keep your favorites in rotation for years to come.


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