How to Store Leather Bags

Leather bags will last for decades with proper care, especially those made of full-grain leather. And knowing how to store them correctly is essential to maintain their quality and prolong their lifespan.

Let's explore the steps of preparing your bag for storage, choosing the right storage location, proper bag placement, long-term storage tips, and maintenance and care.

Preparing the Leather Bag for Storage

Before storing your leather bag, it's important to prepare it properly to prevent damage during storage.

Cleaning the Bag

Remove all items: Empty your bag, including pockets and compartments.

Dusting and wiping: Remove any surface dirt or particles to keep your bag clean and fresh. Start by gently dusting the exterior with a soft, dry cloth or a soft-bristled brush. Pay attention to crevices and corners where dust can build up—this removes surface dirt or particles.

Spot cleaning: To spot-clean your bag before storage, use a mild leather cleaner formulated for your leather. Apply a small amount of cleaner on a clean cloth and gently blot the stained area. Be gentle to avoid damage. Follow the instructions provided by the manufacturer or consult a professional cleaner if necessary.

Allow the bag to dry: After spot cleaning, let the bag air dry before conditioning. Avoid leather cracking or shrinking by not using direct heat sources, such as hair dryers or radiators.

Conditioning the Leather

For full-grain leather bags, like the ones you’ll find here at Latico, we advise against using any kind of leather conditioner to treat the bag. However, top-grain and “genuine” leathers will require regular conditioning. It nourishes the leather, replenishes the natural oils, and prevents it from drying out and cracking.

Choose the right conditioner: Leather needs moisturizing to maintain suppleness. Select a high-quality leather conditioner suitable for your bag's type of leather. To reiterate, you will not need to use a conditioner for full-grain.

Test the Leather: You will eventually apply conditioner to the entire bag, but first, test it in a small, hard-to-see area to check for discoloration or damage. If the conditioner passes the test, you can proceed to the next step.

Apply conditioner: Take a small amount of conditioner on a clean, soft cloth and apply it gently and circularly. Distribute the conditioner evenly distributed over the entire surface of the bag. Pay extra attention to areas prone to dryness, such as handles and corners.

Allow for absorption: After applying the conditioner, let your bag set for a few hours or overnight before using it.

Remove excess conditioner: After the absorption, gently use a clean cloth to buff away any excess conditioner.—this step gives a smooth finish and eliminates residue.

Choosing the Right Storage Location

Choose the right storage location for your leather bag to maintain its quality and prevent damage. Temperature, humidity, and light can impact leather's condition, which we'll discuss in a second. But first, these are the most common places to store a handbag.

Where to Store Your Handbag

Bedroom: Choose a clean, dry corner or a dedicated shelf. It will be easier to coordinate bags with your outfits and even turn them into decorative elements with a wall rack of sorts.

Closet: Arrange them on shelves or hanging organizers to keep shapes intact and avoid clutter. This approach shields bags from direct sunlight and dust, maintaining their quality.

Other Small Spaces: Utilize over-the-door hangers, under-bed storage boxes, or vertical dividers in tight areas. These solutions maximize limited space and keep bags accessible yet uncluttered.

Temperature and Humidity Control

Optimal temperature range: Keep leather bags in an environment with a consistent temperature between 60°F (15°C) and 70°F (21°C). Extreme temperatures can cause cracks or warping as the leather expands and contracts, so avoid storing your bags in areas prone to excessive heat or cold.

Humidity levels: Ideally, maintain the relative humidity in the storage area between 40% and 50%. High humidity promotes mold or mildew, while low humidity can cause the leather to dry and crack. Place a dehumidifier in the near vicinity to reduce humidity and prevent mold buildup.

Protection from Sunlight and Artificial Light

Avoid direct sunlight: Store bags away from windows or use curtains or blinds to block out sunlight, which can cause fading and discoloration.

Minimize exposure to artificial light: Prolonged exposure to artificial light sources, such as fluorescent bulbs or spotlights, can also cause color fading and damage to the leather. If possible, store your bags in a dark or dimly lit area.

Ventilation and Air Circulation

Adequate ventilation: Leather needs good ventilation to prevent the buildup of musty odors and moisture. Maintaining good air circulation helps keep the leather fresh and prevents mold or mildew growth.

Avoid airtight containers: Storing leather bags in sealed containers for protection may be tempting, but airtight containers can trap moisture and promote mold.

Protection from Dust and Debris

Clean storage surfaces: Before storing leather bags, clean your storage surface to remove dust or debris.

Utilize dust bags or covers: Store your leather bags in breathable fabric dust bags or cotton pillowcases to provide an extra layer of protection. Covers help prevent dust accumulation and shield the bags from scratches.


Repairing Scratches & Scuffs

After cleaning a leather bag, it's time to inspect it for scratches and scuffs. You can improve the look of damaged leather with the right techniques and tools.

Assess the depth of the damaged leather: Examine the scratches and scuffs. How deep are they? You can buff superficial surface scratches, but deeper scratches may require additional treatment.

Use Leather Conditioner: For light surface scratches, apply a small amount of leather conditioner to the affected area. Gently rub the conditioner into the leather using a soft cloth or your fingertips—this helps minimize shallow scratches and restore the original color and texture of the leather. Remember, this only applies to lower-quality leathers like top-grain and genuine.

Try a leather repair kit: If the scratches are more severe or the leather conditioner does not fully repair the damage, consider using a leather repair kit. These kits typically include a color-matching compound or filler, an adhesive, and various tools for application.

Apply the color-matching compound: Using a small spatula or the provided applicator, apply a small amount of the color-matching compound to the scratch or scuff. Carefully follow the instructions provided with the kit for the proper application technique.

Smooth and blend the compound: Use a soft cloth or your fingertip to blend the color-matching compound into the surrounding leather. Apply light pressure and smooth out the excess compound to achieve a seamless appearance.

Let the compound dry: Follow the instructions for the recommended drying time in the leather repair kit. Avoid touching or placing objects on the repaired area.

Buff and polish: Once the compound has dried, gently buff the repaired area with a soft cloth to smooth unevenness. You can also use a leather conditioner or polish to restore the luster of the repaired section to help it match the rest of the bag.

Proper Leather Bag Placement

Use shelf dividers or organizers to arrange and organize your bags for optimal longevity and shape maintenance.

Shelf dividers: If you have multiple bags to store, consider using shelf dividers to create separate compartments for each bag so they don't lean or collapse onto each other.

Bag organizers: Invest in purse inserts or organizers to maintain bag shape and support.

Stuff Bags with Acid-Free Tissue Paper or Bubble Wrap

Preserve the shape: To keep the shape of your leather bags and prevent them from collapsing or wrinkling, stuff them with acid-free tissue paper or bubble wrap. Fill the bag's interior gently, and do not overstuff.

Avoid using newspaper or colored tissue paper: Ink or dye may stain the leather. Stick to acid-free tissue paper or bubble wrap.

Arrange Bags in an Upright Position

Upright storage: Store your bags in an upright position whenever possible. This helps to prevent any strain on the handles or straps and maintains the bag's shape.

Utilize bag stands or hooks: Use them to hang your bags if they have sturdy handles. Hanging the bags keeps them upright and allows air circulation, reducing the chances of mold or mildew growth.

Rotate Bags Periodically

Avoid prolonged pressure: To prevent permanent creasing or deformation, rotate your bags periodically. If a bag stays in the same position for an extended period, it may develop permanent marks or creases. By rotating bags every few months, you distribute the pressure and maintain their shape.

Take note of weight distribution: If you have multiple bags on a shelf, be mindful of weight distribution. Avoid placing heavier bags on lighter ones to prevent unnecessary strain and deformation.

Long-Term Storage Tips

Taking additional precautions is important when storing leather bags for an extended period.

Clean and Condition Before Storage

Clean and condition your bags before long-term storage. Let the bags fully dry to avoid mold or mildew.

Use Silica Gel or Moisture Absorbers

Proper moisture control is essential for long-term storage. To prevent mold or mildew growth, place silica gel packets or moisture absorbers in the storage area to absorb excess moisture and maintain a dry environment. Place moisture absorbers away from the leather to prevent damage or staining.

Regularly Check and Air Out Bags

Even during long-term storage, you should check your bags periodically. Inspect them for any signs of mold, mildew, or pests. If you notice any issues, address them immediately to prevent further damage.

Air out your bags by opening the storage area or removing them from their covers. Allowing the bags to breathe briefly can help maintain their freshness and prevent musty odors.

More Maintenance & Care Tips

Avoid Excessive Moisture and Water Exposure

Protect your leather bags from excess moisture and water exposure—it can cause damage to the leather. Avoid using them in rainy or extremely humid conditions, and be cautious of spills or splashes.

If your bag does get wet, gently pat it dry with a soft cloth and allow it to air dry naturally.

Handle with Clean Hands

Handle leather bags with clean hands to prevent the transfer of oils, dirt, or other substances that can stain or damage the leather.

If you’ve applied hand lotion or other products, wait until they absorb before handling your bag.

Handle Hardware with Care

Pay attention to the hardware on your leather bags, such as zippers, buckles, or clasps. Keep them clean and functional by wiping them gently with a soft cloth. Avoid excessive force when operating the hardware, as it can cause damage or scratches.

Professional Cleaning and Restoration

If your leather bag requires deep cleaning or restoration, it's best to seek professional assistance. Professional cleaners and leather care specialists have the expertise and tools to tackle more stubborn stains or issues.

Before hiring a professional cleaner for your leather bags, it's important to see if they specialize in leather care. Read reviews and do thorough research.

Properly storing leather bags is crucial for maintaining their quality and longevity. Simple steps include preparing the bags for storage, choosing the right storage location, placing them correctly, and employing long-term storage tips. It is also important to carry out regular maintenance and care practices to keep your bags in top condition. By applying these guidelines, your leather bags will remain well-preserved for many years.

Are you aware that 100% full-grain leather gets better with time? Choosing the best quality is a wise investment if you want to purchase a leather bag. The good news is that at Latico, we only use the highest quality 100% full-grain leather for our bags and price them within reach. Visit us today, and remember to browse our sales!

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