Leather care is easy if you get the basics right. Leather can be restored, but regular maintenance is highly recommended and more cost effective. Leather surfaces, are just like beautiful delicate skin. Leather care is basically a four-step process of cleaning, conditioning, polishing and finally adding a moisture barrier to your fine leather products. Any leather care enthusiast will tell you that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. If cared for properly, your leather will last and stay in good shape for years, even decades. Even if you only have one leather handbag or leather product; proper maintenance is critical. You have already made an investment in your leather handbag, briefcase or accessory and want to protect your investment.

For cleaning you can use any of several good leather cleaners on the market; just follow the manufacturer’s directions. Always rub in the direction of the leather grain, being careful not to rub too hard. A mild dish washing liquid mixed with water can also be used. Be careful to use only mild and reputable products as you do not want to strip the natural oils from the leather.

Leather conditioner should be applied 2 to 4 times a year or when the leather appears dry. Most, if not all leather conditioners do not contain UV protection so be sure to keep your good leather products out of direct sunlight as much as possible. Leather that is not cared for deteriorates in performance and this means you have to replace your handbags or other leather products more often. Leather cleaner or conditioner should be used occasionally to keep the leather flexible. Leather is a natural product and needs moisturizing. Leather care is necessary so that your fine leather goods do not dry out, tear or crack.

Remember; leather is a natural living breathing fabric, and as such its care is different form other fabrics. The following tips will help with everyday care:

1> Never store in a sealed plastic bag, use cloth instead.

2> Hang your leather purse from a hook to maintain its best shape.

3> Clean smooth leathers regularly with a damp cloth or specialized leather cleaner.

4> Brush the rough leathers to clean and freshen.

5> If your leather handbag becomes severely soiled or damaged, take to a professional leather specialist.

6> Keep materials like fingernail polish, bleach, nail polish remover and household cleaners away from your leather.

7> If your leather becomes wet, allow it to dry at room temperature.

Leather is prone to damage from spills, stains, and even the weather. But it is possible to mitigate the damage and protect your investment by following a few simple steps. Should your leather become stained the key to treating the stain is timing. The sooner you catch the spill or stain, the more likely you will be able to fully remove the stain completely. Many blemishes can be treated with a mild dish washing liquid soap mixed with water. It is recommended that your try this first, especially on stains of unknown origins.

A good commercial leather soap can also be used. Always rub in the direction of the grain and be careful not to rub so hard that you grind the stain into the leather more rather than removing it. A quality leather handbag will come into contact with many different materials and will probably develop a stain at some time. Home treatments can help you minimize damage, but never be afraid to call in the services of a professional. Your handbag was a major investment and it is well worth spending the extra money to maintain it properly.

Leather care starts with preventive maintenance and is relatively easy but you need to be consistent. Leather care is a satisfying chore that pays off ten fold if done regularly and thoroughly. Good leather care is equivalent to good skin care. Leather care is very important to people who wish to maintain their valuable leather possessions. You can count on leather lasting longer if it was cared for properly. Ashley Clarke