A vegetable-tanned leather bag is always a smart investment. Whether you’re looking for an everyday backpack or a roomy duffel bag for extended trips, you’ll be getting the best quality and longevity on the market.
Like any investment piece, a vegetable-tanned leather bag should be treated with special care. Although this type of leather is famous for being extra durable and aging like fine wine, it will still benefit from some TLC on your end. Below we’ll be sharing our top tips on properly caring for your vegetable-tanned leather bags, so that they can look amazing for as long as possible.
The Benefits Of Vegetable-Tanned Leather
Why should you choose vegetable-tanned leather over chrome leather?
This centuries-old tanning practice results in leather that looks and smells more natural, ages with a beautiful patina, and is stronger in the long run. Plus, it’s more sustainable as it’s made with naturally-derived tannins from tree bark rather than harsh chemicals.
Vegetable-tanned leather has that ‘perfectly imperfect’ look due to its authentic nature. It’s normal to see character marks such as scratches and scars, especially on our one-of-a-kind pieces. We believe that these imperfections should be embraced; they add even more character and individuality to the leather!
True leather enthusiasts will love the look, feel, and quality of vegetable-tanned leather. It’s most often associated with artisanal craftsmanship and higher end goods, like Chuupul’s handmade bags. If you want a bag that will last you a lifetime, this will be the material for you!
How To Care For Vegetable-Tanned Leather Bags
Now let’s dive into the good stuff. Vegetable-tanned leather bags are strong, but they’re still artisanal products that deserve to be treated with the same level of care and attention you would give any luxury product.
Keep yours looking incredible by following these guidelines:
- Avoid moisture and humidity, especially in your first few months of ownership. Vegetable-tanned leather is prone to water retention in the beginning, which can cause swelling and damage. Let it age and gain some natural oil buildup before exposing it to water. Getting caught in the rain occasionally won’t harm your leather bag, but regular encounters shouldn’t happen.
- Keep your bags away from heat. Excessive amounts can dry out the leather. A bit of sunlight is ok and may actually give your leather bag a nicer color, but items that blast heat like blow dryers and radiators should be avoided.
Invest in a leather conditioner or balm to preserve the quality of your bag.
A hide is just like skin and needs to be moisturized on a regular basis. Leather conditioner will nourish the fibers and protect the surface from stains and scratches. Note that some conditioners can affect the color of your bag, but most people agree that it only makes the patina more appealing!
There are 3 types of leather conditioners you can choose from:
- Conditioning cream: moisturizes leather with minimal color change; provides a moderate level of surface protection.
- Conditioning oil: softens and moisturizes leather; provides a minimal level of surface protection.
- Wax conditioner: great for protection, but won’t provide as much moisture.
How to apply leather conditioner:
- Place the conditioner on a soft, clean cloth, not on the leather itself.
- Gently rub the conditioned cloth over the entire surface of the leather bag in a circular motion.
- Buff the leather with another soft cloth or a leather brush with natural bristles.
- Let the bag dry for a few hours before using it again.
- Spot test an unnoticeable part of your bag if you’re using a new conditioner.
How often should you condition your leather bag?
It depends on how often you use your bag. Everyday bags should be treated at least once a month, while bags that don’t get as much use can be treated once or twice a year.
The occasional mark or stain is inevitable. Keep your leather bag clean by wiping it with a clean, dry cloth, and spot treating it with leather conditioner. Avoid soap, as certain chemicals found within it can cause structural damage.
Finally, make sure you’re keeping your leather bag in a safe space!
- Choose a cool, dry location without direct sunlight or humidity.
- Protect your leather bag with a breathable cotton duster.
- Maintain your bag’s structure by stuffing it with a lightweight material like tissue or newspaper.
Now that you know how to treat vegetable-tanned leather with proper love and attention, you can shop confidently.
Explore Chuupul’s range of handmade vegetable-tanned leather bags today!