A finely made, genuine leather travel bag is something to cherish. After all, this high-quality accessory is a timeless piece that can last for years. However, a leather travel case is a lot like your own skin: if you want it to stay looking its best, it needs moisturizing and careful upkeep.
Of course, even the most careful owner can’t prevent a bag from aging. Genuine leather naturally ages over time — again, much like your skin. But with proper care and maintenance, your bag will age like a fine wine, creating a beautiful, weathered look known as a “patina.”
So, how do you ensure that your bag stays in tip-top shape? Here are some tips that will help you avoid damage and deal with inevitable wear. Follow this advice, and your bag can last for years, looking beautiful from the first day you carry it until the last time you put it away.
Protect With Oil and Polish
To help your leather travel case retain its color and supple feel, condition it with the recommended type of leather oil once a month. This will moisturize the fabric and keep it from drying out, which can eventually cause cracking. But what happens if your bag is scratched in-between conditioning sessions?
Scratches are nearly unavoidable, and, over time, they can add to the character of your bag. However, you can keep scratches at bay longer by applying polish to the bag’s exterior. Boot polish or saddle soap will give the case a protective barrier, helping to spare the leather from damage.
However, remember that any polish — even clear polish — subtly changes the color of your genuine leather travel bag. Before you liberally apply polish and elbow grease, make sure to test the polish’s effect on a small, hidden area of the leather, such as the underside of the case or the luggage tag.
Clean Away Dirt
If scratches are nearly inevitable, dirt marks on your bag are a guarantee. After all, we take our bags everywhere — airports, subways, sidewalks — and ambient dirt will stick to practically any genuine leather travel bag. Thankfully, dirt and dust wipe off easily, and many of the scuff marks they leave behind are removable, too.
Applying a small amount of warm water with a soft rag is a good option for removing marks left by dirt and dust. Never submerge your leather travel case in water. Take the soft, damp cloth and gently buff away the marks to leave your bag looking as good as new.
When we say to buff “gently,” we mean it; using too much pressure on your bag can damage the protective finish, ultimately doing more harm than good. Cleaning with water is relatively quick. If you do it right, you’ll eliminate any pesky dirt marks that accrue from your daily travels.
Protect your leather Travel case from Heat, Cold, and Rain
The best way to keep your leather travel case safe from inclement weather is to check the forecast, and carry a non-leather bag if precipitation is predicted. The finish on many leather bags makes them lightly water-resistant, but they can’t withstand downpours or ice that clings.
Speaking of weather, prolonged exposure to excessive heat or cold can compromise leather’s protective finish, leaving a genuine leather travel bag vulnerable to damage. Try to keep your bag out of direct sunlight and shielded from extreme cold — the same as you would when caring for your skin.
But what if your bag unexpectedly gets caught in the rain? Once you get inside, gently wipe the bag with a soft, dry cloth and let the bag air dry. Don’t set your bag on a radiator or dry it with a hair dryer. Exposure to the concentrated heat can damage the bag. If you give it time to dry on its own, your bag will look better and last longer.
Store the Case Properly
There’s nothing more frustrating than getting ready for a trip and discovering that your travel case was damaged in storage. If you don’t take the time to store it properly, it can happen. This is why it’s important to carefully put your leather travel case away once you make it home.
Before you do put your bag away, clean it carefully and apply some oil and polish. Then, take a dust-resistant bag — either the one that came with your bag or one you can get for cheap at a department store -- and slip your case inside the container. Then, place it in the storage area in a position where it isn’t crowded by other objects. Just like that, you’ve properly stored your case.
Proper Care for Better Wear
A genuine leather travel bag is a beautiful accessory that deserves special care. If you take time to follow these steps, your leather travel case will remain beautiful, durable, and highly functional for one trip after another — whether you’re traveling for business or pleasure.
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