Bag left: one of our “veg-tan” bags. Bag right: A typical “oil-pull” bag.
Cleaning Your Bag
Simply put, proper leather care varies depending on the environment and leather type. But keep in mind, if you purchased a basader bag, it’s made from quality leather. And unlike inferior materials, cleaning a veg-tan or oil-stuffed bag is actually a breeze given the right tools and products. If you just purchased a bag, rest assured, it will arrive completely conditioned, so there’s no urgent immediate need treat it, but still, it’s always good to be prepared. With this said, we’re going to quickly explain some simple leather cleaning procedures and followup with some frequently asked questions.
CLEANING VEGETABLE-TANNED OR BRIDLE LEATHER BAGS
If you purchased a bag similar to the image below, you are now the proud owner of a bridle or hand-dyed veg-tan leather bag. Cleaning this type of bag is simple, the surface has a sheen, so stains should come off using nothing more than a damp cloth. However, the key to ensuring the longevity of this leather type is the conditioning.
1. Cleaning: To clean your veg-tan or bridle bag, a slightly damp cloth will suffice. More importantly, when you do clean it, it’s necessary that you followup with a quality leather conditioner.
2. Treatment: Leather protectant ensures that natural oils are replenished after cleaning. For reasons explained in more detail here, we highly recommend “Obenauf’s Heavy Duty Leather Protectant”. To apply it, we recommend a fine cotton rag and gentle circular motions. Using a less is more approach, a little bit of Obenauf’s LP should go a very very long way. In fact, the only caution is applying too much — so, take it slow. Ideally, you want to apply a thin even coat. The leather will look extremely dark upon application, but no worries, it will return to its natural color within an hour.
3. Finishing: Once the application has dried, anywhere from 15 minutes – 30 minutes, we personally recommend polishing the bag with a clean cotton cloth (again, using a circular motion). More than anything, this is to ensure that the wax portion of the mixture (which protects the leather and adds water resistance) doesn’t attract dust.
4. That’s it! Your bag has now been imbued with the necessary organic waxes and antibacterial resins that will ensure its longevity.
CLEANING OIL-PULL UP BAGS
Much different than our veg-tan products, oil-pull up leather is more porous and has a matte finish. If you purchased a bag similar to the example below, please follow the cleaning steps outlined below.
1. Cleaning: To clean your oil-pull up bag, you will rarely need much more than a damp cloth. Working in circular motions, stains and even scratches can be removed with little effort. While you can get away with cleaning oil-pull with a damp rag, it’s always best to followup with a leather conditioner (which will restore the surface to like-new quality).
2. Treatment: For this step, we recommend using Fiebing’s 4-Way Care for reasons detailed here. Apply with a slightly damp cotton cloth, or, lightly spray the 4-Way Care onto the bag. As you will see, the surface is almost instantly restored. Using your cloth, you can massage the conditioner into the bag gently using circular motions. If you are dealing with scratches, scuffs, or abrasions, carefully apply pressure until these markings are removed.
3. Finishing: Once the 4-Way care has dried, about 15 – 30 minutes, polish the application with a clean cotton cloth. While this will not make a visible difference, it will ensure the protective waxes don’t attract dust particles.
4. The End: We love oil-pull up leather due to its matte finish, but the ability to restore even harsh abrasions is a great quality. If properly cared for, oil-pull is an extremely durable material that should last a lifetime.