A Classic Man's Guide to Taking Care of Your Leather Duffle Bag

A Classic Man's Guide to Taking Care of Your Leather Duffle Bag

Leather is the perfect durable material for leather travel bags. But if you need to learn how to care for your leather duffle bag, check out this guide.

Keyword(s): leather duffle bag

Leather is a trend that is simply not going away. It has been popular since 300 B.C. and has shown no signs of slowing down. The leather goods industry brings in a whopping $100 billion per year.

Leather is the perfect material for many reasons; its strong, durable, and timeless. Each product is different having its unique markings and patterns, making it truly one of a kind. 

If you've got a new leather duffle bag then you probably want to know how to take care of it so it doesn't end up dried and cracked like your other ones. 

The beauty of leather is the more you use it, the better it looks over time. We love leather because it lasts forever--but only if you take care of it. 

Why You Need to Care for Leather

As durable as we think leather is, we must remember that it is, in fact, skin--animal skin. Just like you wash (and perhaps moisturize) your body, you need to give similar care to your leather goods as well. 

Poorly cared for leather drastically reduces the lifespan of the leather good whether its a bomber jacket, bag, or wallet. 

In this article, we'll dive into five easy, need-to-know tips for caring for your leather bag (as well as all your leather goods). 

Saddle up, cowboy; we're getting started.

5 Tips for Caring for Your Leather Duffle Bag

Before we get started, take a moment and consider how you want your leather bag to look. Are you going for the manly man, scratched up, adventure-taking look? Or is this bag for professional uses and best kept polished and looking it's best? 

How often you condition or polish your leather will depend on what type of leather you want. 

1. Clean Your Leather

The first step in caring for your leather is to wipe it down with a clean cotton cloth every other day. This maintenance will avoid the buildup of stains and oils that accumulate on your bag. 

Once or twice a year you should give all your leather goods a good clean. The natural oils that build up on your hands tend to soak into the leather, altering your leather's appearance over time. Be sure to handle your bag with clean hands, as often as you can.

How to Clean Your Leather

To do this you'll need a simple solution of water and mild soap. Dampen your cloth and gently clean the surface of the leather. Be careful not to use too much soap to avoid clogging the leather's pores.

If you see a stain on your leather, treat it as soon as possible, to avoid it setting in.

A good trick for removing organic stains like food and blood from leather is to use chalk powder. Apply crushed white chalk to the stain and allow it to sit overnight. After some time, when the chalk dries, simply dust off the chalk and you're good to go. 

2. Condition Regularly

The look you're going for with your leather depends on how often you condition your leather. Experts suggest anywhere from monthly conditioning for a more polished, shiny look to every 3-6, even 12 months for a more rugged look. 

Conditioning your leather is a lot like moisturizing your skin. Leather dries out over time, after all, it is animal hyde. If you live in a drier area, you might want to consider conditioning your bag more often. 

How to Condition Your Leather

Prevent wrinkling and flaking of your bag by conditioning your leather regularly. To do this you'll need a conditioner, specifically for leather, and a damp cloth. 

Opt for leather conditioners like mink oil, neatsfoot oil, or Skidmore's leather cream, which bring back the natural moisture, soft, and suppleness to your leather. Be aware that neatsfoot oil will darken the leather a bit so be sure to test it out first. 

Read the instructions of your leather conditioner before using. Some may require you to apply the conditioner, wait 10-15 minutes, then wipe off the access. Others may be as easy as applying and leaving it to dry. 

3. Avoid Rain

If you know it's going to downpour, avoid taking your duffle out in the rain. If it does get wet from an unexpected shower or spill, don't panic, it's not the end of the world. 

Move quickly to blot (not rub) at the damp leather. Press newspaper or towels into the dampness to absorb the moisture.

Avoid heat regardless of what your instincts tell you. Don't run to the hairdryer or radiator in hopes it will dry the leather out. Simply blot as much liquid as you can out and leave dry newspaper inside the bag to absorb any water you may have missed. 

4. Avoid Chemicals 

Chemicals and leather are not friends. At all costs, avoid chemicals, cleaning products, hair products, colognes, waxes, and lubes. 

Only use products designed specifically for leather use and if you're unsure, then don't. A lot of these products clog the pores of the leather, suffocating it and damaging it permanently. 

Be careful of women who profusely spray perfume into the air and keep away from places that are prone to spills.

5. Store Your Bag Properly

Just like your own skin, your leather has pores. It's important for the life of your leather that you let it breathe. Store in a cloth, preferably cotton, bag and store away from sunlight.

If you've just cleaned your bag, allow it to dry thoroughly before storing it. 

Keep bubble wrap or newspaper inside the bag to maintain shape in storage to avoid permanent creases or cracks. This ensures your bag will look it's best between uses. 

Choosing the Right Leather Bag

If you're looking to upgrade your current bag for a new leather duffle bag then you need to check out the Boxing Irishman's Duffle Bag by Mustache Trading. It's everything you're looking for in a bag whether it's for the gym or if you're heading out for a long night 

Not sure which one to choose? Find the right bag that suits your lifestyle here.