The Ultimate Care Guide for Designer Bags. How to Care for your Designer Handbag.

By Luxe Du Jour
February 16, 2024

Tips including DO’S AND DON’TS from our Bag Spa experts on protecting and extending the life of your handbags.

Picture your favorite designer bag not as a mere accessory, but as a personal storyteller of your style, a marker of luxury, and a keeper of your most cherished items. It’s not just a pretty thing; it’s a classy investment in the art of elegance. Now, just like you’d take care of something precious, your designer bag needs some love too. Imagine it as a work of art, evolving with you over time – the leather developing a subtle patina, the hardware gleaming with stories. Learning how to care for it isn’t just about appearances; it’s about honoring the artistry and craftsmanship woven into every stitch. Let’s delve into the importance of comprehending bag care.

Have you ever bought a handbag that sat on your shelf because you were too afraid to wear it out? This is the case we often see within our community of handbag owners. This is a reasonable concern because investing in a designer handbag is no small purchase. Designer handbags are crafted with genuine leathers which can be easily damaged if they are not cared for properly. However, if proper care practices are used they can last you years and serve as great investments. 

So if you want to learn how to maintain the condition of your handbags, whether you are looking to maximize your return when reselling in the future or simply keep your prized possessions in good condition for as long as possible- here is a full guide from our Bag Spa experts on the best care practices to extend the life of your handbags.

Storing them properly:

The first rule in maintaining the condition of your handbags is to always store them in their dust bag when they are not in use. This will prevent any potentially harmful elements in the environment like dust and light exposure from getting in contact with the bag. Dustbags are also breathable enough to allow for proper air circulation. If you’ve misplaced the dustbag, a pillowcase can serve as an alternative.

Do NOT store your bag in its dust bag and then in its box. This prevents the leather from being able to breathe and if you live in a humid environment this can cause mold or odors to build up.

Do NOT hang your bags from the top handle or shoulder straps for long periods of time during storage. By doing this you are causing your top handles to potentially stretch and deform or can cause a lot of strain overtime leading to damage or wear and tear

Do make sure you store your bags in a temperature-controlled or cool area and out of direct sunlight exposure.

Do make sure you lightly stuff your bags, especially totes to preserve its shape. We highly recommend investing in an insert organizer that you can always leave in your bags to further retain its shape. The insert organizers we recommend are from Samorga, Zoomani, or 7rueparadis. Alternatively, if you don’t fancy the insert organizers you can stuff the bag with specialized bag pillows while not in use that are the perfect shape custom-made for your designer bag or use air pillows that you can get from any shipping supply store.

Do use a Felt Chain Protectors or store the chains properly
With bags like a Chanel Classic Flap, dents, and scratches can form in the handbag from the heavy chain that rests directly on the leather. A felt chain protector is a piece of soft, high-quality suede that wraps around the part of the chain that meets the leather. Luxe Bag Spa has Felt Chain Protectors that fit perfectly on all Chanel Classic Flap Sizes!

The best way to store chains is to either tuck them into the bag but make sure the chains are not denting any flaps inside when tucked away. You may be thinking this is too much work for designer bags! These are just tips to maximize the longevity of your handbag and its resale value.

Preventing Early Aging and Dullness:

Moisturize at least once a year for the bags regularly used.

You might think why would I need to moisturize my bag? Well, leather will dull and become dry over time due to wear and constant exposure to different climates when taken out and it’s important to think of the leathers like your skin. When it’s cold and dry it becomes very easy to scratch and leave marks but when skin is moisturized it’s not. Similar to leather! What happens when leather is constantly dry? It can wrinkle, crease, and start cracking early which leads to the bag looking aged. We have seen a lot of vintage bags poorly cared for and their leather cracks away and has visible creasing due to the dryness overtime leading to all the other issues. Leathers like lambskin or calfskin can dry out quickly, causing them to lose their shine over time. This is especially common in drier or colder climates. After taking your bag outside for a long period of time, we recommend applying a light layer of leather moisturizer to retain the bag’s shine. Using our bag spa leather protection and moisturizing cream will also help gently clean and remove faint surface scratches and marks! It is important to use a leather moisturizer that is specifically made for designer handbag leather, you can find Luxe Bag Spa’s leather moisturizing cream here. Using a Leather lotion as needed or once a year for frequently used bags. It is NOT recommended that you use it daily or regularly on the same bag.

Use an Insert organizer for these 2 important reasons:

1. Retain the shape and structure of your bag

Bag insert organizer offers a lot of support especially for tote bags or bags that can slouch over time due to the softness of the leather. It’s an affordable investment for your expensive designer handbag and will be worth every dollar because structural loss in a designer handbag is not often repairable and decreases in value significantly. We want your bag to last as long as it can in its original integral shape. (Unless you love that slouchy relaxed look then of course, go for it!)

2. Protect the interior of your bag from stains or dents

We want to be able to carry our everyday essentials in our handbags like hand sanitizer, makeup, pens, or fragrances, however you run the risk of these products leaking and staining the interior. An improperly tightened lid can turn into a nightmare situation for our handbags. An easy fix to this is to use an insert fit for your bag so the interior remains untouched, or carry a separate pouch inside your handbag that holds your makeup and other liquid products.

We also recommend keeping the interior fresh by using a deodorizer after wearing it out, and letting it air dry for a few minutes to avoid the buildup of smells. You can find Luxe Bag Spa’s handbag deodorizer here.

Avoiding color transfer:

1. Don’t wear dark colored jeans with light colored bags:

Nearly every handbag owner has learned their lesson wearing light-coloured bags with jeans or knows someone who has. Color transfer occurs when the surface dye from one material such as denim or other dark-coloured fabrics, rubs onto the surface of another material like light-coloured lambskin or togo leather. This happens most commonly with jeans because of the rough material causing more friction against the bag. If your bag is stained by color transfer, you can get a quote here to get it repaired by a professional.

2. Don’t put light patent leather bags next to dark-pigmented colored bags

The patent can actually absorb and pick up that pigment permanently! Trust us we have seen it! Patent and Vernis leather is a chemically treated leather that looks like plastic-coated leathers but once pigment is absorbed it seeps under that shiny material and makes it impossible to remove without using professional dye over top of it.

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Protecting your hardwares:

Avoid harsh chemicals: Avoid using harsh chemicals or abrasive cleaners on the hardware, as they can damage the finish. Stick to mild, non-abrasive cleaning solutions if necessary.

Protect from Moisture: Keep your bag away from excessive moisture, as it can lead to tarnishing or corrosion of metal hardware. If your bag gets wet, pat the hardware dry with a soft cloth promptly.

Prevent Scratches: There are many companies that sell specific hardware stickers for your designer handbags that fit perfectly such as Havre De luxe. These hardware stickers are great to invest in as it can prevent your hardware from being scratched and they are practically invisible so you can wear your bag with confidence!

Protecting your Louis Vuitton Vachetta Leather:

Louis Vuitton’s vachetta leather is a type of untreated, vegetable-tanned cowhide leather used primarily for the handles, trim, and other detailing on many of their iconic handbags and accessories. The vachetta leather starts off as a pale, light beige color, and over time, it naturally develops a rich patina, darkening to a honey or caramel tone. This aging process gives each Louis Vuitton piece a unique and distinctive character, making it highly sought after by collectors and enthusiasts.

However, vachetta leather is susceptible to stains, scratches, and darkening from exposure to natural elements, such as sunlight and moisture. To protect and maintain the appearance of Louis Vuitton vachetta leather, consider the following tips:

Avoid Exposure to Direct Sunlight: Prolonged exposure to direct sunlight can accelerate the darkening process of vachetta leather. Store your Louis Vuitton bag away from direct sunlight when not in use.

Protect from Moisture: Vachetta leather can be sensitive to water and moisture. Avoid using your bag in heavy rain, and if it gets wet, gently pat it dry with a clean, soft cloth. Always allow it to air dry naturally.

Handle with Clean Hands: Avoid handling your Louis Vuitton bag with dirty or oily hands, as this can transfer oils and dirt onto the vachetta leather, leading to stains and discoloration.

Be Mindful of Clothing: Dark or heavily dyed clothing can transfer color onto vachetta leather. Be cautious when wearing dark-colored clothing to prevent color transfer.

Use a Leather Protector: Apply a high-quality leather protector or conditioner specifically designed for untreated leather. This can help create a protective barrier against stains and moisture. Test any product on a small, inconspicuous area first to ensure compatibility. We recommend the company Apple Guard as a highly rated Vachetta leather protector which can be purchased on Amazon.

Handle Stains and watermarks Promptly: If your Vachetta leather does develop stains, try to clean them as soon as possible by evening out the Vachetta using a mild leather cleaner or luxe bag spa’s patina leather cleaner which you can find under bag spa products.

Embrace the Patina: The patina development is a natural and unique aspect of Vachetta leather. Embrace the evolving character of your bag, as the patina adds personality! It doesn’t always need to stay a pasty pale color and personally, a lot of our clients prefer the beautiful honey color.

Remember that while these tips can help protect Vachetta leather, some degree of wear and patina development is inevitable and contributes to the charm of Louis Vuitton pieces. Regular care and attention will ensure that your bag ages gracefully over time

Avoiding discoloration:

Now discoloration is slightly different than color transfer because discoloration can happen naturally if not properly cared for or stored right.

1. Rain can cause discoloration but can cause a lot more damage to bag depending on leathers – refer to the DO’s and DON’Ts section of this blog. Due to the acidity of rain it can fade away color and make a bag look very spotty. The best way to prevent this is to be mindful of what bag you are taking out in certain weather conditions. Whenever possible, keep your bag dry at all times!

2. Prolonged sun exposure can also discolor bags, especially patent leather bags if not properly stored out of sunlight for long periods of time. This is not to say you cannot bring bags out in the sun but do not display your bags by a window where the UV rays of the sun are constantly shining on it for years. We have seen patent leather bags go from dark blue to a teal with yellow undertones just on one side because that bag was on display in front of a window. Bags that are lambskin can fade a lighter color too just because of the sun exposure. The best way to avoid this is to store it away from a direct window source or in its dustbag.

Talk to an expert:

At Luxe Du Jour we have in-house bag spa specialists when it comes to proper bag care. If you have any questions about your bag and need any tips regarding your specific bag do not hesitate to connect with us on our Instagram @Luxebagspa or visit us in person at the Calgary or Irvine head office. There are a lot more tips our leather experts have talked about on our social media channels that you can find on Instagram or TikTok @shopluxedujour

With the proper care practices, you can extend the life of your handbags and preserve their beauty for years to come. Using these expert tips can maintain the value of your investments in case you ever decide to resell them in the future, or simply want to enjoy them for as long as you can. Even with the utmost precautions, mistakes can happen and our handbags will begin to show signs of wear over time. Never attempt to repair them yourself or use products that are not specifically created for designer handbags. If you accidentally damage your handbags, are starting to notice corner wear, or the leather looks dull, Luxe Bag Spa has a team of designer bag specialists who can repair these and get your handbag looking brand new again.