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Caring for your leather briefcases and duffle bags will prolong the life of the bags. Improper care will decrease the overall life by risking exposure to damage that cannot be repaired. If your leather briefcase or duffle bag is not used on a regular basis, it still requires care to stay in good shape. Follow these simple steps for care.
What type of material is your duffle bag or briefcase made from? Is it genuine leather? If genuine, what type of leather is it? Suede requires different care than a briefcase or duffle bag made of smoother leather. Manufacturers often provide specific care instructions on a tag inside the bag, or on a document that comes with the bag at purchase. Follow the recommended instructions when available; this may be necessary to make a warranty claim
Italian leather is made from carefully inspected animal hides tanned in Italy. Hides can be turned into full grain or top grain leather. Full grain leather is made from animal hide taken from just below the hair, while top grain leather goes through a sanding process to smooth any potential imperfections.
The key distinguishing factor in Italian leather is the tanning process, which must be performed in the country - even if the animal hide came from outside Italy. A variety of animal hides can be used, but if a hide is not tanned inside Italy, it is never considered Italian leather. Only the best hides are used for making Italian leather, and quality checks are important to discerning consumers. Many tanners use a process of traditional vegetable tanning. After tanning, the leather is sent to suppliers around the world.
Store your leather briefcase or duffle bag when not in use. Place it in a dust bag or a bag made out of natural materials, like a cotton pillowcase. Do not use a plastic bag. Place the bag in a cool, dry location away from sunlight. If the area is moist or humid, there is the risk of mold. Sunlight can cause discoloration or fading, or even cause the leather to crack. Do not stuff your bag with tissue paper, and undo any buckles or straps before storage, as these may cause indentations on the leather
Avoid spilling liquid on your leather briefcase or duffle bag. If you do have a spill or end up in the rain, immediately and carefully blot the area with a paper towel or clean, dry cloth. Then, let the bag air dry completely. Do not use your bag while the leather is wet. Some types of leather can be pretreated with a spray-on weatherproofer. Follow instructions to determine if you can use this type of product on your leather briefcase or bag.
Leather, like your skin, needs occasional moisturizing. Treat your briefcase or duffle bag with a special leather conditioner at least once every six months. These are usually easy to apply, and do so with a soft cloth or sponge. After putting on the conditioner and rubbing it gently into the leather, make sure to wipe off any excess.
Wipe out the inside of your leather briefcase or duffle bag on a regular basis with a lint brush or cloth, and clean outside stains when necessary. If the stain is from grease or oil, it can be wiped away with a dry cloth. Ink stains can be removed by gently rubbing a cotton swab or cotton ball soaked in rubbing alcohol over the stain. Leather, unless it is suede, can often be cleaned by applying a mixture of dish detergent and water, and then wiping it off with a dry cloth.
Following these easy steps can prolong the life of your leather briefcase or duffle bag.