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leather care

Use it, nourish it, love it!


We're always being asked for tips on leather care and recommendations for products that will keep your new bag looking its best for years to come.

Here are our answers to frequently asked questions, but if there's something you need to know that we haven't covered, please do get in touch.

How should I store my bag when I’m not using it?

Make sure your bag is dry and empty (it’s amazing how leaky a lipgloss can be).  Slip it into its cotton storage bag and store it flat and out of direct sunlight (the top shelf of your wardrobe is ideal).

Areas of my smooth leather bag look a bit worn and dry – what should I do?

As you use your leather bag it will develop a beautiful, unique patina.  However, if the leather begins to look a bit worn in places we recommend that you give it a nourishing feed and polish with a natural leather cream (we love Filberts Bees leather polish).  Test any cream or polish on an unobtrusive part of your bag first to ensure that there is no significant change in colour.

Leather is a natural product and will become dry and damaged if left near a heat source like a radiator or in direct sunlight.  Similarly try not to get your bag wet, although given the British climate, being caught in the odd downpour is inevitable. 

If you do get your bag wet, leave it to dry completely before using it again (it may help to stuff it loosely with loo roll or kitchen paper if it is particularly wet in order to help maintain its shape whilst drying), but don’t dry it in an airing cupboard or near a heat source as the leather may become stiff.  If necessary, when your bag is dry polish using a nourishing cream to even out any watermarks (but remember to test the cream on a hidden part of your bag first).

If your bag is made of coloured leather, be aware that the colour may run onto your clothing if you get your bag wet!

I’ve got a greasy mark on my leather bag – help!

Wipe any surplus grease off your bag immediately with a clean dry cloth or tissue.  Very often a grease spot will become absorbed naturally into the leather over time.  However, if you would prefer not to wait to see if this happens, use a mild neutral soap and water solution (there are facial soaps widely available that are pH-neutral). Dampen the spot (and the area immediately surrounding it) with the solution and wipe it gently.  Be careful not to get it too wet and do not rub it too hard.  Allow the leather to air-dry at room temperature.  When it is dry, polish with a soft dry cloth.  If you wish, nourish the leather all over with a natural leather cream to even up the colour.

If you stain your bag with something which does not easily come off other washable surfaces (such as red wine, or ink from a pen) please contact us for specialist advice as we will be able to identify the last of leather that was used and contact our suppliers for specialist advice relating to that specific product.

What about nubuck or suede?

Nubuck is made by taking off the very top layer of the leather so that it has a matte feel to it.  Suede is created by slicing the hide in two so that the fibrous side is uppermost. 

For both nubuck and suede we recommend that your bag is sprayed with an anti-stain protector before first use (these are widely available in the household cleaning section of the supermarket and in shoe repair shops).  Make sure you test the spray on an inconspicuous part of your bag first.

To remove surface dirt from a nubuck or leather bag first make sure your bag is dry.  Then, using a rubber suede brush (again, these are available from shoe repairers and supermarkets) brush gently but firmly against the grain of the suede using a brisk sweeping motion.

Over time, as the roughened surface becomes worn down, nubuck may start to regain the look and feel of smooth leather.  You may continue to brush it with a suede brush, but eventually you may decide to treat it more like a polished leather and nourish it with leather cream. 

Can you repair my bag if it gets damaged?

As your hilary johnson handmade bag was created by Hilary in our workshop she knows it inside out, so if part of it gets damaged please do get in touch and if it can be mended we will let you know.  No two animal hides are the same, so we can’t guarantee that if it is a leather part that needs replacing we will be able to find an exact match, but we love a challenge and will do our best to restore your cherished bag to its former glory.

We don’t just repair our own bags either, so if your favourite bag of all time has fallen apart let us know and we will see if we can help you get your old friend back.


leather care

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