23 Nov

Protecting Your Leather

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During the rains, the first things that go to the gutters (apart from your mood) are your poor leather goods. Now if you’re into faux leather, this doesn’t trouble you—the stuff looks just as good and fights moisture, dust, and other things. But if you had to have real, original leather—you know the nightmares. There’s fungus, moulds, moisture patches, over-stretching, shrinkage, cracking, and other horrible things.

But we’ve got you covered! There’s technology, little tricks, and lots of common sense that go into keeping those leather bags (and shoes, belts, wallets, and whatever else it is that you own) keeping perfect through not just the monsoons but the year!

Waterproofing

It’s the definitive way to keep the water off your leather. It takes a little time, but if you won’t watch that episode of DiyaaurBaati Hum for a day, I’m sure the TV Gods won’t be too pissed. For this you’ll need something like a leather preservative or all weather protectant specially designed for leather. This doesn’t apply if you’re dealing with suede—that just needs a brush, lots of natural drying, and mannats to the local temple. Clean and dry them, apply liberally, preferably get a spray on and hold it at a 10 inch distance while making a uniform coat on. Dry for 30 mins minimum, and then test it! If it’s taking a few drops of water well, you should be okay. But, but, but—this is just the start. You’ll have to polish the leather bag every week at least once (preferably 2) like you would with shoes.

Drying

This step is as important as prevention, because say you’ve committed the faux pas—you’ll need the cure. Your leather bag is soaking wet now—let’s try and get it back up to at least 95% spanking new feels. Here’s how to salvage the situation without ruining that beautiful animal skin. The key word is natural drying. That means no hair-dryer, no sun, no extra source of heat (unless cracked, stretched out, and ugly leather is in fashion), and preferably a not-so-moist area. Stuff the bag with tons of newspaper balls that’ll retain its shape and keep changing them as the balls wet out. Go for a leather balm to condition them once they’ve completely dried out.

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Fighting moulds and fungus

This stuff can look horrifying but if you’ve got some bags lying indoors in a moist environment for long periods of time—you’ll see this unwanted cotton candy from hell all over the bag. Luckily it’s a lot easier to fight it! Simply get the mildest detergent in the market, and using a super-soft toothbrush gently scrub the mouldy spots off. You want minimum water here, least possible. Then disinfect the spots with some white vinegar (using same brush). You can alternatively use rubbing alcohol if you don’t trust yourself with overtly wetting the leather.

Common sense

Don’t wear your leather goodies out when it’s going all Independence Day. If you’re going to slum it with the trains, if crappy drivers are going to splash you through puddles, and if dust, salt (yes, for those Juhu Beach people, salt is a killer for leather!) are going to be in the air and around you. Then your leather deserves better. If your firm is a hot-shot type, keep the bag at office. Go there in a regular waterproof backpack. If you need shiny leather shoes in there. Wear nice chappals and go to office. Change once you’re there.

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