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J4L: Holdall maintenance tips

Date: 09-Aug-2015 - Written by Debbie Davies

Leather is an ideal material for holdalls as it’s durable, waterproof and stylish to boot. However, it’s inevitable that your leather holdall will become damaged over time, especially if you check it in on airline flights. This isn’t necessarily a negative thing, though. All the little scratches and marks that you bag accumulate will add charm and character but that doesn’t mean you should neglect your holdall. Here’s our guide to keeping you holdall looking in tiptop condition.

How to clean your holdall

Start by gathering all the products and tools you need. You can buy specially formulated leather care products at any supermarket, shoe shop or department store. To clean your bag you will also need a small brush, a cloth and some metal polish if your bag has any hardware.

Before actually cleaning your bag, you need to ensure that the bag is completely empty. Then wipe it both inside and out with a slightly damp cloth to prepare it for the leather treatment .If your bag has a special lining that needs protecting, you can cover it with a large plastic bag, keeping it in place with some pins.

Test your leather cleanser on a small area, under a flap for example, that won’t be seen before covering your holdall with the product to ensure that it will not leave a stain or affect the colour of the leather. If it’s safe to continue, massage the product into the grain of the leather with a cloth. Work on stains with a separate cloth and use the brush to remove any dirt that may be ingrained into the leather.

After cleansing the bag, you can also use a leather conditioner to moisturise it and keep it soft and supple. Using a cloth or your hands, work in the conditioner using a circular motion until you have covered the whole bag. Don’t forget to condition seams and folds too. With a clean cloth, wipe any residue and buff it to bring out the shine.

Finally, don’t forget to polish any metal hardware as next to the clean and shiny leather the metal may look dull in comparison.

How to repair scratches and tears

It is inevitable that your leather holdall will become scratched with use. If the scratches are light it may be possible to cover them up with a leather dye. Deeper scratches will require more immediate attention. If left, they may widen and the leather may tear. To repair these you will need a leather repair kit. Leather repair kits usually include a liquid adhesive in several colours, grain paper and a heat applicator. First of all choose a liquid adhesive that best matches the colour of your leather wallet, purse or bag and apply it evenly to the scratch. You might find it helpful to use a toothpick for this. Next choose a grain paper that most resembles the grain of your item and place it over the scratch you have repaired. Then using the heat applicator heat the grain paper. This will enable the adhesive to bond well with the surface of the leather. Finally leave it to cool.

To repair tears, you will need to use glue. First give your holdall a thorough clean with a leather cleanser and allow it to dry. This is necessary because any dirt or oil on the surface may prevent the glue from sticking properly. Apply the glue to the seam where the leather has torn. You may need someone to hold the leather taught while you apply the glue. When the glue has dried, take a piece of fine sandpaper and remove any excess glue. You will need to be very careful when doing this; otherwise you may scratch the leather. Clean the area again with a leather cleanser to ensure all excess glue has been removed then allow to dry.

Follow our advice and your neglected holdall should be looking as good as new in no time.

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