Leather has been used for clothing, accessories, bags, and all kinds of trinkets for thousands of years. Today, we still use it for those same things. Although, today, it is more about the aesthetics of the material, the quality, and durability. This is probably the reason why backpacks and other products made from leather are a lot more expensive. So, if you have spent a fair amount of money on such a product, you should take care of it and maintain it as best as you can. Maintenance equals longevity.
Unfortunately, it seems like not a lot of people do not understand just how important is it to maintain leather backpacks. They believe that it is the same as buying a bag made from any other material. That is far from the truth. Leather requires consistent and regular maintenance, especially if you want it to last for years.
In fact, some properly maintained products can last up to two decades. That is the reason why so many ten or twenty-year-old second-hand vehicles still look like new on the inside. The owner has taken proper care of the leather interior.
Do not think that this kind of maintenance is complicated in any way. After you read through this article, you will understand just how easy it is to take care of animal hide products.
1. Protect it from direct sunlight
This might be the most common mistake people make with items made from animal hide. Yes, leather is very durable and can last for years, but that does not mean that it is indestructible. It has its strengths and weakness. To maintain it, it is very important to recognize those weaknesses.
One major weakness is the sun, or more specifically, direct sunlight. Leaving it out under the sun might cause permanent damage that is irreversible. Think of it like this. If you were out in the sun without applying any sun cream on yourself, your skin would burn. The same thing happens with animal hide. The only problem being that it cannot recover as your skin can.
Of course, nothing will happen to your backpack if you decide to wear it for longer periods of time while you are outside. Just avoid storing it in places with direct sunlight.
2. Weakness from heat too
The reason that you cannot leave your leather backpack under direct sunlight is because of the UV rays and the heat. In other words, you should be careful of too much heat too. So, if it ever gets wet, you should never use heat to let it dry. Do not leave it too close to anything that exhausts too much heat. Do not put it in the dryer. Do not try to dry it with the help of your AC unit or space heater.
Instead, you will have to be patient and wait it out. The water cannot do any serious damage to animal hide while heat certainly can.
Keep in mind, some products made out of sturdy genuine leather like the ones you can find at cowboysbag might be a lot more durable to both sunlight and heat.
3. Clean your backpack
One of the best things you can do for your clothes, accessories, and other items made out of leather is to just clean them. Yes, it is that simple. Dirt, dust, and any other particles can be the cause of damage to your backpack.
This is the reason why most experts suggest that you clean it at least once a day. Naturally, only if you have been using it. It will not accumulate any dust or dirt if it stays inside of your wardrobe for several days.
However, if you do plan on building this habit of regular cleaning, make sure you do not use any kind of chemicals. Animal hide needs to stay as natural as possible. There is no need to use strong chemicals to deal with dirt or stains. A simple microfiber cloth and a bit of water are more than enough.
While wiping, do not use too much pressure. With gentle swipes, you will be able to remove most stains.
4. Use the conditioner
The main problem with animal hide is the fact that it can easily dry out over time. There really is no way to prevent this process from ever happening. It is natural and it is bound to happen. However, just because the process cannot be stopped, it does not mean that it cannot be slowed down.
With the right conditioner, you can keep your leather backpack moisturized enough to stay in its original pristine shape for years.
How much you will need to apply on your backpack entirely depends on how much you are going to use it. If the back is your daily driver and you carry it with you everywhere, you might have to apply a conditioner at least once in two months. Otherwise, once or twice a year will be enough.
To apply the conditioner, again use a microfiber cloth and gently wipe all over the surface of the bag. Refrain from using too much pressure.
5. Waterproofing spray/wax
Leather is very well known for being very water-resistant. It absorbs water quite slowly and it can dry out pretty quickly in the right conditions.
However, for people who live in much more humid and rainy weather, wearing leather might be a problem. It is especially problematic for backpacks.
So, what can you do? Well, fortunately, there is the option of applying waterproofing wax or spray on your backpack to increase its water resistance.
Keep in mind that sprays are usually cheaper and easier to apply, but they last for a much shorter amount of time and are not as effective. If you want a longer-lasting effect, I recommend that you use waterproofing wax. Such wax can last for the entire rainy season and will be much more effective.
I hope that with this article I managed to clear some things up for you and from now on you can properly maintain and care for your leather backpack.