Your item, and what becomes of it is unique to you. Leather or canvas aren’t static, they are natural materials that change over time. The degree to which they change can be mitigated somewhat. If your intention is to keep your bag pristine, let me offer a word of caution. Leather, especially of the vegetable tanned variety, is going to change. And the more you use it the more your bag will transform. That being said there are a few things we suggest. I’ll break this down into 4 categories:
Depending on your climate, it may be good to condition your leather every 6 months or so. This isn’t totally necessary but leather can dry and crack after years of exposure to the elements. We suggest using our Chamberlain’s Leather Milk but if you have a local shoe shop you can usually find something like lexol or mink oil that will do the trick. Begin by cleaning over the surface of your leather with a damp cloth. When the leather is dry, shake your Leather Milk recipe bottle well and gently massage the conditioner evenly across the leather’s surface. An uneven spread may lead to a splotchy dry. Use thin layers, giving your leather as many coats as it needs, but only as much conditioner as it can absorb. If piled on too thickly, the leather conditioner may leave a sticky residue. After it has been conditioned, allow your leather to dry naturally. When the leather has absorbed all the conditioner it can, buff off any remaining residue, and let it set. For best results, allow the leather to sit overnight.
We suggest using Chamberlain’s Straight Cleaner. Note this product is not for suede or nubuck leathers. Also, some stains like ink or paint may penetrate the fibers and may not come out.
Test recipe first in a discreet area and allow to dry naturally in a cool, clean location away from sunlight and heat. If you do not find excess color rub off, discoloration in leather, or any other negative effect, it is safe to use on your leather. Shake your recipe bottle well. When you go to apply Straight Cleaner, ensure the leather is completely dry when you begin. Try to brush off any surface dust to ensure maximum absorption. Next, gently massage Straight Cleaner evenly over your leather’s surface. Apply in thin layers, with only as much cleaner as leather naturally absorbs at a time. Excess use of leather cleaner may lead to dye rub-off or dehydration in your leather, so make sure the leather doesn’t get too dry while you clean. Massage in circular motions until the surface has been fully treated. Do not saturate your leather – a little goes a long way. Wipe off any residual fluid, and allow your leather to dry naturally. After the leather has dried, follow up with Leather Care Liniment No.1 or another leather conditioner.
Scratches and blemishes are an inevitability. For markings, you want to minimize (most can’t be totally erased) we suggest Chamberlain’s Healing Balm. Healing Balm is made especially for aesthetic work, designed for detail and touch up work for leather that's seen better days. Whether your leather is plagued by scratches, scars, light cracks in the hide, or is just really, really thirsty – Healing Balm will milk it back from its rut with form. Carefully optimized to preserve glossy and shiny finishes, this all-natural, curating potion will enrich the color and vibrancy of your leather, and beautify for years to come. Not for use on suede or other extremely soft leathers.
Cows are used to the rain. Now I don’t suggest you go snorkeling with your bag, but generally speaking, a little water won’t hurt. However, if you’d like some extra protection we suggest Chamberlain’s Water Protectant. Water Protectant contains deeply penetrating natural oils and waxes that simultaneously condition and protect your leather. Designed for leather frequently exposed to harsh weather conditions, its thick consistency will bolster your leather’s natural defenses while providing a rich source of nourishment to keep it healthy and strong. When applied, Water Protectant should cause water to bead on the surface of your leather, rolling off rather than absorbing. It will ward off rain, snow, mud, and other elements, ensuring maximum outdoor protection.