How to Protect and Care For Your Leather Camera Bag

Camera bags can be expensive, but leather camera bags can be very expensive.  Although they cost more, quality leather bags can last 20 years or more if well maintained.  Here are a few tips from Korchmar, the maker of fine leather briefcases and bags, to help your leather bag stay in top shape:korchmar-small

We don’t recommend using silicon products or most aerosol “gunk” sprays, because they can impair the leather’s ability to “breathe” by clogging the pores. DO NOT over clean or condition as excess oil and wax attract dirt and dust particles that actually cut the microscopic fibers that make your leather durable. NEVER use harsh household chemicals to clean leather and normally avoid leather preparations that contain alcohol, as it will dry leather out.

Clean your smooth leather on a regular basis (how often you clean/condition depends on how much and under what conditions you use your leather) using a good saddle soap and follow the directions. If the item is muddy scrape off as much as possible and let it dry; after the remaining mud has dried completely brush it of using a medium stiff natural bristle brush. If your leather is really dusty also brush it off before using saddle soap.

To avoid drying out, keep your leather out of direct lighting, overexposure to sunlight, or near a heat source. Leather should always be stored in a well-ventilated, warm, dry area. Excess dryness can cause your leather to crack and too much moisture can cause mildew. Don’t seal your leather in plastic, as you want to avoid anything that will impair the leather’s ability to “breathe”.

Jessica Baker at Who What Wear also shares some leather tips, including the following:

Protection
Before you take your new leather . . . out for a spin, apply a protectant to shield the fabric from possible dirt stains.

Cleaning and Conditioning
​Leather can withstand a ton of wear, but as we’ve learned the hard way, the sturdy fabric isn’t stain-resistant.

Storage
​Repeat after us: never use plastic bags when storing leather! “Plastic bags cause the leather to dry up quicker,” [Pasquale] Fabrizio says. He suggests using cloth bags instead. Patent leather shoes should be stored individually, meaning one shoe per bag, to avoid prints or other leather goods from transferring underneath the surface.

Some recommended leather-care products include Meltonian Water & Stain Protector for new leather or newly-cleaned leather, Meltonian All-Purpose Leather Cleaner & Conditioner for older leather that needs to be cleaned,

Read the full articles at Korchmar and Who What Wear.

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