Leather Care

How to Care for your NILA Bags

Fine leather bags—the end product of painstaking, ritualized craftsmanship—deserve to be treated with care. Here's how to protect your investment piece in five easy steps

Know Your Skins

  • Our leather bags are vegetable-tanned. Downside: vegetable-tanned leather bags discolor and shrivel when drenched in water. Make sure you protect it from moist and damp areas.

How to Clean

  • The general principle is simple: remove dirt build-up by wiping down with a cleaner made specifically for the leather in question. 
  • Every other day, give your bag a brisk sweep with a soft dry cloth—this won't take more than a few minutes, but will go miles towards preserving the appearance of your leather.

How to Condition

  • Think of conditioning as moisturizer for your leather, which will dry out over time. To prevent flaking and wrinkling, dab a dollop of conditioner on a soft cloth and rub gently all over.
  • Try mink or neatsfoot oil, which simulate and supplement the natural oils of leather.  Leave on for a few minutes, and then wipe off the excess. Dry thoroughly in an airy room.
  • Condition every other month or so to keep your leather looking it’s shiny best.

How to Weatherproof

  • Leather is permeable and can never be entirely waterproof, so avoid toting your bag in bad weather. Nonetheless, there are beeswax creams which function as a barrier against water.
  • Word of caution: beeswax may alter the hue of dyed leather, , so test first on an inconspicuous corner. 
  • A more breathable but less effective alternative: a spray protectant, which is virtually invisible on your bags. 

How to Store

  • Stash your bag in its original dustbag and fill it with stuffing—use butter paper never newspaper, which will smear— to maintain its shape. 
  • Keep the dustbagged product in a box, along with packets of silica gel so your bag doesn't get damp.
  • Air once every two weeks to halt the growth of mold.  
  • Rotation is key. Everyday use of your bag will wear it out, so switch things up every month.

Some Final Tips

  • Let water spills dry naturally. High-heat measures like using a hairdryer will only cause the skin to crinkle beyond salvage.
  • Prevent color transfer by consciously resisting the urge to rest your bag against your jeans.

NILA bags are built to last. Like fine wine, they get better with age. Don’t be concerned with minor scratches and wrinkles. It only enhances the character of the bag, giving it a distressed, charming look. Go ahead; enjoy your NILA bag for years to come!