Leather bags can last a very long time provided they are properly cared for. Here are steps you can take to keep your leather bags in tip-top shape:
Clean your leather bags regularly. A soft cloth, preferably microfiber, is all you need to remove dust. Slightly dampen the cloth and mild soap will remove most ground in dirt and stains. Clean stains as soon as you notice them to discourage them from setting into the material. If the stain is stubborn, you will have to take to a handbag professional to be cleaned. Steer clear of dry-cleaners or shoe repair shops who could damage the bags through the use of wrong machines and tools. Be careful when using professional leather cleaners or other harsh chemical cleaners. These have been known to stain lighter colors and can ruin the material. Condition the leather bags at least once a month to prevent the material from wrinkling. Don not use conditioner on patent leather bags. Make sure that the conditioner you use does not contain lanolin. This will rot the leather over time.
Make sure to stuff leather bags when storing to help them to maintain their shape. This is why they were stuffed in the first place when the bags were purchased. What you choose for stuffing is entirely up to you. Leather bags have been known to be stuffed with everything old rags to bubble wrap. Bubble wrap has shown to be the most effective to repel moths. When you store them, keep them upright and allow plenty of space to prevent creasing.
It is best to store your bags uncovered in a dark, cool closet. Direct heat and sunlight damages leather by causing it to crack or fade. If your bags came with dust bags, you can use those to keep your bags from becoming scuffed or scratched. Pillow cases work just as well for this purpose. Never non-porous types of coverings like plastic bags as these can encourage mildew. Place a container of baking soda inside the bags to remove any odors. Depending on the strength of the odors, the baking soda may need to be changed a couple of times.
Make sure your hands are clean before handling your bags. Wash your hands after applying lotions, foundations, and skin creams. Be careful not to spray hair or body sprays or perfumes near your bags. The chemicals in these products can ruin the leather. Keep cosmetics and pens placed in separate pouches that can be inserted inside the bag so as not to ruin the nice interior.
Take care when using water repellents on leather bags. These can change the color of the bags. Consider using water repellent only on black leather bags. If your leather bag gets wet, allow it to dry out naturally. Absorb as much excess water as you can using a soft cotton towel. Resist the urge to use a hairdryer which will damage the skin of the leather beyond repair. Condition the leather once it is dry.