How to Care for Leather Briefcases in 6 Easy Steps

Leather tote bags

Leather briefcases for men can be long-term investments thanks to leather’s durability and timelessness. Dating back to the most fashionable of Egyptian women following the Roman Empire, leather has been a part of men and women’s wardrobes for centuries. High quality leather that’s well-cared for can speak volumes about its owner. Leather briefcases, messenger bags, or totes that are cracking or faded will say even more. To keep your leather messenger bags, briefcases, and totes in prime condition, follow these leather care tips:

  • Use conditioner

    Conditioner may be optional in your hair, but it’s not optional in caring for leather briefcases. Remember, leather is skin, and as such it’s prone to showing signs of age. From wrinkles to cracks to age spots, your leather briefcase can quickly show its wear. To prevent this from happening, condition it regularly. Choose a conditioner that’s specifically designed for leather and rub it over the surface of leather totes, messenger bags, or briefcases. After applying the conditioner, use a clean, soft cloth to buff the leather and remove any excess conditioner from its surface.
    1. Keep clean

      When leather briefcases and bags come into contact with moisture, quickly blot it dry with a clean cloth. Never rub moisture spots. If your bag comes into contact with outdoor moisture during the winter, it may contain salt or ice-melts. In such cases, blot your leather briefcase with a damn cloth and allow it to air dry.

      Leather briefcases should be cleaned every six months to protect them from soiling and water spotting. If you live in a hot or arid climate, clean your leather briefcases more often. To hydrate your leather bags and keep them supple, you should aim to clean and condition them every three months as opposed to six.

      Regardless of climate, you should also wipe the inside of leather bags once a month. To clean your bag’s interior, use a damp cloth that can wipe up any dust. After wiping it down, allow the bag to air dry.
    2. Air drying

      To air dry leather briefcases, lay them on a flat surface so they can rest without wrinkling or slouching. Keep leather briefcases well away from heater sources such as radiators or clothes dryers; such heat exposure can damage the leather. To help leather briefcases hold their shape and dry the interior of the bag, stuff them with wadded newspaper.

    3. Handle with care

      Grease and oils are the Kryptonite of fine leather goods. As such, always handle your leather briefcases and bags with clean hands to prevent them from absorbing destructive grease and oils.
    4. Store with equal care

      When not using your leather briefcase, store in a clean, dry place away from sunlight and dirt. Even exposure to low humidity such less than 40%, when experienced over a long period of time, can lead to leather becoming desiccated. Once this happens, the fibrous structure of the leather is irreversibly changed. To help prevent such damage, consider storing leather briefcases and bags inside boxes or fabric bags. As with air drying, keep leather bags away from any heat sources that could dry out the leather.
    5. Start with the highest quality leather

      When it comes to prolonging the life of leather briefcases, messenger bags, and totes, the place to start is with high quality leather. Even with the best care, low quality leather briefcases will begin to show their wear over time. To choose the best quality leather briefcases, look for ones made of top-grain or full-grain leather.

      Full-grain is the most durable type of leather, made from the hide just below the animal’s hair. It weathers well and repels water. Top-grain leather is the second most durable type of leather. Unlike full-grain, which has natural imperfections, top-grain has been sanded and buffed to remove any imperfections. As such, while its appearance is more uniform, top-grain leather is less durable than full-grain.

      The other two types of leather are corrected-grain and split grain. They are the layers of the hide that are left over after its been split by grade. As with top-grain, the surface is sanded and refinished, imparting a high-quality appearance. Being lower quality and of lower durability, these grades are less popular for leather briefcases and goods.