How to clean your leather camera bag

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You’ve put the time into researching and choosing the perfect camera bag which has enough storage pockets and is just the right size. Your camera bag will come with your on some of your most exciting journeys, jobs and days out and will become something you really care about. Camera bags are often put to the test a lot more than handbags because, if you’re an intrepid photographer, then it will likely be tested by the elements on a regular basis. Ultimately your camera bag is an investment, so making sure it will stand the test of time is essential.

Treat Your Leather

As you know, leather is an elegant and durable material which ages beautifully but as an organic product it will need some TLC, especially as we try to keep our leather as natural as possible so the beauty of the skin shines through. So how do you care for your leather camera bag properly?

Cleaning and protecting your camera bag is the first and most important step, remember leather is skin and needs it’s own regime just like ours does. When the skin is no longer living then it needs even more help. So our motto is prevention is better than cure, if your bag is stored in a cold damp environment then it will not thank you. If you’ve been out shooting on a rainy day then most of our leathers will forgive you, however they will need to be dried off and kept in a warm (not hot) room. If it’s been a particularly wet day then we recommend a wax treatment to replenish the leathers oils. Keep it in the dust bag it came in or an old pillowcase will do just as well.

How Often?

So how often should you treat your bag? Unsurprisingly your bag will need more cleaning the more you use it. Regular nourishment about every six months will prevent the leather from drying out and cracking. If your bag has been through the mill a bit then it will need more regular treatments but be careful not to over-treat the leather as this can do more harm than good.

Our Top Tips

Of course you can take your bag for a professional clean and revamp if you want to, but there are some easy an accessible ways to keep your camera bag in tip top condition at home. If you choose a cleaning solution then be sparing and don’t use it too often, the leather cannot replenish its natural oils so removing them will make it dry. We would suggest only using a leather cleaner if the bag is really in need. The best way to treat your bag is by using a brush to buff the leather free of any residue, then use a wax, oil or conditioner to apply all over the bag. Leave this to dry for at least 24 hours, especially on a cold day, to prevent any transfer onto your clothes.

The golden question we always get asked is what to use to treat your camera bag. Let’s start by going over what you shouldn’t use and that’s any weird and wonderful home remedies that you may have seen online. Baby wipes, vinegar, soap, or other chemicals can cause damage to the colour, dry out the leather, create a build up of grease and will generally not do your leather any favours so steer clear. Most specialised leather oils, conditioners and waxes will work well to keep your leather soft and supple and provide all the care it will need, we currently like Effax Leather Balm because it is so easy to apply and smells great, but we also like other brands like Dubbin Leather wax, Mink Oil or anything with natural bees wax.

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