You already know that, here at Ethical Gallery we stand for ethics with darn good aesthetics. And it is no news that every single handbag we sell here was designed to be loved.
If you're reading this, chances are you're an ethical consumer who follows the golden rules of ethical shopping:
- Buy less
- Choose well
- Make it last
You most likely bought less and chose well (#veganfashion), so now, let's make it last.
Your vegan bag care instructions will vary from brand to brand, and this is mainly due to the fact that different vegan leather materials require different levels of care.
But to ensure that your vegan leather bags stand the test of time in its original glory, there are a few basic things you can do.
Here are our golden rules:
GOLDEN RULE #1: Store Out Of Sunlight
If you’ve ever had your heart broken by leaving a favourite fashion staple in the back seat of your car only to find that the material has peeled and deconstructed - then you’ll know why our vegan leather care instructions include storing your spesh faux leather bag out of the sun.
SANS BEAST recommend that you “avoid leaving your bag, pouch or wallet in direct sunlight for hours on end.” Yes, faux leather materials like Polyurethane (PU) are extremely robust, however, not invincible: “PU may still discolour or fade with prolonged exposure to sun.” The key word here is ‘prolonged.’ so make sure that after a long day out your glorious vegan bag has a cool (and dark) place to rest.
GOLDEN RULE #2: Use A Protective Dust Bag
Random fact: Some brands don't provide a dust bag with their handbags - and we think that's madness. However, brands such as From St Xavier do, and recommend storing your piece in a protective dust bag whenever it’s not in use. And we couldn’t agree more!
By storing your bag in a protective bag, the materials are less likely to tarnish - just like any of your other special pieces, accessories and fashion favourites.
Handcrafted, detailed bags such as the clutches from FSX are particularly sensitive to dusty areas and From St Xavier advises that protective dust bags will ensure that embellishments such as natural metals, glass beads and premium materials are not damaged.
While this is particularly important for bags with adorned materials, plain faux leather bags will also last longer when stored in a protective dust bag.
GOLDEN RULE #3: Keep Your Vegan Leather Clean
Don't overdo it: Wiping down your vegan leather piece with a damp (you can use warm water here), lint free cloth will usually suffice for general cleaning. Follow by drying it off with a soft cloth (such a microfibre cloth). We recommend giving your loved bag a good mild clean every 2 weeks.
The beauty of faux leather is that, unlike animal leather, in general, most stains will sit on the top and not penetrate the surface, making it super easy to clean. This is because PU leather is a non-porous material.
That said, faux leather is still breathable so extreme conditions like excessive heat and moisture could potentially lead to stains penetrating the surface, which takes us to...
SPILLS & STAINS
For larger spills, always refer to the individual brand’s care instructions, as those will be made specifically for the type of faux leather your bags is made of.
Generally speaking, larger spills on standard PU leather can be cleaned with a tiny bit of unscented soap. Stay away from bleach and harsh chemicals, do not scrub too hard and always do a patch test before applying the soap. Just make sure to remove all soap residue when you're done. Use that dump cloth again until the soap is gone, and then dry it off with a microfibre cloth.
Remember: Always choose soft, non-abrasive cloths (do not use a sponge) and gentle, repeated circular motions. Scrubbing too hard can backfire and potentially crack your loved item.
Some other vegan materials such as neoprene and washable paper are machine washable and can be, obviously, washed in your washing machine, just like your clothes. The instructions given by Prene are that your non-metallic neoprene tote can be machine washed on ‘cool’ or ‘gentle.’
EXTRA CARE TIPS
FAUX LEATHER CONDITIONING
If the above steps are not followed and your bag is constantly exposed to sunlight and high temperatures it can get too dry and potentially crack, or peel.
A protective, conditioning treatment is a great precaution for your faux leather bag and, again, unlike animal leather, a protective treatment on faux leather will act as a thin protective layer, instead of penetrating its surface.
Always follow your bag brand's advice, but according to Jean-Marc from the Faux Leather Guide you can apply baby oil on the surface of your bag.
Alternatively, you can also use a faux leather conditioner (wax of liquid).Both options will create a protective barrier which will spare your bag from the damage of sun rays and extreme temperatures. If you choose to condition your bag, we recommend:
1) Using only a small amount of product
2) Considering the texture and the look of your bag before applying anything on its surface (is it textured? is it glossy?)
3) Always run a patch test to ensure you're happy with the end result (as some baby oils and conditioners can leave your bag looking a bit shiny)
4) Do not overdo it. Conditioning your bag once every couple of months should be more than enough.
We don't need to worry about waterproofing our faux leather bags (remember, PU leather is non-porous so water will never penetrate its surface).
However, Jean-Marc from the Faux Leather Guide blog says:
"If exposed to large amounts of water on a daily basis, faux leather can get damaged, not because it’s going to penetrate deep inside it, but because it’s going to harden it’s surface and make it crack".
So, our advice is: unless you are exposing your vegan leather bag to heavy rain regularly, you do not need to worry about waterproofing it.
So there you have it.
Use and treat your handbag mindfully.
Wear it proudly and give it the love it deserves by following our easy golden rules.
Remember that your vegan leather care instructions will vary across brands and materials. We recommend that you always refer to your individual product’s care instructions.