After finding your dream bag, one thing is even more important: taking care of it. When taking good care of your Louis Vuitton bag, you’ll make sure you’ll enjoy it even longer.
We wanted to share with you our tips and tricks to keep your Louis Vuitton bags in the best possible condition. We will share the way we make our vintage Louis Vuitton items look as beautiful and new as possible.
Louis Vuitton bags often have leather handles, straps, trimmings, and other details. Leather is easier to stain, and can quickly become dry if not cared after properly.
The leather on vintage bags often is a lot dryer than on newer bags. Most of the time, this is because the leather wasn’t properly treated, or wasn’t treated often enough. That is why we give all of our bags a deep cleaning and moisturizing treatment before we display them in our stores. For us, this is a 3-step procedure.
- Deep cleaning spots
- Moisturizing finish
What products do we use?
To clean and care the leather on Louis Vuitton bags, we use three different products. One deep cleaner and two types of moisturizer.
- HG Deep cleaner for leather – safe and mild
- Hema leather cleaner gel (used to moisturize, not to clean)
- Hema Shoe cream
Please note that the products named here are the products that we personally like to use. There are definitely great alternatives that will get you the same results. When using other products than the ones we name, always make sure that they are water based and colorless.
All the products used by Etoile Luxury Vintage to clean and take care of Louis Vuitton bags.
How to clean?
Step 1: Deep cleaning spots and stains
Product: HG Deep cleaner for leather – safe and mild
It is not necessary to clean the leather when this is not needed. Only use this deep cleaner on spots and stains that you want to try to get out (and definitely avoid getting it on the canvas!). This step can be quite time consuming, however, this really depends on how bad the spots are and how clean you want it to get.
Start off with cleaning the spots for about 10 minutes, wait for a couple of minutes and check if you can see any results. We usually repeat this at least 3 times. Always check how the spot your treating is doing before continuing. Also know that an improvement of about 70% is very good already (especially with really old vintage bags). When your happy with the improvement of the spots, remember to dry off all the material before continuing to step 2.
Step 2: Moisturizing
Product: Hema leather cleaner gel
This gel is called a leather cleaner; however, we find it’s better used as a leather moisturizer. Other than products like leather wax, this gel moisturizes deeper than just the surface of the leather. Use a cloth or your finger to apply a thin layer of the gel, and gently rub it into all of the leather.
Step 3: A moisturizing finish
Product: Hema Shoe cream
This cream, that originally is used on shoes, makes sure the leather on your Louis Vuitton will get one last round of moisturizing. The cream is more of a polishing cream and will moisturize the leather, give it a bit off a shine, and finish it off to look nice. Just like in step 2; use a cloth or your finger to apply a thin layer of the cream. Apply a thin layer and make sure to get the cream on all parts of the leather, so it will start to shine.
Moisturizing the leather is crucial. We recommend using a moisturizing product every month. For the monthly moisturizing, you can use the Hema leather cleaner gel, you can choose to also use the Hema Shoe cream as a finish. Try not to use cleaning products when this is not necessary, only use products on the actual spots and stains.
The use of chemicals and cleansers like saddle soap will dry out the material. We also don’t recommend using wax, since this most of the time only moisturizes the surface layer of the leather without deep moisturizing it.
The two leather moisturizing products used by Etoile Luxury Vintage.
Bag material: Canvas
A lot of the classic Louis Vuitton bags you see aren’t (completely) made of leather. Louis Vuitton uses canvas, a very durable, waterproof material that will stay beautiful for a very long time. Canvas is a type of material that doesn’t naturally dries out, it’s a low-maintenance material.
What products do we use?
We recommend not using any products on the canvas. Please avoid getting any chemicals on the canvas. To clean the canvas, all you’ll need to use is a damp towel or cloth.
How to clean?
Cleaning the canvas is mainly done to keep the bag dust-free. Make a towel or cloth wet and wring it out to make sure it’s not too wet, but just damp. You can use this damp cloth to clean of the entire bag. If you feel like the bag is not completely clean, you can try to add a little bit of mild, colorless soap into the water. Then use the damp cloth with a bit of soap the same way by wiping along all the canvas. Don’t forget to thoroughly dry the entire bag after you’re finished.
Other bag materials
Even though Louis Vuitton bags are still most popular in the iconic Monogram or Damier canvas. There are other materials available like: Epi leather, Mini Lin, Vernis, Empreinte, and Mahina. Taking care of all of the different types of materials will stay quite similar.
How to clean?
We recommend to always try and clean any type of material with just a damp towel or cloth, before using any product. When this doesn’t completely clean a stain, you can try using a bit of mild, colorless soap. Be careful when cleaning materials that are more fabric-like, stains on these types of materials can get worse when you try to clean them. Guarantee that the material is dried of after cleaning.
On leather materials, like Epi or Vernis, it’s possible to use any of the two moisturizers that we recommended. This isn’t essential, because of the coated leather, but it definitely won’t worsen the material.
Different bags by Louis Vuitton showing some of the materials that they are available in - by Courture USA
With our vintage bags, we don’t normally use any products to clean/polish the hardware. This is because not everyone likes really shiny hardware (especially on their vintage bags). The hardware on Louis Vuitton bags most of the time is made of metal.
How to clean?
As with all other Louis Vuitton materials, it’s possible to clean the hardware with just a towel and some water. After cleaning, definitely dry the hardware of. The metal can rust quickly. If you do want shiny hardware on your Louis Vuitton bags, you can use metal polish. However, be careful not to get the product on other materials than the metal.
How to store
How and where you store your Louis Vuitton bag is quite important in keeping it in a good condition. It’s crucial to store any Louis Vuitton item in a place where the material can still breath. When this is not the case, all of the material (leather and canvas) will get dehydrated, the chance of the material cracking or breaking will then be more likely.
Store your item in a cool dry place, preferably in a dust bag. Never store any Louis Vuitton item in a plastic bag, and preferably also not in a box, this will prevent the material from breathing. Also, definitely don’t store your item next to any source of heat.
Is it possible to treat sticky pockets?
While dealing with a lot of vintage Louis Vuitton bags, we often come across bags with sticky pockets. The vinyl-like material on the inside of their bags is known to get sticky or start to peel with age or when exposed to heat. Unfortunately, there is nothing you can do to prevent this from happening and it’s quite impossible to clean this.
When searching the internet for a solution for sticky pockets, you’ll find many video’s and blogs about how you can clean it. Most of these solutions use cleaning products like nail polish remover to remove the entire interior lining/material. This solution will take a lot of time, and you will be left with just fabric inside. Another solution would be to have the interior replaced at a Louis Vuitton store. However, this procedure would be very expensive, and Louis Vuitton doesn’t offer this for all of their bags.
In our opinion, the best solution would be to just not use the specific pocket that is sticky. Especially when the rest of the bag is still in a good condition. In this case it would be a shame to spend a lot of money on renewing the inside of the bag at Louis Vuitton. And we find that completely removing the inside material, gives it a worse look. However, this is definitely a personal opinion and many people are very happy with the result.
Should you have any more questions about taking care of you Louis Vuitton bags, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us! Are you ready to buy a vintage Louis Vuitton item? Check out our amazing Louis Vuitton collection.
With love, Jessica