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How to Take Care of the Hermès Bags


Hermès bags are the most luxurious investment pieces in the realm of bags. Whatever your choices and plans for their future, such as reselling or keeping them as heritage pieces to be passed down to the next generations, these bags retain value over time and exude timeless elegance and style. Therefore, they are highly attractive permanent collection pieces. It only makes sense to take meticulous care of your lifetime investment.


Netizens rave about the purchasing process of Hermès bags, participating in the fame and adding to the exclusivity of these handbags. Many can only dream about them; others enjoy walking their brand-new mini Kellies out. While you are most likely very familiar with the Hermès beauties and the experience of acquiring one, we would like to take you through the process of Hermès leather care.


With Paris being the world's luxury fashion capital, it is only natural that the city boasts a high-end leather care industry. Expert leather care is essential to ensure your luxury handbag remains in excellent condition. Walking with a luxury bag like Chanel, Hermès, Dior, or Bottega Veneta makes a style statement and necessitates responsible maintenance to preserve its beauty and value.


As potential owners of these precious bags, you may feel concerned about the longevity of such high-end possessions. Hence, we invite you to read this piece.


Hermès Leather Types


Hermès uses a wide range of leathers, among the most qualitative leather options on the market, each with unique characteristics and care requirements. You might be surprised to learn that a mini Kelly and a regular-size Kelly don't necessarily require the same leather care routine. Understanding these differences is vital to maintaining your bag's integrity and visual attractivity.

 

Hermès Togo Leather

Togo leather is a grained leather known for its pebbled texture and durability. It is one of the most popular choices for a reason: this type of leather is resistant to scratches and retains its shape. Togo leather can be described as thin and light with veins.

 

Care tips

Togo leather is relatively easy to maintain. Regular cleaning and occasional conditioning will keep it looking fresh.

 

Hermès Clemence Leather

 

Clemence leather is the doppelganger of Togo leather, but it is heavier and has no veins. Renowned for its soft, supple feel and relaxed appearance, Clemence leather is slightly more prone to scratches but is highly valued for its luxurious texture. However, as it is also a grained leather, it is fairly more resistant to scratches compared to other fabrics.


Care tips

Due to its softer nature, Clemence leather is more prone to scratches and scuffs. Regular conditioning is needed to maintain its suppleness. Avoid overloading bags made from Clemence leather with products to prevent excessive stretching.


Hermès Epsom Leather

 

Another popular choice at Hermès is Epsom leather. This grained leather is embossed to give it a distinct, fine texture, making it lightweight and easy to maintain. Its rigidity helps it keep its shape, even with daily use.

 

Care Tips

Due to its rigid nature, Epsom leather requires minimal conditioning. However, regular cleaning and protection from moisture and direct sunlight are still essential. To maintain their shape, avoid bending or folding items made from Epsom leather.

 

Hermès Box Calf Leather

Box Calf leather is a smooth leather featuring a glossy finish. This material is elegant and sophisticated but requires careful handling to avoid scratches. On the bright side, this leather will preserve its shape and is less prone to slouching due to its rigidity.

 

Care Tips

Use a gentle leather polish to maintain its shine, and handle it with clean hands to prevent the transfer of oils and dirt.


Hermès Exotic Leathers: Crocodile and Alligator

 

Due to their unique textures and appearance, exotic leathers, such as crocodile and alligator leathers, are highly prized items with the highest price tags in the world of luxury bags. As such, caring for their well-being is arguably even more significant compared to other leather bags.

 

Like the famous Himalayan Birkin, crocodile leather is known for its distinctive scales and rich, natural grain. The scale of alligator leather is on the smaller side compared to crocodile leather, but if genuine, both leathers are very soft and fragile; hence, they require extra care.

 

Care Tips

Crocodile leather, especially caiman skin, tends to be more rigid, making it more prone to cracking. Hence, it is paramount to avoid any type of heat. The same goes for Alligator leather, even though it's more flexible. However, Alligator leather is more sensitive to moisture, so it's essential to pay attention not to get it wet and wipe the excess moisture.


For both types of leather, we advise regularly removing dust on crocodile leather and using a soft fabric such as cotton chamois. For deeper cleaning, you can apply a cleaning cream and then a conditioner sparingly with the fabric to keep it hydrated and supple, but don't overwhelm your bag with moisture. The most important thing is to respect the direction of the scale when applying any products to the bag. Remember to keep it in a dust bag to preserve its skin from sun exposure, dirt, or moisture.


Hermès Ostrich Leather


Although less popular than Crocodile and Alligator leathers, Ostrich leather is an iconic exotic material recognizable by its unique dot pattern. This leather is soft to the touch and contains natural oils that ensure its flexibility and durability for decades. 

 

Care Tips

Ostrich leather, while resistant, requires careful maintenance to preserve its shape and shine. Gently polish the leather with a damp cloth and regularly apply conditioner. Avoid prolonged exposure to the sun to prevent the leather from drying out.



General Leather Care Tips

 

Preservation:

  • Avoid moisture: Protect your bag from water exposure and a humid environment.

  • Avoid stains: keep your bag away from ink, grease, oil, perfume, hand sanitizers, and alcohol-based products.

 

Storage:

  • Avoid Exposure to Sunlight: Prolonged exposure to sunlight may cause long-term damage to the leather, such as fading and drying. Store your bag in a cool, dark place.

  • Use Dust Bags: Always keep your Hermès bag in the dust bag provided for this purpose. You may also use any kind of breathable bag. This will protect it from unwanted dust accumulation.

  • Stuffing: To maintain its shape, fill your bag with acid-free tissue paper or bubble wrap. Similarly, if the bag is stored, ensure all zips and straps are zipped and attached. Avoid overstuffing, as this can distort the leather.  


Cleaning:

  • Frequent Dusting: Use a dry microfiber cloth to dust your bag. This will help prevent dirt from adhering to the leather surface.

  • Spot Cleaning: For minor stains, dab a soft cloth with lukewarm water and wipe the stained surface with a small movement. Remember never to rub the leather. Avoid soaking the leather. For stubborn stains, use a mild, leather-specific cleaner.

 

Conditioning:

  • Leather Conditioner: Use a high-quality, leather-specific conditioner suitable for your bag's type. Apply it sparingly every six months, and don't overload the leather.

 

  • Avoid Oils: Avoid using products based on oils not designed for leather care, as they can darken or damage the leather.



Hermès Professional Leather Care

 

If your Birkin has a major issue or you desire a thorough refresh, you may consider appealing to Hermès spa service. This service is designed by industry professionals to ensure your bag receives the expert's best treatment, from deep cleaning to repairs. Not only will you benefit from the House's expertise and savoir-faire in reparation, but you will also take advantage of Hermès leather care products designed for their leathers.



Additional Leather Maintenance Tips

 

  • Avoid Overloading: Overloading your bag will change its shape in the long run; try not to transport anything too heavy to prevent stretching and sagging.

  • Clean hands: Always handle your bag with clean hands to avoid transferring oils onto the leather.

  • Avoid water: This advice is even more important for exotic leathers; if your bag gets wet, gently pad it dry with the help of a soft cloth.

  • Avoid rain: When carrying under rain, cover your bag with a raincoat plastic bag designed to protect your luxury handbag. This additional protection would not only help to avoid contact with water, but it can also prevent bleach that often comes from wet fabrics you wear (e.g., denim, which is known for permanently damaging other materials).



Preserving the elegance and value of your Hermès bag is of utmost importance if you aim to keep its value in the long run. The first step to keeping your Hermès bag in pristine condition is to grasp the needs of the leather you own before adopting the proper maintenance and care routines. With the right care, your Hermès bag will remain a timeless piece in your luxury bags collection for years. Hence, don't hesitate to seek professional services to ensure your bag stays in impeccable condition.


LFA editor's note:


Now that you feel comfortable taking care of your beloved bag, we advise you to take further steps to ensure the long-term future of your luxury fashion investment. When it comes to such valuable bags, for the sake of your own mind, you might want to consider insurance for your Hermès handbag. Have a look at our article on insurance for luxury bags to see if that is a good option for you.


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