Here’s how to extend the life of your leather bags

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Investing in an expensive leather bag is easy, but to make them last a long time it is imperative to properly maintain them.

A good protective cream, and the use of different pouches for your makeup and lotions, are habits that contribute to a long life of your leather bag.

Rashi Menda, CEO and Founder of Zapyle, an online marketplace for high-end fashion, and Bhavya Chawla, chief stylist of e-commerce portal Voonik, have a few tips to share:

* Prevention: Caring for your leather tote starts from day one – use a good barrier cream or treatment at least once every two to three months. This prevents stains, grease penetration and many other problems later on.

* Always keep your leather bag upright in their dust bags or cotton pillowcase. Make sure you never store them in plastic or vinyl as they tend to trap moisture inside.

Fill your bags with something to keep the shape intact – acid-free scarves, sweaters or tissue paper, or an inserted purse work well.

* Baby wipes, vinegar, and other do-it-yourself stain removal stuff isn’t good news for your bag. Many of these products contain chemicals and substances that can damage color, dry out leather, build up grease, and cause so many other problems.

For ink marks, take your bag to a professional, but if this is not possible, try a special leather ink remover and follow the maintenance instructions, taking care to condition the area afterwards and to let dry well.

* Always store your cosmetics and liquids in pouches to avoid spills and keep your bag organized to boot. Also put these pens in a pocket.

* Routine maintenance: If you’ve just smeared yourself with hand cream, keep your bag away from you unless you want grease stains. If you get a grease stain of any kind, just wipe it off without using water.

* Most labels have an in-house leather care range, so always inquire about this at the time of purchase. Some bags contain precious or associated metals, so it’s always a good idea to check with the store on how to clean the accessories separately.

* Air your leather bag in the sun, especially after a rainy day or winter in general.

* Leather is permeable and can never be completely waterproof; some experts suggest applying a coat of beeswax on it, although this may reduce the original shine of the leather bag.

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