Have A Wet Leather Duffel Bag?
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For that time when your leather duffel bag is left on a wet surface, is drenched in a rainstorm, or the water bottle breaks open a bit of quick action is necessary. Up to a certain level, the accepted concept that leather is dirt and water repellent is true. Normally a splash, a drip, or a drop of water will not alter the consistency or texture of your leather duffel bag. Depending on the finish, simply wiping it off is sufficient. If you were to look at leather through a microscope it would look similar to a messy ball of string, the string is actually fibers held together with protein bonds. During processing oils and fats are added to the protein bonds to prevent them from drying out and giving the leather suppleness. When water is absorbed by leather it temporarily bonds with the oil bringing the oils to the surface as it evaporates. For long-lasting leather, this oil is important for the protein bonds to maintain strength and suppleness in the leather fibers.

The obvious first step is to remove the excess water. Using a soft clean cloth or paper towel it is best to blot the water off as wiping will push the water deeper into the leather pores. If dust or mud is showing up continue blotting but rotate cloth to help remove debris. Use leather cleaner while the bag is still damp. Then allow the duffel bag to dry naturally at room temperature or a cool area, keeping it away from sunlight or heat sources. Do not use a hair dryer to speed up the process as this will cause the leather to shrink or crack. Stuffing the bag with newspapers or towels while it is drying will help pull additional moisture and keep its shape. Once your duffel bag is completely clean and dry use leather conditioner sparingly, continue to add as needed and buff off any that is not absorbed by the leather. The leather conditioner will restore the oils necessary for the long life of your bag.

If the duffel bag only gets wet on one side and a water stain appears it will take a bit more work to soften or eliminate the mark. Done best while the leather is still damp, using a clean damp sponge with room temperature or warm water begin wiping around the stain working your way out, lessening the amount of water as you work your way to the edge. This can be done with leather cleaner also. Blot again with a clean dry cloth and allow the bag to dry. The process can be repeated if needed. Once complete and dry, apply leather conditioner.

It is very important to dry the leather duffel bag in an area that has air flow. If not careful a moist, warm bag can develop mold or mildew. Depending on the amount of mold or mildew found there are a few options you can try to restore your bag. Take it outside and using a soft brush remove as much as possible. Then proceed with a regular cleaning and conditioning routine. If you need to be more aggressive try cleaning with equal part rubbing alcohol and water before you apply the leather cleaner. Otherwise, for health reasons if your bag has mold it is best to replace.

Water is a wonderful, necessary, and natural thing in the right place. On or in a leather duffel bag is not the right place!


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