Ah, calfskin leather. We all love a bag that’s made from the luxury material, but how do we care for it, really? Investing in a designer calfskin leather bag is one thing, but caring for it to last years with minimal signs of wear and tear is another.
Maintaining such delicate fabric in your collection may sound a tad bit dreary at first, but caring for your beloved bag should be a breeze with proper safekeeping and attention to detail. Below, we break down the basics of calfskin leather and share tips and tricks to retain the value of your major investment.
What is calfskin leather?
Made by tanning the hides of young cattle, calfskin leather is often touted as one of the most luxurious types of leather, beating lambskin and goatskin among its counterparts. It’s also smoother yet more durable compared to regular cowskin, which makes it a more popular choice when it comes to manufacturing shoes, bags, and clothing.
Although calfskin leather is known for its tough structure (thanks to the abundance of collagen in cattle), it doesn’t mean that the coveted material isn’t prone to weathering and depletion over time. It’s still susceptible to stains, scratches, and wrinkles due to its fine grain and thin nature, so regular maintenance is a must if you want your calfskin leather to withstand the test of time.
Care tips to preserve calfskin leather
Ready to learn the art of leather pampering? We ask Edwin, Style Theory Restore’s in-house restoration expert, to share easy tips on how you can prolong the lifespan of your calfskin leather bag.
The smooth and soft texture of calfskin leather often comes with a downside especially if you aren’t too careful with its handling. Unlike regular cowskin leather with pronounced grains, calfskin leather has a more refined surface which makes scratches appear more visible to the eye.
How to prevent
For minor scratches, there’s nothing that a leather conditioner and some buffing can’t do. Scratch marks caused by small, pointy objects can be lessened once you apply an ample amount of leather conditioner and buff the surface of your bag using a clean cloth.
“In our workshop, we use Germany based Collonil’s Leather Gel. This nourishes the leathers, making it soft and supple again while imparting some water repellent properties”, says Edwin. A good leather moisturising cream can help reduce scratch marks, so it’s wise to invest in one to avoid lesions from accumulating on your calfskin leather over the years.
However, deeper scratches that go beyond the surface of the leather and extend to its bottom layer will need expert restoration. In such instances, the Style Theory Restore team fills in the problem areas and custom matches the calfskin leather’s original hue to make it look neat and undamaged.
2. Liquid stains
As seasoned leather craftsmen would say, no leather is 100% waterproof. Although calfskin is somehow more water-resistant compared to other animal derived fabrics, its natural properties still allow liquid absorption through its microscopic pores.
How to prevent
Rule of thumb: all stains must be dealt with immediately. The longer a stain lingers on your calfskin leather, the harder it becomes to be permanently removed. Different stains require their own removal methods, but the first step would always be to wipe the stain with a dry, absorbent cloth before applying other erasing agents.
“Generally, the toughest stains to remove are pen ink marks and alcohol based stains, like red wine. These types of stains usually require expert maintenance. If you ever spill red wine or similar liquids on your leather bag, wipe it with dry tissue or kitchen wipes both on the exterior and interior incase of leakage. Leave the bag to dry normally and send it to restoration experts as soon as possible”, adds Edwin.
It’s important to note that chemicals and solvents like alcohol can damage any kind of leather in the long run – so it’s best to approach an expert to handle your calfskin leather bag once it gets stained with stubborn liquids.
3. Cracking and peeling
As with any animal derived fabric, calfskin leather can crack and peel over time, especially when exposed to too much heat and sunlight. Leather cracks as a result of too much dryness, which happens if you don’t store it properly when not in use.
How to prevent
As cliché as it may sound, the secret to any long-lasting calfskin leather bag is proper storage. To prevent your calfskin leather from cracking and peeling, ensure that the room where you store your prized bags is well-ventilated and away from direct sunlight. This will keep calfskin leather from getting dry and releasing too much moisture from its natural pores, especially if you live in warm places.
“We recommend to store calfskin leather in dust bags in a humidity or temperature controlled closet”, adds Edwin. Low humidity levels can hasten the appearance of cracks and peels on your bag, so investing in an indoor humidifier helps especially if you already have a huge calfskin leather bag collection in your possession.
In a nutshell, “calfskin strikes a good balance between luxury and durability. Properly maintained, leather products made from high quality calfskin can have a very long lifespan”, says Edwin.
With Style Theory Restore’s expert care and zero-hassle service, you can pamper your beloved calfskin leather bag and extend the longevity of your prized possession. Start your restoration journey here
Can’t decide what type of leather to consider for your next bag purchase? See whether or not calfskin leather fits your lifestyle by renting it first. Subscribe to Style Theory’s monthly plan and rent from thousands of designer calfskin leather bags here