Singapore’s tropical climate can be unforgiving on our designer leather bags. Humidity here is high at the equator, hovering around 70 to 80 per cent – a more than ideal environment for mould to grow. If leather goods are incorrectly stored in areas with insufficient ventilation, that exacerbates the problem, causing fungi and bacteria to proliferate.
Ideally, fine leather should be stored in a cool, well-ventilated environment, with humidity between 40 and 60 per cent. You might be tempted to leave the air-conditioner running, but you won’t be doing the environment (or your electric bill) any favours. An electric dehumidifier in the wardrobe would be a more efficient solution, especially since it’s working in a smaller space. Non-electric options like charcoal dehumidifiers or desiccants are also worth considering, but they should be replaced regularly. Leather protectors and waterproofing sprays are another option: They coat the leather with a protective layer that prevents water absorption. One caveat: Choose the right spray for your leather, as the wrong one might discolour or stain.
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Don’t fret if you spot mould, though – it’s more easily remedied than you think. Take the bag outdoors to reduce the spread of mould spores to other belongings. Give it a once-over with a soft brush. Once you’re satisfied all visible mould is gone, use a leather cleaner on a damp cloth for a good wipe-down, taking care to avoid the hardware. Then, hang the bag up in a bright, airy place to dry, preferably not in direct sunlight. Once the leather is clean and dry, treat it to a good rubdown with a leather conditioner to keep it beautifully supple.
Stuffing the bag with acid-free wrapping tissue will help maintain its shape while in storage. Newspapers work fairly well too, but the ink may stain the interior. If you want to be extra careful, wrap the hardware in the same paper to prevent imprints. Place the bag in a breathable dustbag, preferably the original it came in, or a clean pillowcase, making sure it’s roomy enough so the bag won’t warp.
Pro tip: Don’t be overzealous with the dehumidifiers, though; they can be too much of a good thing and dry the leather out.