How to Take Care of Your Precious Exotics: The Dos, Don’ts, and Musts

How to Take Care of Your Precious Exotics

There is nothing worse than pulling out your most treasured exotic-skin bag to find it dry, cracked, or peeling – or worse yet, all three. A very wise woman once told me that our designer bags are like fine cars: they need tuning regularly.

Crocodile, lizard, and python are surprisingly easy to maintain, but like any fine skin, they are sensitive. They will crack and peel if they stay in a very dry climate and will bubble if the weather gets too humid. Ostrich, on the other hand, is full of natural oils, so it’s lightweight and won’t crack. But it stains very easily and doesn’t clean up well; it also tends to darken at the handles, so avoid using hand lotion right before carrying your bag.

The key is to think of your exotics as living things, and take care of them as such!

Maintenance Tips:
1. Condition exotic skin once a year (think of it as a tune-up). Fine beeswax works great or take your bag to a professional leathersmith or shoe repair place you trust.

2. If your bag gets wet, dab it with soft WHITE cotton towel ASAP, then let it air dry. (Always dab, never wipe, as you will widen the tainted area!)

3. If you spill wine or food on it, dab with soft white cloth. A LIGHTLY moistened soft towel is also okay. Again, dab. Do not rub. If that doesn’t work, take it to the leathersmith, pronto. Do not attempt to clean it by rubbing or scrubbing (I speak from personal experience).

4. Never use soap and water on your exotic skin bags!

5. Air-dry them naturally. Don’t use a blow-dryer, as quick-drying techniques are sure to cause rings and even more damage.

6. If you get oil on the bag, sprinkle talcum powder or cornstarch on it. Wait an hour and lightly brush it away with clean dry cloth. (Soft kitchen cloths are better than bathroom towels.)

7. Never use brushes, as they will scratch your bag, and be careful using lotion on shiny, glazed exotic skin, as it will wear away the treatment.

Storage Tips:
1. Keep your bag in a closet or dark space. (Sunlight will cause it to fade – this applies to all leather bags.)

2. Keep your bag in its original dust cover or a labeled plastic container with a cover to keep dust from collecting on it.

3. Stuff it with old t-shirts (makes for great storage!) or acid-free tissue paper to keep the shape and prevent folding or creasing while the bag is in storage.

4. Tuck any chains or loose hardware inside the bag, so they don’t end up scratching the surface.

5. Keep a glass of water close in the closet, so the heater and/or air conditioning do not dry out the skins.

How to Take Care of Your Precious Exotics

1. Balenciaga Ostrich Minaudière:icon Just a pop of hardware-accented ostrich in an uncommon hue is all you need to cause a stir. At Barneys New York for $2,250.

2. Kara Ross Priscilla Lizard Clutch Bag:icon You don’t see lizard every day, which makes this evening clutch a truly delicious statement staple. At Neiman Marcus for $1,810.

3. VBH Boulevard 32 Python Tote Bag:icon Life feels luxurious when you’re carrying a spacious tote of pure python. So luxurious, you won’t want to carry anything else. At Neiman Marcus for $5,900.

4. Nancy Gonzalez Cristina Crocodile Tote Bag:icon Who says croc has to be all serious? Not Nancy! Her sunshine-yellow tote is simply adorable. At Neiman Marcus for $2,950.

1 Comment

  1. Theresa Meyers
    July 13, 2014 / 2:55 am

    Very informative for care of my skin bags. Thank you.

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