Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Cleaning refurb experiment

Let me start by saying that this is not one of those jaw dropping refurbish projects.  It was more an experiment to see what, if any improvements could be made.  I also want to make it clear that I am not suggesting that this procedure should be followed by anyone.  I am just posting what I did and the resulting changes.  I picked up another vintage Coach bag.  This one was not in pristine condition, but I did not care.  I love the patina of the older, much used bags.  I like the look of aged leather.  This particular bag has a large liquid stain as you can see.  This bag was cheap so I figured I would try and see what I could do with it.  I had nothing to lose so I ended up using some methods that might frighten others.  I really was not concerned with improving anything but the stain.  I realized that the problem with stain removal is that I had no idea how long that stain had been sitting in that leather.  It could have been years.

I started by trolling the web looking for opinions.  There are too many opinions out there.  First, I found that some people were against using saddle soap and mink oil on Coach bags, but I am going to disagree.  I disagree when it comes to bags that are made of the same type of leather the bag I am working on.  The older Coach bags were made from saddle type leathers.  They were meant to endure and they could be cared for with the same methods that were used for saddle leathers.  Everybody had their opinions on how to best clean this bag.  In the end, I decided to combine several of these opinions.  The cleaning method will seem risky and I am not suggesting that anybody follow my lead.  Prepare yourself.  I cleaned the bag with saddle soap  and a soft cloth and completely submerged the bag in water to rinse it making sure that it was equally hydrated.  I made sure that the bag was not in the water longer than 15 minutes which is what one person cautioned.  I then filled the bag with towels until it was shaped as I wanted.  The bag was then left out of direct sunlight and heat to air dry overnight.  Once it was completely dry I treated it with Kiwi leather lotion.  In the past I used mink oil, but this was strongly suggested by so many people that I thought I would give it a try.

Here is the finished product.  Not a startling improvement, but definitely some visible improvement.  The stain is still there it is just less pronounced.  The leather looks and feels much better.  See?  No miracles, but then again, no disaster to report after dunking it in water.  Again, I am not saying that you should dunk your purse, too.  Do your research.  

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