My bag is turning black!?
December 1, 2012 6:47 PM   Subscribe

Help me clean my jean-stained leather bag in Japan (and help me prevent this from happening again)!

I bought a new Kenneth Cole leather bag a few weeks ago. The bag is pictured here:

I love the bag, and am satisfied with my purchase. Recently however, I noticed a black-ish stain developing on one side of the bag.

I have never owned a leather product before. When the stain was small I naively assumed that it was something that just "happens" to leather. I have realized since that it is due to a new pair of jeans that I bought. The ink from the jeans seems to be rubbing off on the leather (alas, I didn't even know about this problem with new jeans before this).

I would like to clean the bag if possible, but am not sure how - I frikkin love this bag and it is the first high quality one I have ever purchased! I would fall into a severe depression if it was irretrievably marred in its first few weeks of use.

I have done some researching and it seems that leather is notoriously difficult to clean and maintain. I am worried about using a cleaning method that would damage the leather or strip it of it's lubrication. I am deliberating whether to take the bag to a professional, or if there is some relatively safe do-it-yourself method. Has anyone had experience cleaning jean stains from leather, or anything similar?

Finally, I would also like to know - does anyone have any other tips on how to protect extend the life of leather products? I saw something on google about some cream to keep it moisturized and safe from rain - is rain really so bad that a cream like this would be essential?

PS: I am living in Japan. If there are specific Japanese products you could mention that might help, I would love to hear about them.
posted by Kamelot123 to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (7 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
Saddle soap. You can probably get it in any leather goods store, and certainly online, and it's very good for leather - it'll clean and condition it. My wife uses it on her Coach bags all the time.
posted by Dipsomaniac at 7:21 PM on December 1, 2012

Saphir Renovateur. Expensive ($20 a tube), but it's the best. I restored an eight year old pair of Allen Edmonds with the stuff like nobody's business. I'm positive that it will do wonders for your bag.
posted by oceanjesse at 12:18 AM on December 2, 2012 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: I will check out the Saphir Renovateur and Saddle soap, thanks.

Do you think it would be safe to use one of those two instead of going to get it cleaned by a professional? Also, has anyone heard anything about mr clean "magic eraser?"

Finally, has anyone heard anything about a cream that is supposed to protect the leather?
posted by Kamelot123 at 5:03 AM on December 2, 2012

Magic Eraser is a bit abrasive; it's like incredibly fine sandpaper. It wouldn't be the first thing to try on nice leather. Saddle soap usually works well on my stained leather shoes.
posted by bluefly at 5:17 AM on December 2, 2012

Don’t even think about using Magic Eraser. That is an option for textiles.
posted by oceanjesse at 6:34 PM on December 3, 2012

As for a cream that will protect the leather: you’ll want to find a cobbler who can help you color match. I suggest a cobbler because they work with a lot of leather, and everybody wears shoes. Not everybody wears a bag. I’ve had good results with Meltonian Cream; waaaay cheaper than the Saphir stuff I already recommended, plus they have many color options.

Maybe this guide will be useful.

Don’t use Kiwi products! They will dry out your leather. I think they target their products toward low end corrected-grain leather consumer demographics. It’s a ubiquitous product, but really, not what you want.
posted by oceanjesse at 6:45 PM on December 3, 2012

Response by poster: After much prodding and poking from a fellow MeFite, I have finally gotten the pictures up on Imgur:


It might not show as well in the pictures, but there is a big difference between the two. Thanks so much for all of your help!
posted by Kamelot123 at 12:06 AM on January 4, 2013 [1 favorite]

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