Water stain on unfinished/raw leather...what to do?
August 14, 2013 12:06 AM   Subscribe

I have this bag. Like an idiot I spilled sparkling water on the inside, where it appears to be raw untreated leather (the outside is pretty smooth leather). Now there are water stains on the inside.

The color it is stained now on the spots on the inside is just a slightly darker version. I don't think if that color were uniform it would be bad. So is it a bad idea to just dab the inside with a sponge until it is just one big uniform water stain?

Alternatively, I have some wonder balsam I could use on the inside, but I am reluctant to do that because it says "do not use on suede" and the inside feels kind of like suede to me?

I am reluctant to wash the whole inside with saddle soap, because the outside is pristine and I don't want to mess it up.

Any ideas for what I should do? I know "take it to a professional" is the best answer, but I can't afford that right now :(
posted by long haired child to Grab Bag (4 answers total)
Don't do anything.
You're the only one that knows.
Leave it well alone.
posted by the Real Dan at 12:44 AM on August 14, 2013 [7 favorites]

Yeah, this is a classic. Having been driven to distraction over stuff like this myself many times, and then completely ruining the item in question in my attempt to return it to store-condition, I say: Walk away from the water spots on the inside of the bag.
posted by thinkpiece at 4:39 AM on August 14, 2013

Although I tend to agree with the first two commenters, looking at the pics I notice that some of the "inside" of the bag is pretty visible even if you are not the owner of the bag rummaging around in it. Is that your concern? If so, I still think your best bet is probably to ignore the stains. For one thing, eventually--with handling and general wear and tear--the raw leather will gradually darken and acquire its own patina naturally, and the stains will become less noticeable. For another, playing around with dabbing water all over your lovely leather bag just sounds like a classic "there was an old lady who swallowed a fly" situation. At the moment you have a small, likely self-correcting problem. That step could turn it into a giant, possibly bag-terminating problem.
posted by yoink at 7:05 AM on August 14, 2013

Take it in to a leather cleaner's or a high end shoe/bag repair place for a consultation to see if it's fixable and if the fix is affordable. Whatever you do, don't do it yourself since you don't have experience with this sort of thing - I ruined an unlined leather bag that I thought I could fix once because I flailed away instead of just taking it to be cleaned. I could have carried it slightly spotty, but instead I totally messed up the leather. (And I actually do have a little experience with leather dye and bringing back old leather...so I should have known better, actually.)
posted by Frowner at 7:45 AM on August 14, 2013

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