How To Clean Louis Vuitton’s Vachetta Leather Handbags
Louis Vuitton bags are known for a few staples that make them instantly recognizable to almost anyone’s eyes. The revered Monogram canvas is a Vuitton trademark that’s accompanied by another equally-iconic detail: Vachetta leather. The trim handles, and piping of many Louis Vuitton bags made from this distinguished leather, which led many people to develop preferences about their Vachetta leather and the patina that it develops. Truthfully, we can’t help but be dazzled by the look of an older Louis Vuitton bag that has been well taken care of and that has developed a beautiful patina. That’s why we’ve put together this tell-all about the Louis Vuitton Vachetta leather that’s so coveted.
Why Vachetta Leather Is So Beloved
Vachetta leather is a straightforward material. It’s an untreated cowhide, meaning it hasn’t been dyed or treated with preservation processes that more commonplace leathers undergo. Staying in a natural state makes untreated leather susceptible to discoloration and water stains, but this also allows it to age naturally and develop what’s called a patina: a sheen of oils and other elements from the environment that darken the Vachetta leather.
Many people love the way Vachetta leather on Louis Vuitton bags can imbue a crisp and new or vintage look on each bag depending on how deep of a color the patina has developed. Over time, this type of leather ages with your bag without detracting from it, whereas some other leathers or fabrics can degrade faster than other materials that may be present on the piece. In the case of Louis Vuitton bags, the combination of Vachetta leather and Monogram canvas is a perfect match in terms of durability and aging gracefully.
Untreated vs Treated Leather
On many bags, including some varieties of Louis Vuitton styles, the leather will have undergone an extensive treatment process that can change the color, texture, gloss, and durability of the leather. That’s why knowing the difference between untreated and treated leather helps you make a more informed decision as to which bag suits your lifestyle the best. Although all leather processed to some degree; treated leathers are the majority of us think of when it comes to leather goods we can pick up at the store.
Treated leather makes some of the most popular bags, leather jackets, wallets, and other small goods because of the various colors it can come in; the gloss, the water/stain resistance, and the texture options provided. The treated leather will have gone through a much more rigorous preservation process which natural; untreated leathers avoid the majority of. Vachetta leather made from cowhide that left untreated. This means that it’s still processed to a certain extent but it does not undergo glossing, dyeing, or tanning. As a result, Vachetta leather is about as natural as you can get, which allows your authentic Louis Vuitton bag to age beautifully as the leather darkens in color.
Vachetta Leather and Patina Color
New Vachetta leather has a pale beige color that complements the brown tones of the Monogram canvas; making it as delightful to wear when it’s new as it is once a beautiful patina has developed. There are many different opinions as to which color of patina is “best.” But the truth remains that Vachetta leather in all shades still a wonderful complement to Monogram canvas. However, there are certain shades of Vachetta that tend to be more desirable than others.
When it comes to patina, it seems like the consensus is that a honey patina is highly desirable. This shade is the perfect middle ground between the striking pale beige color of new Vachetta leather and the deep brown that it may eventually age to. In ideal situations, the honey patina will be even across all Vachetta surfaces – resulting in a beautiful bag like the one shown in the photo below.
Since patina developed through time and as a result of wear; the color that your Vachetta leather can darken to depends on the way the bag handled. Oils and even lotion from our bodies can change the way Vachetta leather ages; causing areas with the most contact with the skin to turn darker. As a result, handles and zipper pulls made with this type of untreated leather will develop more a pronounced patina. In the photo below; you can see that this Neverfull developed a beautiful honey patina on the trim. And the chaps at the base of the handles. However, contact with skin oils, lotion, and environmental moisture caused the handles to develop a much darker patina.
How to Keep Your Louis Looking Beautiful
If you’ve taken the plunge and purchased a bag that features untreated leather; there are a few things you should keep in mind to make sure it ages gracefully.
Vachetta leather is prone to damage in the sense that it can be easily stained or discolored by water and other environmental causes. Applying a lot of lotion or having residual makeup on your hands could cause a very dark patina to develop in frequently-touched places. Similarly, water stains may cause darkened outlines to appear on the leather trim. On a better note, Vachetta leather is fairly durable and more resistant to scratching and scuffs than, say, lambskin leather. This means that your Louis bag, in combination with the sturdy Monogram canvas, can be worn often; without risking too much damage from day-to-day activities. Similarly, moisturizing and otherwise caring for untreated leather can minimize the likelihood of cracking and other blemishes occurring. In many cases, damage or staining can be difficult or nearly impossible to reverse; so avoidance is the best route to take.
Part of keeping your Louis Vuitton bag looking beautiful throughout the years entails making sure to clean regularly. Regular upkeep will also help maintain any Vachetta leather that’s present to avoid blemishes. Using alcohol-free, unscented baby wipes will allow you to clean the Monogram canvas and Vachetta leather on your bag without risking damage.
Aside from cleaning, which does not typically lighten Vachetta leather from the color of the patina, it has already developed; Louis lovers do have another option: restoration. Many people have discussed the use of a Magic Eraser to “restore” the Vachetta leather on their bags; to a lighter color because it tends to abrasively remove the layers of buildup that have accumulated on the leather. Afterward, moisturizing the bag the key to ensuring that using the Magic Eraser doesn’t strip the leather too much and leave it more vulnerable.
Be sure to keep in mind that any restoration will not be a fix-all for deep stains. Or bringing the leather back to that brand-new, pale beige color.
If your bag has been damaged; you can also take your item to your nearest Louis Vuitton store; so that it can be sent to the repair center to be fixed. This can include Louis Vuitton trying to alleviate discoloration, though returning a bag to a brand-new state is unlikely.
How to Safely Clean Louis Vuitton Vachetta Leather Bags
Scoring a deal on a pre-owned Louis Vuitton is a great feeling, but sometimes the affordable price tag comes with a little wear and tear. However, with a little TLC, a gently used LV bag can be cleaned, and a diamond in the rough can become an everyday favorite. Here are some great tips for safely (and affordably) rehabbing an LV Monogram Canvas piece.
How to care for, clean, and condition your Vachetta leather handbags:
Do NOT use any leather soaps, cleaners, or conditioners on Vachetta leather. Most of these products contain lanolin which will cause unprotected leather to darken rapidly. Denim transfer and a variety of other dry stains removed using an uncolored or natural pencil eraser. You’ll find this your only friend when it comes to cleaning Vachetta leather.
The best defense is protecting it from spills, not placing it on the floor, and other such considerations when in use. Prevention your best bet for keeping your Vachetta leather handbags looking their best.
Grease and sweat from hands have a gradual darkening effect on the leather. If you observe the handles on used Vachetta leather handbags, you’ll notice how they’re darker than the rest of the purse. Over time, the natural patina will offer some protection against the elements.
When not in use; be sure to store your Vachetta leather purse in a box or cotton dust bag. It needs to breathe. Never put any leather products into plastic bags. Don’t fold or stress the purse in any way. Allow it to rest naturally, with plenty of space and nothing sitting on top of it; pressing it under its weight. Finally, tuck the strap inside, especially if there’s a chain or hardware on it. This will prevent it from scratching the leather.
The Best Way to Clean Monogram Canvas
Monogram Canvas is dark-hued and porous; so it often holds onto dirt and residue without you knowing. Use baby wipes (pictured above) to give pieces a good cleaning. It is recommended to use a fragrance-free and alcohol-free brand that won’t dry out the coated canvas. Monogram Canvas sometimes gets white or light-colored scuff marks, especially if it wasn’t properly stored. If there are any spots remove them using a bit of leather cleaner dabbed onto a baby wipe.
How to Polish Tarnished Brass and Brass-Tone Hardware
Louis Vuitton uses a combination of brass and gold-tone metal hardware. Padlocks and zipper teeth typically made of brass, but zipper pulls and handles rings made of plated metal. Sometimes the Vachetta leather darkens where it comes in contact with hardware, so use a dry Magic Eraser (pictured above) to gently buff out the discoloration. If you opt to do a full restoration with a metal polish like Brasso, be careful when polishing hardware that set next to or on Vachetta leather, as the liquid metal polish can leave stains.
Some Tricks for Cleaning Vachetta Leather Handles and Trim
Vachetta is untreated calf leather that darkens over time. The honey-colored patina (pictured above) is probably the most popular hue, especially because it is a sign of an authentic bag. Older bag handles can develop a darker patina from continual contact with skin oils. There are different ways to clean Vachetta… give handles a once-over with a baby wipe to preserve the original patina. If you opt to go further and remove the patina from leather handles or trim; there are some easily searched online videos and step-by-step tutorials that show the process. One thing, not to get nervous if the handles darken after being wiped. The handles will lighten up again as they dry.
Vachetta leather requires a high level of preventative measures to protect it from the many dangers it is susceptible to.
Louis Vuitton is famous for its Vachetta line of purses. This is also a common brand for replicating so make sure to do a thorough evaluation when considering purchasing Vachetta leather purses online.