How to care for your Duffle&Co bags and accessories

It’s time you got to know your new best friend, inside and out! This means knowing how to look after your bag, care for it, and know what action to take should a spill or damage occur. The aim of the game is to care for your bag just as you would an expensive pair of shoes. The better the upkeep, the longer the bag will last. Here’s a few handy tips…

Storage

Each Duffle&Co bag comes in a reusable cotton drawstring bag. Whilst we love seeing you use this for your veggie shopping, first and foremost this bag is designed to protect your bag when in storage. When you aren’t using your Duffle&Co bag, keep it stored in a dry area inside it’s drawstring bag. It will help protect it from scratches and stop it from gathering dirt. It will also be easy to spot! If you can it's best to store your bag upright on a shelf. Stuff it with tissue paper or an old T-shirt to maintain its shape (be careful not to over-stuff it though). Please also store your bag / keep it out of direct sunlight, as it can cause the leather to fade and damage it. If you lose your drawstring bag, a pillow case will work just as well!

Leather care - scratches

When you are using your bag, over time (as leather shoes do) scratches and marks will slowly appear. This is because you are using it as you should! We often throw our bags into our cars, put them on the ground at work or in restaurants, and not to mention accidentally kick them every now and again. Talk about tough love! The thing to remember is that leather is a skin. The key to maintaining it is to periodically replenish the natural oils that repel moisture. If you care for it and moisturise the leather, it will look great.

We recommend using a leather conditioner first and foremostly for scratches, as they are made specifically to restore and protect the leather. You can pick these in supermarkets and shoe repair shops, and follow the instructions provided. *We are currently working on building you a leather care kit, however for now shop bought options or the below will have to do! However if you favour natural remedies over bought ones, here’s a few suggestions.

*For the following two options, we suggest spot testing these methods on a small area of the leather, either on the inside or bottom before you treat the whole bag or scratched area that’s visible to the eye.

First up for scratches (and this works well for light coloured leather) white vinegar! Use a piece of cheesecloth or an old T-shirt to apply the vinegar to the scratch. Then use a separate clean cloth to buff. The entire process should take no more than 5 minutes. The acidity in vinegar makes the scratch swell and settle back into a similar pattern. While this won't completely erase the mark, it will be less noticeable. Finish with a neutral shoe polish to restore the lustre. Always use neutral shoe polish because it’s colourless.

Another alternative is when you see scratches appearing, to lessen them treat them with a leather oil. You can pick up a suitable oil from your local shoe repair shop - they will be able to recommend one from looking at your bag or accessory. If you prefer a kitchen cupboard option, coconut oil or vaseline (if you have it lying around) work well. Make sure your hands are clean before handling the bag. First take a damp cloth and wipe away any dirt or dust that may be on your bag. Second, take a fresh cloth (preferably a soft cotton rag) and apply a small amount on to the area, working the oil into and around the scratch in circular motions. Then let the oil dry for an hour before wiping off any excess. If the scratch is still there, try again and let the oil sit for longer. Heads up, do a patch test first if you have a light coloured leather bag or accessory. Oils can sometimes darken the leather slightly. The oils moisturise and condition the leather. See below for more.

Leather care - dry leather

If your leather feels dry or looks wrinkled, it needs conditioning! Again, wipe away any dirt beforehand. Using a clean rag follow the instructions on your leather conditioner or leather conditioning cream and apply in circular motions. Try to find a neutral conditioner without colour in it. Again, coconut oil works well here. (If you don’t like coconut oil or don’t like the smell of it, we don’t recommend using it!) Once the conditioner has been thoroughly distributed on the bag, use a fresh cloth to wipe any excess off after an hour of drying time (or as the instructions tell you). When you remove the excess do so in gentle circular motions with a soft cloth. We recommend conditioning your leather bag or accessory every 3-5 months if you use it regularly.

Can I use shoe polish and treat my bag as I would my leather shoes?

The short answer is yes, if you have our black or tan leather products. If you have a product in light tan, grey, or navy, we recommend taking your bag or accessory to a shoe repair shop for a shoe polish recommendation. Using a neural non-coloured shoe polish or conditioner is always best.

Liquid stains

Start by blotting the stained area as soon as possible with a clean, dry cloth or tissue - you want to absorb as much of the liquid as possible. Once you have removed the excess liquid, you should then blot the stained area with a damp cloth or tissue using warm water only. Start at the outside of the stain and work inwards; this will stop the stain from spreading outwards. As before, you should then proceed to dab the stained area with a dry cloth or tissue to absorb any left-over water. Never rub the stained area as this can cause the stain to spread. Your bag is best left to dry in a warm room. Do not apply heat directly to the stained area as this can set the stain.

Tackling interior stains - makeup / ink

One way to prevent stains on the interior lining of your bag is to store your makeup and pens in a pouch inside your bag. Makeup and ink are some of the hardest stains to remove from bags because of the high oil content. If a pen does explode and it’s not stored in a pouch, take it to a professional. If you try to use homemade remedies, you'll either cause a bigger stain because the ink will bleed, or you'll cause a fluid mark, which is worse than the ink / makeup mark.

If your bag is made from cotton canvas

For cotton canvas products, for any stains that occur mix a mild detergent with water and use a cotton cloth to clean. This should be approx. ½ tsp of mild detergent to 1 cup of water. Run gently in circular motions around the stain then leave to dry, out of the sun.

Repairs to your Duffle&Co bag or accessory

All of the following is covered in our Shipping, Exchanges, Returns & Refunds page, should you wish to read more into this next section.

We do our best to give you the best pieces of leather we can find, but some leather may have slight marks or blemishes, as we reuse offcuts of leather to minimise waste to make our bags. If you feel that your item is damaged or defective within 21 days of receiving it, please send photos of this item to support@duffleandco.com. From there, we can distinguish whether this is a natural occurrence in the leather, or organise an exchange for you. Please do report and damages or defects within the 21 day period of receiving the item.

If your hardware breaks, or the stitching comes loose, we’re here to help. If your order was placed within the last 12 months, we are happy to repair this for you, free of charge. If your product is outside of the 12 month window, unfortunately we won’t be able to repair it directly for you, but we are happy to help recommend some shoe repair / stitching shops. If you have any questions or issues with this, please contact support@duffleandco.com with a detailed message including your name, order number, proof of purchase, details of product issues, and photos of this issue.

*Duffle&Co have the right to refuse to fix a problem with a product if the fault was caused by the consumer or events outside of Duffle&Co’s control. The customer is fully responsible to maintain the look, feel and appearance of the leather product. This can be done by caring for the leather and storing it properly.