Water Stains on Leather Handbags

We've said it a thousand times; there's nothing quite like the moment you realize that you've stained your new designer handbag to really make your stomach drop. Maybe a pen opened up inside the inner pocket, maybe some dye transferred from your clothing onto the leather of the bag - whatever it is, you've got yourself a rather expensive-looking conundrum.

However, there is one kind of stain that is really less of a stain, and more of a calling card left behind by a simple force of nature that is the archenemy of all leather handbags - the water stain.

While you may be familiar with the look of a water stain, what they actually are can be a bit more of a mystery. When water comes into contact with leather, particularly untreated leather (or vachetta leather as it is known in the handbag world), the matrix of the leather becomes saturated and swells, and dirt, minerals, or errant dyes are displaced. Once that saturated area dries, you're left with a crispy, marked area where these displaced elements have been deposited.

So what can be done about a water stain? It all depends on the location and severity of the stain. Water stains that are extensive or in a difficult to access area are better left to the professionals, but for lesser stains, you're not completely without recourse. Simply dampen the area (do not soak) with a cloth, add a bit of leather cleaning soap, and gently buff the area of the stain. Blot with a damp (again, not saturated) cloth until the soap is gone, and allow to dry. You may benefit from the use of a bit of leather conditioner, but remember, any time you are treating a water stain, less is more, so use small amounts and proceed slowly!