The Do's and Don'ts of Storing Leather Items

Follow fundamental leather guarding principles so your treasured leather handbags, belts and jackets keep their shine.

February 8, 2024
min read
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Nothing feels more buttery soft or exudes luxury aestheticism quite like fine Italian leather—when maintained optimally. Unfortunately, impractical storage methods easily damage delicate hides becoming brittle, cracked and moldy over time.

Follow fundamental leather guarding principles like breathable containers, ideal conditions, protective accessories and pre-storage care so your treasured leather handbags, belts, jackets and furniture endure feeling supple and looking beautiful decade after decade.

Use Breathable Storage Containers

Unlike hardy fabrics, unfinished leather requires ample airflow circulation to prevent moisture induced brittleness and maintain flexibility. Choose storage vessels allowing adequate ventilation:

Canvas Garment Bags

Store smooth leather apparel items folded inside large reusable canvas laundry bags or archived document travel satchels with ventilation eyelets along the sides. This prevents dust settling while permitting healthy airflow.

Acid-Free Archival Hat/Shirt Boxes

For smaller leather goods like gloves and wallets, sturdy acid-free cardboard hat boxes stack neatly containing contents. Make sure box lids shut loosely and contain pre-cut airflow vents along the upper ridges.

Wooden Shelves (Not Sealed Tubs)

If your collection outpaces boxes, display leather bags along open bookcase shelves without cramming into harsh sealed plastic tubs trapping humidity next to supple skins. Let leather goods breathe easier!

In addition to breathability, climate control proves equally essential keeping leather fresh...

Maintain Consistent Temperatures

Prevent leather goods drying out through extreme seasonal temperature spikes by storing items in basements or master closets maintaining equilibrium climate regulation all year long. Avoid attics, garages and sheds roasting or freezing respectively through annual extremes.


Ideally keep storage spaces hovering between 60-75°F year-round for premium leather care. Much cooler and hide fibers risk becoming too brittle. Excessively hotter invites mold blooms.

Invest in Small Storage Humidifiers/Dehumidifiers

If leather storage spaces slightly exceed ideal humidity fluctuations despite environmental controls, employ mini dehumidification units or evaporated ultrasonic humidifying systems returning equilibrium protecting precious hides.

Now leather goods rank among the heaviest apparel and accessories categories. Store and handle delicately...

Incorporate Abrasive-Free Tissue Paper

Buffer direct item contact subtly abrading delicate leathers over time using interleaving sheets:

Acid-Free Tissue Paper

Separate stacked suede jackets, buttery leather totes and folded motorcycle pants with few layers of archival grade pure white tissue paper sheets. This prevents color transfer when dye lots vary across pieces.

Textured Facing Inward

Additionally facing heavily textured leather components inward rather inward rather than outward distributes weight stacking items to avoid pressing decorative embossing flat over seasons.

Tissue paper barriers also prevent light damage by filtering brightness...

Control Exposure to Light

Direct sunlight and even indirect UV light rays gradually fade certain leather dyes over the years especially vibrant reds into dull orange hues. Shield goods with:

UV Protective Box Lining

Some specialty archival quality hat boxes line interiors with metallic polyester fabric helping reflect light rays from penetrating box walls compromising contents. Or opt for opaque models.

Dark Storage Areas

Avoid perpetually illuminated open air cubbies and clothing rods, instead storing leather goods inside enclosed cabinets or closet corners away from intense overhead glow and windows lacking curtains.

Closely monitor not just light but relative humidity as well...

leather hand bag

Monitor Ambient Humidity Levels

Since overly parched air dehydrates leather material causing brittleness, crackling and breakage over time, maintain storage space humidity ideally between 40-60% RH using:


Incorporate compact digital hygrometer monitors inside boxes, drawers or room spaces housing leather goods carefully tracking ambient moisture alongside temperatures ensuring levels avoid mold spiking or overly drying air extremes.


Periodically restore equilibrium using ultrasonic cool mist humidifiers extracting dryness or desiccant crystal dehumidifiers absorbing excess moisture keeping parameters ideal.

Additionally defend against other threats like direct floor contact and crinkling plastic wraps...

Avoid Ground Contact

Prevent endured leather finishes scuffing against abrasive concrete subfloors over years by:

Elevation Platforms

Set storage bins atop wooden pallets, moisture proof liners or interior cabinet base decks if cement proves the only surface option to avoid long term floor friction gradually damaging leather pieces.

Limit Stacking Items

If existing storage architecture cannot accommodate pallet lifts, limit bin stacking to just two high maximum avoiding excess weight compressing bottom articles losing shape or piling floor scratches.

While convenient, plastic bags seriously suffocate leathers...

Be Cautious of Plastic Bag Storage

Resist tossing leather goods casually into polyethylene or non-archival standard vinyl bags long term. Concerns arise regarding:

Trapped Moisture and Heat

Unlike breathable canvas, non-porous plastic traps humidity against surfaces overheating while preventing ventilation drying leather properly between seasonal use.

Harsh Chemical Leaching

Inferior plastic liners and bag materials often contain chemical plasticizers and fragrances that leach damaging components onto finishes compromising dye integrity if stored too long without barrier paper separation.

Before sealing storage, ensure articles stay clean entering hibernation...

Care for Soiled Areas Before Storing

Never pack away grimy leather pieces after final seasonal wear without careful inspection and cleaning attention:

Vacuum First

Thoroughly vacuum suede jackets, nubuck leather furniture or handbag lining corners using soft horsehair upholstery nozzle attachments lifting away micro dust and debris. This prevents embedded soiling over idle months.

Spot Clean Stains/Scuffs

Address isolated dark marks or surface abrasions using gentle leather appropriate cleansers and microfiber towels preventing stains solidifying into permanent scars over neglected storage downtime. Ask dealers suggested products for bottega veneta bags, etcetera.

Let Air Dry Completely

If using any liquid cleansers, allow articles dry fully 48-72 hours aired naturally before folding away leather items transferring lingering spot moisture onto adjacent goods stacked together sealed.

Before sealing shut archival leather vaults, perform thorough pest and mold inspections seeking early signs of trouble...

woman wearing leather jacket

Check Items for Mold, Mildew or Pests Before Storing

Catch seemingly microscopic mold spores or nearly invisible new hatchlings feasting upon your fine pelts before populations explode into irreversible damage on precious heirloom jackets:

Inspect With Magnifying Glass

Scan storage items closely under bright light with optional magnifying glass searching seams, folds and hidden linings for early stage mold colonies or nibbling trails signalling textile moths, carpet beetles, silverfish or rodents present putting entire collections at cross contamination risk if not addressed immediately and properly.

Seek Professional Mold Remediation

Upon discovering any fungal growth, immediately seek professional mold inspectors and remediation experts assessing scope of bloom and closest damage mitigation strategies specific for delicate leathers rather than attempting personally with general household anti-mold cleaners possibly removing delicate dyes. Store affected items separately from rest collection if awaiting treatment.

Replace Items Unrecoverable

Realize certain neglected long term storage pieces with extensive losses beyond salvage reach (especially natural hide clothing eaten through by insects or covered entirely across mold cannot rescue. Dispose properly rather than compromising remainder goods trying to wash. Some damages too far gone...make those tough decisions objectively. You cannot reasonably save everything at risk of losing all otherwise protected items!

Before nesting goods stacked away, add protective barriers preventing premature breakdown...

Apply Protective Conditioners

Resilient leathers endure years longer stored with supple moisture intact rather than brittle and dry thanks to nourishing cream and wax applications before boxing away.

Leather Conditioner Cream

Massage small dabs of specialty leather creams containing gentle moisturizers like vitamin E, aloe vera and jojoba oils across bag handles, sneaker uppers or furniture arms to prevent stiffness from arid environments while reviving luster too using included applicator cloths. Avoid oil based versions staining light hides.

Protectant Waxy Balms

After thorough creaming, further shield specialty leather clothing articles and shoes against liquids penetrating pores by gently buffing thin defensive beeswax based finish balms into surface using horsehair polishing brushes evenly distributed across jackets and boots. Avoid liquid silicone sprays on clothing risking hazardous inhalation applying.

In addition to storage methods, premium leathers require proper structural wardrobe support...

Ensure Proper Hanger Support When Necessary

Over time the gravitational weight of hanging leather garments strains rigid inflexible joints unnaturally deforming shoulder seams and stretching collar bands out of shape. Reinforce with:

Wide Hugging Wooden Hangers

Seeking natural rounded hangers precisely contoured fitting jacket shoulder width prevents unbalanced sideways sinking over years tugging durably constructed to bear the gradual heft of substantial hides without collapsing like cheap thin versions.

Shoulder Pads For Heavy Leather

Sleeve in quilted shoulder pads traditionally used padding suit jackets into thin specialty leather garment hangers preventing indentation groove damage on softer luxury lamb and deerskin jackets unable to fully bear own weight through seasons hanging dormant waiting next years special social occasion black tie events.

Storing cleaned leather goods prevents issues down the road:

Store Only Clean Items!

Packing leather pieces fresh off final seasonal wears without fully cleansing risks embedded environmental accumulation and bodily oils over idle months in dark spaces:

Deodorize Before Sealing Away Long Term

Eliminate lingering shoe foot odors or underarm perfume crusted into jackets by lightly sponging isopropyl alcohol across linings neutralizing stubborn embedded scent molecules before burying away months.

Vacuum Suede Nubuck Fabrics

Delicately lift away micro surface dust and deeper debris brushing then vacuum suedes, nubucks and fuzzy upholstery leathers using soft horsehair attachments preventing hidden particulates from permanently adhering through pressure and lack of airflow while deep storage hibernating.

Last but not least - don’t forget the ventilation factor!

Allow Adequate Ventilation Around Goods

Whatever the storage method, ensure breathability flows freely preventing stagnant moisture damage on expensive skins proven through:

Mesh Garment Bags

Store folded leathers inside jumbo lightweight mesh zippered bags promoting airflow exchange keeping pieces dry. Avoid stuffing shredded paper inside stopping ventilation.

Cedar Planks In Hard Cases

If utilizing solid sided hatboxes, position aromatic cedar wood planks creating airflow channels under and between box stacked allowing unrestricted humidity equilibrium.

Blanket/Fur Storage Chests

Line entire blanket chest interiors with cedar panels with slatted backs or position loosely woven aromatic eastern red cedar mat runners under stacks promoting underlayer aeration keeping contents fresher.

Periodically circulate stale smelling pieces with...

refreshing cedar sachets

Refresh Musty Smelling Pieces With Cedar

Periodically sniff test stored leather goods ensuring no off odors from mustiness or rancid mildew settles through the layers. Air out using natural aromatic cedar blocks:

Cedar Block Fresheners

Rest flat fur coats, leather totes developing stale smells atop fragrant cedar planks while airing open few hours allowing woodsy vapors permeate inside out. The gentle whiff helps rebalance proper moisture content across hides too alongside effectively masking mildewy notes.

Cedar Oil Extracts

If cedar planks unavailable, carefully wipe just a few diluted drops cedarwood essential oils extracted from bark outer layers using cotton cloths across soiled vintage handbags or areas displaying grey mold film followed immediately gently blotting dry excess. This often sufficient tackling early stage microbial leaf decomposition and stagnant odors on nu buck jackets.

Keep leather goods appearing lustrous wearing regularly through off-season with consistent upkeep:

Repair Any Broken Stitching

Don’t wait until fully unraveled catastrophes happen pulling lining exposing foam and shredding hide edges...quickly mend:

Loose Threads or Split Seams

Reinforce split lining threads proactively with clear rust proof sewing needles and sueded color matching machine threads rather than snipping strands risking larger separation holes exposing interior padding and rip vulnerabilities. Avoid household needle holes tearing bigger gashes! Apply thin strips leather glue binding tape reinforcing tape too.

Broken Buckles, Hardware

Likewise replace cracked adjustable straps on favorite vintage coach duffle bags immediately rather than awaiting full detach buckle failure that certainly accelerates wear around delicate surrounding stitch points already under daily strain once supporting buckle hardware gives way. Visit reputable leather restoration tailors routinely for assessment and discuss full rehab options breathing decades extra lifespans into otherwise retired bags donatable.

Lastly, maintain items through consistent care:

Gently Brush Off Dust Between Wears

In addition to seasonal protective storage steps, keep suede and nubuck leather jackets, fringed boots or buttery handbags dust and dirt free using:

Specialty Leather Brushes

Gently whisk away clingy particles and embedded carpet crumbs using soft blunt tipped stiff suede massaging brushes with extendable handles reaching tricky back sides sans stretching or abrasion damage to napped fabrics.

Microfiber Polishing Cloths

Buff gently with lightweight ultra smooth microfiber lens cleaning cloths trapping dust in millions of fine hooked fibers without pulling delicate fibers. Avoid commercial chemical leather wipe solvents stripping finishes.

Hopefully these 50+ leather damage preventing storage and maintenance insights shared within equip preserving treasured garments, handbags, shoes and furnishings keeping their coveted supple durability and beautiful patina lasting through decades more beloved usage! Just be sure giving all items ample airflow circulation while handling gently folded in acid free tissue paper to avoid premature breakdown. Check for pests too! What other heirloom leather goods require your safeguarding TLC this off-season?

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Our mission is to empower you with the knowledge to curate a wardrobe that not only reflects your personal style but also aligns with environmentally friendly practices. From exploring the wonders of natural mothballs and sustainable garment storage to diving deep into DIY solutions and green living, we're here to guide you on a journey towards a more eco-conscious, stylish, and intentional lifestyle.

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