How to Restore Your Designer Bags

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What woman doesn't love shoes and handbags? To me they are as essential as air and water and I just can't get enough of them. So naturally over the years I have accumulated a lot of leather goods that have seen better days. 

Recently, I set out to see if I could bring new life to some of my designer bags that looked rather scuffed up. However, there is always that element of fear involved, the fear of doing something wrong and basically ruining an expensive leather item for good. Well an opportunity presented itself via a review for Leather Nova leather care products and I set off to work. 

Vintage dirty Dooney and Bourke Bag

Vintage dirty Dooney and Bourke Bag

First a victim was needed, an item that was in such a bad shape that losing it to experimentation would not present a total melt down. Meet the victim - my vintage Dooney and Bourke bag, which had paint marks on the bottom. That's what you get when you travel around with wet paint on your canvas! I now keep my bags far away from my art work ~ . The handles were a jucky grey, the top had ugly discolorations from god knows what spills. Well you get the idea, this was the poorest specimen of leather I could find and the best candidate for trying out Leather Nova care products. 

What you will need to restore your bags

What you will need to restore your bags

Leather Nova Leather Cleaner is a new premium cleaner that deeply penetrates the leather pores to remove dirt, grime and oil. It is a safe formula that can be used on all types of leather, vinyl and plastic surfaces. Since it does not contain any harsh detergents or toxic ingredients that dry out the leather which actually accelerate the aging process, I needed a little bit of extra help by using rubbing alcohol as well. 

Since I had to remove paint from the bottom I dabbed a bit of alcohol on a rag first and started to gently massage it around the paint in circular motions. I should point out that alcohol will dry your leather, so only use it when all else fails. 

Leather Cleaner For Sofa, Shoes, Car, Handbags, Purses, Furniture, Saddles & More - 18 oz - Comes With Microfiber Towel $17.95 $29.95 Leather Nova

I then proceeded with applying generous amounts of the Leather Nova Leather Cleaner. The company sends a cleaning cloth and sponges with their products, which I thought was a real nice touch. My poor bag needed a bit more of just wiping, so an old tooth brush was used to really work the cleaner in. By skirting a bit of the cleaning solution on to your rag or brush and massaging it into the leather, acuumulated grime is loosened and can easily be wiped away . Always move in circles and slowly work the product into the leather, allowing it to fully penetrate. Since you do not need to rinse Leather Nova cleaning solutions, you can wipe away the grime with extra cloth, such as Old T-Shirts, which work great for this purpose. 

For scuff marks you can use furniture scratch markers. I happened to have a few from Guardsmen and applied them on areas where the dye had worn off. To do this dab the marker on the area needing some color restoration and as soon as it does not come off on your finger, wipe the excess away with the leather cleaner. The dye will sink into the light areas and come off elsewhere. You will notice that the leather will look a bit wet. That's ok and don't worry about it, it will dry quickly. 

Leather Conditioner & Restorer - The Ultimate Leather Protector for Cars, Furniture, Boots, Saddles, Purses & More - Foam Applicator Included $15.97 $29.95 Leather Nova

After all that scrubbing and wiping it was time to condition the bag. With leather goods that are not in such a bad shape, the Leather Conditioner is really a must, because it nourishes and restores the leather so your item won't looks as bad as mine did. I applied the Leather Nova Conditioner, which is a clear thick liquid onto my conditioning pad and massaged it into all areas of the bag. Then I used another rag and buffed the leather. I was pretty amazed to see the final result. 

<Before and After >

<Before and After >

As you can see the old paint stains have almost gone away. Right now there is a faint ghost outline where the paint used to be on the bottom of the bag. I think with one more cleaning session that will go away as well. 

The biggest difference was visible on the top. Most of those ugly smudges have gone away and the leather has taken on this nice honey colored hue. The handels are much lighter and the black leather is super shiny and looks like new. 

Restored Leather Bag

Restored Leather Bag


The Leather Nova Leather Conditioner provides safe and durable protection for all leather and vinyl surfaces by using high grade polymers which restore the leather to its original sheen. Monthly use maintains its natural suppleness and restores a rich leather fragrance. It leaves a non-greasy finish unlike other leather conditioners. Your leather goods will thank you for the extra love!

Leather Nova Leather Conditioner & Cleaner provides effective and deep cleaning of all types of leather and vinyl surfaces. While removing dirt and stains from the leather surfaces, it also conditions and adds the vital nutrients to the leather to make it soft and supple. It includes only premium ingredients which clean, enrich, restore and protect your leather. It gives a non-greasy finish to avoid dust accumulation and prevent premature drying and cracking. 

Leather Nova products are made in the USA with natural and non-toxic ingredients that are environmentally-friendly. Leather Nova  can be used to restore old leather furniture, car seats, shoes, wallets and purses. 

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“I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Brandbacker and Leather Nova and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own”
— Enzie

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