Sometimes the bag you want, or the shoes you are convinced you need, are just a little out of your price range. Well no fear a lot of times there are great gently used or vintage options! But sometimes those products need a little TLC and that is where I can help! All the products I use are linked via the pictures of the products. (Also please note this is what has worked for me but everyone has different cleaning techniques, so please use at your own risk. Sorry the lawyer in me had to say that :))
1- If the shoe has a rubber sole then consider cleaning the sole and the rubber sides with a plain clorox wipe. You will be surprised by how much better this makes the shoe look. Just be careful on shoes like converse ( that have color on the white soles) that you do not used the clorox wipe on the colored soles.
2- (canvas/ cloth) Next use a magic eraser on the marks on the shoe that did not come off on the rubber part. Also the magic eraser can be used on different parts of the canvas/ cloth with marks. Make sure that the magic eraser is wet enough and it will crumble so make sure to do it over the sink/ something easy to clean off or throw away. I would be cautious on using this on a pattern that is just painted or embossed on as I would worry it would remove the patten. Personally it works best on cloth or canvas that is just a single color. To make sure it will work on your shoes test it on a non-obvious spot on the shoe.
2- (leather) If there are any visible marks on the leather I recommend using an alcohol- free baby wipe to wipe down the leather to get off any excuse dirty. I then recommend using a polish to buff out any scuffs on the leather. I normally prefer to use a polish that is all in one (aka no cloth needed) that is in the color of the leather of the shoe. I have used numerous different polishes but currently am using the Kiwi Color Shine, which is a polish that not only make the scuff blend in but also protects the leather.
2- (suede) Suede is a very very tricky one to clean and sometimes I must admit it is best left up to the professionals. I have used a suede eraser and brush kit on oil I by accident spilt on my suede Coach loafers. It did take out majority of the stain but I was told by my local shoemaker that I was fortunate because I used the eraser and brush along with cornstarch very soon after the spill.
3- For all shoes after cleaning them I recommend applying some sort of protectant to try to keep them cleaner for longer. For suede I use the Ugg brand protectant spray, for leather goods and other cloth shoes I use Kiwi Protect-All which can be purchased at places like Target.
Louis Vuitton- Canvas/ Venchetta Leather/ Epi Leather
Apple Brand Garde
Apple Brand Leather Cleaner and Conditioner
- Clean off any marks on the canvas with baby wipes. Make sure to rub gently and to rub from many different angles as the texture in the canvas often catches lots of dirt. This is great for removing the white marks that canvas gets from rubbing against things. I would NOT use the baby wipe on the venchetta leather or on epi leather. I know that some people do but after reading many different posts about cleaning LV bags it seems that the baby wipe does more harm than anything.
- Clean off any of the brass hardware with Brasso. Use a q-tip and make sure to avoid getting the Brasso on the venchetta leather as it can stain.
- Clean the leather (epi or venchetta) with the apple brand cleaner. Gently rub in circles. Then repeat the process with the conditioner. Make sure to not over use either of these products as they can turn the venchetta a little darker patina color. (On a more vintage bag I have not has this issue as the venchetta has normally turned a dark patina and it just blends in seamlessly.) I have not had any color change issue but my epi leather piece is Noir (black).
- Once you have let the bag dry- which sometimes can take up to a day- spray the bag with Apple Brand Garde as directed. This will help to protect your bag from future rain and stains- but of course try to avoid both if possible! (Damier Ebene canvas though holds up great in the rain as does epi leather!)
Mansur Gavriel- Vegetable (or untreated leather)
Leathermilk Number 3
*** Please note that this cane make lighter color bags (like the cammello) slightly darker. I personally have not had that happen but I have read that people have had this experience. One thing to take into account is that the leather is going to age and tan anyway so might be smart to protect your purse from the elements even if it darkens its slightly. (Remember vegetable leather does NOT do well in rain and protecting it helps prevent water marks so it may justify the potential slight darken of the bag.)
- First take apart any part of the bag that can be detached. That includes the pouch, the cord that attached the pouch and undo the rivets that hold the strap together.
- Second wipe down every part of the bag with the baby wipe. That includes all the leather and the inside. (This may seem weird to do on the leather since it is untreated but its to remove the excess dirt before you start putting on the conditioner and the protectant.) Make sure to do this with the cord and the pouch too.
- Next apply Leathermilk Number 1. This is the leather conditioner and I recommend starting with a little bit of the product and rubbing in a circular motion. If you are worried about it darkening your bag use it on the bottom and see if you like the result. This leather conditioner rehydrates the leather and can make the bag more supple. It also can help to buff out scratch marks. Make sure to let this dry before moving on to the next step.
- Next apply Leathermilk Number 3. This is a protectant and will help your bag survive if it gets stuck in the rain and help it from marking as this leather is prone to do. Apply in a circular motion as done previously. I also recommend using a different cloth then you did with Leathermilk Number 1 to make sure you are not over-applying one of the products by accident.
- Let bag dry on a white towel or hanging up- whichever you prefer. I normally let my Mansur bags dry for about 24 hours just to make sure both leather products have set in.
Apple Brand Leather Cleaner/ Leather Conditioner
*** Balenciaga’s are notoriously hard to clean due to the cracks in the leather. If your bag is really dirty you might want to consider investing in taking/ sending in your bag to a bag spa.
- Start with a baby wipe to lightly wipe off the bag. I only really use this on areas that look dirty as Balenciaga leather is notoriously hard to clean. I have a lighter Balenciaga and have not had issues with color transfer onto the baby wipe but if you do stop immediately!
- Use the leather cleaner sparingly on the parts that need to be cleaned. I generally only use the apple brand leather cleaner on my handles, corners and bottom of my bag as cleaner can be harsh on the leather. Apply this and make sure to let dry before moving on to the next step.
- Use the leather conditioner on the parts that you cleaned and on the whole bags to make sure that the leather stays soft and supply. Make sure to let the bag dry before using.