Conditioning a Leather Camera Bag Against Wear

Taking care of your leather camera bag is essential if you want it to last for years. The bag needs to be conditioned to replace the oils that evaporate out of the leather. If this is not done, the bag will become brittle and crack. Each conditioning treatment moisturizes the leather and prevents future damage. It also creates a barrier on the surface that can help prevent excess soil from building up. The bag will also look better, since using a conditioner will give the bag a renewed gloss and shine.

What You Will Need

  • Leather Camera Bag
  • Leather Cleaning Solution
  • Leather Conditioning Solution
  • 4 Microfiber or Cotton Cloths

Step 1: Cleaning the Leather Camera Bag

Before you condition the leather, it needs to be cleaned. The cleaning process should be done once a month. Most experts suggest not cleaning more often, unless the bag becomes soiled. You will want to do a colorfast test in an area that is small and unnoticeable before cleaning the entire bag. Take one cloth and apply some solution to it. You will only need to use a small amount of the cleaner. Be sure to rub all sections of the bag with the cloth, including the stitch lines, to remove all debris. Using another cloth towel, dry the bag.

Step 2: Conditioning the Leather

Now that the bag is clean, it is time to condition the leather. This also should be done once a month to ensure long-lasting beauty and durability. Slightly dampen a clean cloth with water. This is done so the cloth does not absorb too much of the conditioner. Now apply a small amount of conditioner to the cloth. Rather than doing a heavy application of the conditioner, is is better to do several light ones instead. Use the cloth to rub the conditioner into the leather using circular motions, making sure not to miss any spots. If you need to add more conditioner, wait about 10 minutes and apply a second coat. You will be able to visibly spot any areas that need more conditioner after the bag dries.

Step 3: Remove Excess

After allowing 20 minutes for absorption, use another clean cloth to buff the bag and remove and excess conditioner from the leather. Your bag will be slippery if the excess is not removed. This will leave your bag shiny and protect it from wear, including sun damage. Now your camera bag is ready for use. The best place to store the bag is in a dark area, where it will have protection from the suns rays.

A Few Tips

  • When shopping for a proper conditioner, look for a natural one rather than a synthetic brand. Natural conditioners absorb into the leather, whereas synthetic moisturizers sit on top of the surface.
  • Some of the conditioners can be toxic. Read the warnings and be sure to store your conditioner where a child can not reach it.
  • Depending on the climate where you live, your bag might need to be conditioned more often.
  • In places that have high humidity you can condition every 45 days instead of the usual 30 days.
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