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How to Take Care of Your Chanel Bag

How to Take Care of Your Chanel Bag

The trailblazing creations of Chanel’s masterminds Gabrielle (Coco) Chanel, Karl Lagerfeld, and Virginie Viard are timeless works of art - and safe bet investment pieces. Learn how to make the bag you love last, as SACLÀB co-founder Oliver Stueck shares his Chanel bag care tips.
Text by Leonie Görke

With climbing retail prices across the globe (and Chanel’s most recent price hike in March 2022), keeping your Chanel bag in impeccable condition is a benefit on the secondary market, given that you ever wish to resell. From homespun remedies to expert help, this is how to clean, preserve, and properly store your Chanel handbag.

Classic Leather Care: Chanel 101

Sweeping your Chanel bag with a soft and dry microfiber cloth is an effective, easy and safe way to care for it. More importantly, we do not recommend using water to wipe your bag’s leather. Depending on the water hardness in your region, you might end up with persistent water lines and drying stains.

Instead, we advise you to use a leather conditioner if your Chanel bag’s leather needs at-home pampering. “At SACLÀB, we use and trust Collonil 1909 Neutral Leather Cream for Chanel bags – it is uncoloured and specifically made for high-quality leathers,” Oliver recommends.

This is how it works:

  1. Carefully rub the conditioner on your Chanel bag’s leather with a microfiber cloth. 
  2. Let your Chanel bag sit for half an hour as the leather absorbs it. 
  3. Gently remove product residue with a clean and dry microfiber cloth. 

Besides pampering the leather, you can use a dry microfiber cloth to carefully polish-up Chanel hardware.

As every leather, skin, and material demands distinct care measures, we have summed up maintenance tips for each Chanel exterior below.

CLASSIC LEATHERS: treat with caution

“The more grained the texture of your Chanel bag’s leather feels, the sturdier it generally is,” Oliver explains. Ultra-smooth lambskin is the most delicate among Chanel’s classic leathers, whereas soft-pebbled Caviar is quite robust. Another Chanel favourite, calfskin ranks somewhere in between.

DO’S: groom with a dry microfiber cloth; nourish with high-quality leather conditioner once a year; we recommend to hand it in for a bag spa treatment every 1-2 years

DON’TS: keep away from water, acetone, perfume, oils; avoid scratching (especially on lambskin)

Overview Classic Chanel leathers

(1) Chanel Caviar leather (2) Chanel chevre leather (3) Chanel vintage calfskin (4) Chanel deerskin (5) Chanel lambskin


From varnished patent and nubuck suede to quilted calfskin with a metallic finish, Chanel leather bags come in a range of desirable designs and coatings that are higher in maintenance than their classic un-coated counterparts. 

DO’S: use a dry microfiber cloth or gentle suede brush for occasional grooming; we recommend to hand it in for a bag spa treatment every 1-2 years

DON’TS: keep away from any water, acetone, perfume, oils; avoid rubbing against raw and dark textiles; metallic coating can fade with extensive cleaning

Overview Delicate Chanel leathers

(1) Chanel lambskin with metallic coating (2) Chanel calfskin with metallic coating (3) Chanel quilted suede (4) Chanel patent leather


FINE FABRICS: handle with utmost care

Silk brocade, tweed, denim, velvet, canvas – the list of fabrics and textiles Chanel bags are crafted from offers beautifully unexpected variation. These treasures demand extra care and expert assistance.

DO’S: use a gentle textile roller or brush for occasional grooming; we recommend to hand it in for professional dry cleaning at a bag spa

DON’TS: keep away from any water, acetone, perfume, oils; avoid rubbing against raw and dark materials

Overview Chanel Textiles

(1) Chanel denim (2) Chanel tweed (3) Chanel velvet (4) Chanel silk brocade

EXCEPTIONAL MATERIALS: extremely delicate

Chanel’s special editions and runway handbags – from hand woven wicker, fluffy shearling and shiny plexiglass to artistic embroidery – pinnacle every collector’s selection and require professional care. 

DO’S: dry microfiber cloth for occasional grooming; manually remove or carefully brush-off any grime from shearling and wicker; a professional polish can eradicate scratches from plexiglass; we recommend to hand it in for a bag spa treatment every 1-2 years 

DON’TS: keep away from any water, acetone, perfume, oils; avoid friction against delicate materials; do not use any cleaning detergents or else the colour or embellishment will come off

Overview Exceptional Chanel leathers

(1) Chanel metal & plexiglass (2) Chanel lazer-cut (3) Chanel embellished pearls (4) Chanel sequins (5) Chanel wicker (6) Chanel shearling

EXOTICS: extremely delicate

As Chanel discontinued their production of exotic skin handbags in late 2018, these items are highly sought-after on the resale market and should be cared for accordingly. “Among Chanel’s exotic skins, python is probably the most sensitive, whereas lizard skin tends to dry out and break without proper care. In comparison, stingray – or galuchat – is more resilient,” Oliver explains. 

DO’S: use a dry microfiber cloth for occasional grooming in line with the scales; we recommend to hand it in for a bag spa treatment (at the latest when the scales start to curl up, crack, or lose shape)

DON’TS: keep away from any water, acetone, perfume, oils; do not rub it against dark and raw materials; do not brush against the natural direction of scales

Overview Chanel Exotic leathers

(1) Chanel vintage lizard skin (2) Chanel python skin (3) Chanel glossy crocodile skin (4) Chanel stingray skin

Prevention is Key

For maintaining your Chanel bag’s condition, prevention is better than cure. Follow these simple everyday guidelines to make sure your bag doesn’t get blemished in the first place.

  • Keep spillable and sharp objects – nail files, keys, pens – in an extra pouch to protect your Chanel bag’s interior. 
  • Avoid colour transfer. Especially if you have a bright coloured bag, raw denim and dark textiles can leave persistent marks. 
  • Pack a foldable, waterproof grocery bag. If you get surprised by rain showers, use it as an emergency rain cover for your Chanel bag.
  • Never place your Chanel bag on the ground, and avoid bumping it against hard surfaces on the go.
  • Don’t overstuff your bag to keep up its silhouette and shape. 

Tips for Proper Storage 

When you stow away your Chanel bag, it is essential to create the right environment for its delicate leather, skin, or material: 

  • Make sure your closet, storage or shelf is shielded from direct sunlight and extreme temperatures. 
  • Carefully stuff your Chanel bag with acid-free tissue paper to support its shape.
  • Avoid imprinting on the leather and store the chain well-padded inside your bag. 
  • Ideally, keep your Chanel bag inside its dust bag and original box or store your Chanel bag upright on a shelf, protected by its dust bag.

A Well-Deserved Bag Spa Break

To reward your Chanel bag with the longevity it deserves, a professional refurbishment can do the trick. “Stains and more severe damage always call for expert help,” Oliver points out. “Discolouring and stains should be exclusively treated by a professional.” A colour refreshment can revive your Chanel bag’s leather and fade out stains and marks. Moreover, ripped leather strings or tarnished hardware are taken care of in a bag spa. Contact our customer care for more advice on Chanel bag care and to book a bag spa appointment for your gem.

On the lookout for your next Chanel investment? Browse our curated selection of pre-owned Chanel bags.


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