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How to Take Care of Your Hermès Bag

LÀB REPORT
Based on our artisans’ expertise to refurbish and restore the French couture house’s leather creations, we have composed key rules to prolong your Hermès bag’s life. Text by Leonie Görke

HERMÈS bags are true investment pieces that – adequately cared for – last longer than a lifetime. Kept in pristine condition, you can also maintain or even elevate its value, given you ever want to RESELL YOUR HERMÈS BAG. Whether you opt for an iconic Birkin or dainty sized Constance, with the following tips in mind, you can properly clean, store and protect your bag.

At-Home Cleaning Routine

You can carefully clean the interior and exterior of your bag from home. Before executing any actions, we highly recommend you familiarize yourself with the origin of your Hermès bag’s leather – what does it need, is it particularly delicate? Read our guide on Hermès leathers for a detailed overview.

Kelly 28 Vintage Gulliver Bleu Marine Pre-Loved Luxury Handbag

Hermès uses the most exquisite leathers only. Artisans carefully inspect it for flaws and marks before crafting one of the house’s iconic handbags. Contact us if you are unsure about care or cleaning measures.

CLASSIC LEATHERS: treat with caution

The safest way to pamper classic Hermès leathers – like grained Togo, embossed Epsom or soft Swift – is using a dry microfiber cloth to gently wipe the bag’s outside and inside. For more persistent dirt, you can try a commercial yet mild leather cleanser at your own risk. At SACLÀB, we use and trust JASON MARKK PREMIUM SHOE CLEANER. Always try it on an inconspicuous corner first and see if the leather reacts to the product.

DOs: 

  • Use a dry LINT-FREE MICROFIBER CLOTH to remove minor dirt.
  • For the occasional round-up cleaning, dip a soft cloth in water mixed with a splash of Jason Markk Premium Shoe Cleaner. Thoroughly wring it out and clean your bag’s surface in circular movements. Remove residuals from the leather with a damp cloth after.
  • Use a microfiber cloth to remove any loose dirt or dust from the hardware and a SOFT BRUSH for hard-to-reach cracks.
  • Always let your Hermès bag dry naturally, and keep it away from direct influences of sunlight or heat (radiators, blow dryers and such).

DON’Ts: 

  • Avoid oily, alcohol- or perfume-based products.
  • Avoid scratching, especially on very smooth leathers like Box or Swift.

Grained Hermès leathers are rather low in maintenance. (1) Embossed Epsom leather in white (2) Fine-grained Swift leather in Sauge (3) Structured Togo leather in Gold

VEAU DOBLIS SUEDE: handle with utmost care 

Veau Doblis is a very sought-after and rare suede leather used by Hermès artisans. The sensitive surface demands extra care as colour transfer and external influences can damage it irreversibly. To keep it in shape longterm, Veau Doblis requires expert care.

DOs: 

  • Use a suede brush for occasional grooming, to remove dirt and to restore the natural suede texture. 
  • Use a microfiber cloth to remove any loose dirt or dust from the hardware and a SOFT BRUSH for hard-to-reach cracks.
  • Hand it in for a professional bag spa treatment every 1-2 years.

DON’Ts: 

  • Avoid oily, alcohol- or perfume-based products.
  • Avoid rubbing against dark, raw or embellished clothing. 
  • Keep away from water.

Hermès suede has a velvety appearance and should be handled with care. (1) Veau Doblis in Taupe (2) Veau Doblis in Noisette on a Vintage Kelly from 1975 (3) Veau Doblis in Orange H

EXOTIC SKINS: extremely delicate

You should always seek expert help when it comes to caring for your exotic Hermès bag. Exotic skins can dry out over time without proper nourishment, especially Lizard scales tend to crack. To find out more about Hermès’ precious skins, read our Exotics Guide

DOs: 

  • Use a dry LINT-FREE MICROFIBER CLOTH for occasional grooming, always in the natural direction of the scales (especially for Lizard). 
  • Use a microfiber cloth to remove any loose dirt or dust from the hardware and a SOFT BRUSH for hard-to-reach cracks.
  • Hand your bag in for a bag spa treatment every 1-2 years. 

DON’Ts: 

  • Avoid oily, alcohol- or perfume-based products.
  • Avoid rubbing against dark, raw or embellished clothing. 
  • Keep away from water.

Exotic skins are the most valuable and precious among Hermès’ leathers. (1) Porosus Crocodile in black (2) Lizard in Vanille (3) Ostrich in Gold (3) Alligator in St Cyr

Optimum Storage

We recommend not to wear your Hermès bag every single day. As an organic material, leather needs time to rest, to breathe and to recover from environmental conditions. Ideally, you should also empty your bag every time after using it and securely store it following the tips below.

  1. Gently stuff your Hermès bag with ACID-FREE TISSUE PAPER, a purse pillow or bubble wrap to maintain its shape and keep it in its dust bag.
  2. Make sure the top handles are not collapsed or squished.
  3. For long-term storage, you can wrap the hardware in lint-free cloth or the respective dust bags. Never use tape on Hermès hardware as glue can damage gold plating.
  4. If applicable, detach your bag’s shoulder strap and place it inside the bag or in an extra dust bag.
  5. If you stow away your bag inside the box, keep the lid open to be certain the leather is still exposed to air circulation. Alternatively, leave your handbag in an upright position (e.g., on an open shelf with suffice room) and ensure the room is ventilated, at room temperature and preferably dark.
Hermès Kelly 32 Evercolor Lime

Support the shape of your Hermès bag and store it gently stuffed.

Everyday Protection for your Hermès Bag

Taking time to pamper your Hermès bag can be challenging in between a busy schedule. Following these simple guidelines, you can prevent damaging and stains in the first place.

  • Sharp objects like keys, nail files, pens or spillable make-up items should be kept in pouches to avoid scratches or marks on the leather inside your bag.
  • Don’t place your bag on the floor to make sure it is not exposed to dirt, glass shards, or even spilt liquids – not to mention people stumbling over it. Instead, a portable handbag hanger may be useful to attach your bag to a table or chair.
  • Don’t overstuff your Hermès bag and avoid packing overly heavy or bulky objects. Doing so, you protect the handles from being strained and your bag will stay in proper shape.
  • Always cover your bag from rain as severe water stains require professional cleaning and restoration. Once your Hermès bag does get caught in the rain, carefully wipe the water off using a lint-free cloth.
Hermès Birkin 35 Box Black / Rouge H

The inside of your Hermès bag is just as much in need of protection as its outside.

The Bag Spa

“If after all, you are doubtful about the treatment of your bag, stains or deeper scratches remain, we recommend to not remove them forcefully but to trust your bag into the hands of a trained artisan or repair service,” Alexandra, Co-Founder of SACLÀB, says. “We have seen bag cleaning attempts, which lead to irreversible outcomes,” she explains. Artisans at our bag spa are specialised in restoring Hermès bags and can not only help you with the removal of stains. They are also experienced in hardware polishing and the refurbishment of worn-out corners. Due to their expertise in handling Hermès leathers, they can even refresh faded colours and properly restore your bag’s delicate exterior. To ensure you enjoy your Hermès bag to the fullest, the first after-purchase bag spa treatment is complimentary at SACLÀB.

Hermès Kelly 15 Box Black

With proper care and regular professional help, Hermès bags can look as good as new – even decades after their production.

Please be aware that the bag care instructions delineated above solely reflect our own experience and expertise with Hermès handbags. Naturally, incorrect at-home cleaning or the wrong use of commercial products bear a risk for your bag’s leather. We assume no liability for any damage caused by incorrectly executed cleaning or care attempts.

Contact our consultants HERE if you need help with the maintenance of your Hermès handbag or wish to book a refurbishment treatment at our SACLÀB spa.


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