Thanks for all the great information, Coffee&Coach!
Just wanted to mention that I've used Lexol cleaner and I like it a lot. I've never used the Lexol conditioner but I am planning to try it when I run low on Apple.
I agree that most leather oils will darken leather but I have successfully used a product called Leather Therapy Restorer & Conditioner (link below) without problems. It says "will not significantly darken leather" on the label - and it hasn't darkend any of my bags so far. I usually apply it after washing while the bag is still damp buy not dry, and it does help to restore the suppleness of the leather. I get it at a local equestrian shop and they charge plenty of it, but I only use a little at a time.
I know a lot of what I do to my leather products would probably put most of the ladies on this forum into shock or cardiac arrest, but it really is a tough material that is used because it can take a beating. I've been in the equestrian world a lot longer than the handbag world and have found that the methods I use to keep my saddles, bridles, boots, and strap goods in shape translates perfectly to most bags.
I love the Leather Therapy line and it's another great product that doesn't darken. Leather CPR is also a fantastic conditioner for leather that is dried to the point of cracking. It really plumps the leather back up to fill any cracks in and help it to regain flexibility. In terms of quality for the price, though, Lexol is my favorite. It comes in all sorts of sizes and won't break the bank either.
If ever are in trouble and you don't have a cobbler nearby, try a tack store. You're bound to come across some good advice from people who have plenty of experience cleaning and maintaining leather goods.
A few years ago my mom came across a leather bomber jacket at a thrift store that was drier than beef jerky. She handed it over and I used Leather CPR on it. It took about two months of weekly treatments, but it's absolutely gorgeous now. It's turned into my brother's favorite jacket and has really been worth the $15 investment for the conditioner (plus the original $10 for the jacket)!
I definitely recommend it in desperate situations.
I am asking for much needed advice. I recently purchase a teal Gigi knowing full well how much help she needs. I think I may have "bit off more than I can chew" but I'm going to give this my best shot. The Gigi is my HG of Coach so I badly want to save her.
Here is the link to several photos showing large water stains and much discolouring and/or dirt.
Well, this has sure been a great learning process. I started off very carefully with a post I had read of just trying water to "blend" the stain. Didn't do a thing. I next tried the same thing but with mild soap. Didn't do a thing. I then tried a leather clearner, not a thing. Now...getting a bit desperate I took more TPF'er advise and called my leather man to see about dying it but he will only dye in black, brown or navy blue. Not what I was looking for. My husband then said there was some leather "stuff" in the shed so he brought it, I tried it (it was liquid saddle soap) and it worked. I am now very comfortable carrying this bag - still some discoloured spot (mainly the 2 pocket flaps are different colours but for some reason....only in the sunlight??? odd!) and some regular scuffs that vachetta leather normally has. I'm quite pleased. Thank you everyone for your help.
I have never uploaded pics here before so I hope this works.....