Cleaning Vachetta Leather 101

chinchin7

i need them all
Dec 15, 2015
272
204
Hello. Hopefully I don't get heat for this :cool: but I thought it would be helpful to create a new thread where people can posts their experiences with cleaning vachetta leather. I’ve read some of the other ones, and some threads seem to be closed etc, so I just don’t know where to post and thought it best to start a fresh one?

If you are thinking about ways to clean your bag, or renew an old piece, this may benefit you.

Disclaimer: I am not a professional leather expert and am only sharing my own personal experience with vachetta leather.

I wanted to share my experience with recently cleaning the handle of one of my luggage pieces. Yes Yes Yes, I know. You are not supposed to do anything to vachetta but let it be. Well that sounds great, but for all us monogram/vachetta lovers we know the reality of dealing with this easily stainable leather, especially if the stain is bad and becomes too noticeable for liking.

Anyhow, somehow I ended up spilling toothpaste on the handle of my luggage and didn't notice until a few days after. By then the stain had already set in deep. I cleaned it off with a dry cloth, but was left with a dark noticeable stain. I waited a few weeks to see how it would evolve. What to do? To make a long story short:

1. Fragrance/Color free water soluble foaming cleanser/shampoo you would use for your skin or hair
2. Toothbrush
3. Wet cloth
4. Dry Cloth

I scrubbed this gently over the course of a few days. Each time I cleaned, tried to get all the cleanser off with a wet cloth (go over it several times rinsing the cloth out) and let dry, the stain got lighter. After about the 3rd time, I decided I had cleaned it well enough and then let it dry.

Now, don't be scared after you do the cleaning. The leather will absolutely feel and look dry from the cleanser and removing all the oils etc. It will also look lighter. Because this was on the handle I decided to skip conditioning it with leather lotion (cadillac boot and shoe brand is what I recommend and have used on other pieces) and instead just ran my hands over it for the next few days. This absolutely helped restore the luster of the patina. After a few weeks the area I cleaned settled down to match the rest of the handle again.
Here is a before and after pic of the stain. Sorry the pic is so blurry. The after pic was right after - so the leather may still look a bit light.

I have used this method to clean other items, and have never had a problem. It works on newer stains, or older ones. After cleaning I usually restore the luster with cadillac leather lotion (a very light coating). I can only recommend this on bags with a medium to dark patina. If you have a new or relatively new bag with a bad stain, I would suggest taking it to a professional.

I do not recommend saddle soap or any other leather cleaner for vachetta leather. Do not use baby wipes, ever. Be careful to also avoid going over the stitched areas. Solution like a cleanser can contribute to weakening the thread. Do not use magic eraser on vachetta leather. Remember, everything gets absorbed in this leather, just because you don't see immediate damage doesn't mean it isn't going to show up later. The same can be said about using the foaming cleanser/shampoo, but I find they are much milder and at least you know what is in the product since the ingredients list is disclosed. I also do not recommend pretreating new vachetta, or conditioning new or relatively new vachetta. If you are dealing with an older item I think it's ok to condition it if the leather is super dry. The beauty of vachetta is to watch it evolve naturally. If you interrupt this, you destroy the process.

If you have any questions feel free to ask. Hope this helps.
 

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Last edited:
Apr 26, 2006
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Only just found this!! Thanks for stating this thread!! I've been thinking of buying a pre-loved bag, in great condition except for the vachetta... so these tips are a lifesaver!!
Do you think soap-free baby shampoo would be a good option?
 

chinchin7

i need them all
Dec 15, 2015
272
204
Only just found this!! Thanks for stating this thread!! I've been thinking of buying a pre-loved bag, in great condition except for the vachetta... so these tips are a lifesaver!!
Do you think soap-free baby shampoo would be a good option?
Hi, I am glad you found it helpful. I think a lot of people shy away from touching vachetta, mostly bc of all the bad experiences circulating. I would recommend something that is fragrance and color free. If you use something with fragrance, keep in mind the leather will smell like it for a while. Baby shampoo is a good option.

Aquaphor Baby gentle wash and shampoo is basic gentle detergent that will work. The less ingredients the better. Just make sure you're not starting out with dry cracked leather - you will have to be really careful if in this condition.

Post some pics - would love to see the before and after!
 

Aprilshack

LoVe LV
O.G.
Aug 24, 2010
2,969
665
Merseyside
Just got my 2005 speedy 25 out of storage and forgot how black the handles are. Those of you in the uk, what do you use to clean the handles etc that is available to buy here?
 

Carla Almond

New Member
Sep 19, 2018
2
0
Just got my 2005 speedy 25 out of storage and forgot how black the handles are. Those of you in the uk, what do you use to clean the handles etc that is available to buy here?
Did you ever find out which soap to use in the uk? All the brands everyone recommends is made in America.
 

chinchin7

i need them all
Dec 15, 2015
272
204
Did you ever find out which soap to use in the uk? All the brands everyone recommends is made in America.
you can use any gentle fragrance/color free liquid detergent. I think baby shampoo would be the safest option (something with few ingredients).
 
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