June from Fairfield, CT
Note: for any fabric purse, tote, shoes or other accessories - Spray them with Scotchgard or other fabric spot repellent before wearing to avoid stains! If if you get soil on it, it will be much easier to blot it off, if the fabric has been treated. (Just watch out to AVOID spraying the leather trim!) (10/29/2007)
I attest to the Saddle Soap to clean Dooneys but to keep my new Dooney looking great long term I use the Stain repellent and Cleaner set from Journey's shoe store. I use it on the WHOLE purse...even the vachetta leather, canvas and inside linings. It doesn"t stain or leave an odor. It makes future cleaning a breeze too. It was an experiment at first but now I swear by it. (12/05/2007)
Go to your nearest Janitorial store. They have tons of products to clean anything off of anything. The best store I have been to is Gases Plus, they have people who know what they are selling and what will work on what. Take the bag in with you when you go. They have an awesome product that will take out ink and permanent marker. Good luck girls, don't give up! (01/17/2008)
By Dooney lover
I used to work as a sales clerk in a shop that sold handbags and repaired handbags and shoes. Unless you don't mind the color changing, you do NOT want to use any product for leather cleaning or water repelling on Vachetta leather (meaning untanned, minimally processed leather). The reality is that Vachetta, like nubuck and suede, is very delicate and there is little you can do once it is soiled.
Leather cleaning and conditioning products are made with the assumption that you are applying it to tanned leather (meaning leather that has has been dyed and has some form of wax or glossy finish). Water repellents and conditioners will darken the light Vachetta as will most cleaners. For this reason, Lanolin is not suitable for Vachetta.
The thing that most people worry about are water stains, but in reality greasy spots from hand lotion or other such source may cause more of a problem by attracting dirt (resulting in a streaky or blotchy looking patina). By contrast, pure rainwater is distilled (free of minerals). Consequently, pure rainwater will usually dry without leaving any mark (providing you leave it be). The exception is water that is dirtied by dripping off a roof or the top of a car and down on to your bag. Runoff carries dirt and WILL stain. For this reason, owners of Dooney & Bourke IT bags and Louis Vuitton handbags should think twice before carrying their precious handbags on a day that rain may be in the forecast. Keep in mind, also, that tap water may also leave a mark due to the high mineral content. Salt water will cause similar damage by leaving salt deposits on the leather. So if you clean the coated fabric portions of a Dooney & Bourke or Louis Vuitton handbag using the Ivory soap method, one tip I would add is to use distilled water. In this way, if it splashes over on the Vachetta, it is less likely to leave mineral deposits behind.
All of what I've written so far applies to the very specific type of cowhide leather used in Louis Vuitton monogram canvas bags and the Dooney & Bourke IT bag line (and select Liz Claiborne, Coach and Italian handbags). Unless you are dealing with suede, nubuck or minimally treated sand color leather, using products to clean, condition or repel water is, however, perfectly safe for all weather leather, glove leather and pebble leather (or any other form of treated leather with a glossy, waxy or satin finish). The one exception is scuff marks. Conditioning products may darken down the spots that are rubbed raw and make them appear even more obvious.
The key to all leather care is prevention. I have heard people swear by Apple and other products, but there is one rule of thumb to keep in mind before experimenting with a costly handbag: If the manufacturer doesn't recommend a specific method, cleaning or conditioning product, you are risking your bag by using it. If the condition of your high-end handbag really bothers you, the best approach is to send it back to the manufacturer and let them clean and/or refurbish it.
For more info. on leather care and characteristics, visit:
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