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Honest Guide to Patent Leather Care

Updated: Feb 22, 2022

Patent leather is a common type of leather found on leather goods designed for more formal occasions, such as shoes, handbags and belts. It's known for its shiny, polished, almost rubber-like feel and appearance. This is due to its varnish and coating that gives it some water-resistant protection and ensures the durability of the leather underneath.

The Chanel flap bag has a popular variant made with patent leather.

Because of its unique makeup, wear and tear can become apparent as cracks are more prone to appear on the coated surface. Patent leather requires a special level of care and maintenance that is different from usual types of leather.

Let us guide you through how you can care for your patent leather products properly!


When patent leather is losing its shine due to smudges and dirt, that's a sign to clean it.

It is always advisable to stuff your patent leather bags with newspaper or shoes with a shoe tree before cleaning so that you can smooth out small wrinkles in the leather and ensure a more even clean.

Patent leather products should be cleaned using a damp microfibre cloth with mild soap and water. It's important to use only a tiny bit of water and soap when cleaning. Coloured patent leather must be cleaned with caution as it is possible for the leather to absorb the colour pigments, rendering it uncleanable.

Non-alcohol only!

Non-alcohol baby wipes can also be used as an alternative to damp microfibre cloth with soap and water.

Remember to leave your items to dry at room temperature for 24 hours after cleaning for best results!

Oil and grease-based products should not be used to clean patent leather, as they can penetrate between the coating and leather, causing hard-to-remove blotches that ruin its appearance.

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Care and Conditioning

Leather conditioner is a great way to maintain the look of your bag and ensure it is sufficiently protected after cleaning. We recommend buffing your leather using our leather conditioner.

It is essential that one airs out their patent leather products immediately after use. This is especially important for items that come into contact with sweat/body oils, as this prevents odour buildup.


Storing patent leather properly is extremely important in order to maintain its shape, prevent its coating from wearing out, and colour transfer to other leather items. Placing your item in a large, breathable dust bag of a neutral colour helps to prevent the leather from warping, and minimises any possible colour transfer from the item to the bag.

Extreme example of leather warping & losing shape!

It is also important that the environment surrounding the bag is cool, dry and devoid of moisture to prevent mould growth and breaking down of the coating. A dehumidifier may be required in some cases.

If you need your leather bag, shoes, or items repaired, why not get it restored with Honest Crafters? Click here to get started! If you enjoyed reading this and want more, you can also like us on Facebook, follow us on Instagram, and even check us out on TikTok!

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