THESE CHALLENGING TIMES OF SOCIAL DISTANCING + SELF ISOLATION MEAN WE ARE ALL SPENDING MORE TIME AT HOME, TRYING TO COCOON AS BEST WE CAN.
We have an increased sense of vulnerability around buying what we need; this can show up in negative ways - like the horrifying news images of people fighting over the last pack of toilet paper - but also in hugely positive ones, with a renewed focus on taking extra care of what we have.
I’m very lucky to be able to work from home, so on my non-work days I’ve been cleaning up a storm, trying to make my home a less chaotic + more inspiring one. In my wardrobe, I’m using the extra time to care for what I keep + treasure – hand washing knits, mending hems + seams, and for my (admittedly very large) collection of Sans Beast bags, giving them a clean.
We’ve put together some simple information to ensure everyone can care for their prized Sans Beast treasures, and ensure they last. We’ll look at the difference between animal based + vegan leather (which is also known as faux leather or synthetic leather), how to clean the inside + outside of your bag, and how to store your handbags to keep them in great condition.
Animal Leather vs Artificial Leather – what’s the difference?
Sometimes referred to as vegan leather, our bags + wallets are made of Eco PU (polyurethane). The 'eco' part refers to the makeup of the painted coating - unlike some fabrics, such as PVC, it doesn't leach toxic gases + the paint ingredients are all within REACH + Prop65 standards. For us, it’s a central part of our philosophy that no animal products are used in our collections - we don't support the exploitation that exists for the leather industry, nor the environmental degradation that is caused by mass animal raising + leather production. PU is just one 'vegan leather' - there are an increasing number of alternatives on the market, as both environmental + animal welfare concerns become more important to world citizens.
Animal leather, is the combination of an organic surface - a skin - before it's tanned with chemicals (90% of worlds' leather is chrome tanned) to prevent it from rotting. It's then sprayed with various colours + surface treatments. Moisture can still impact leather - anyone who has experienced rising damp in a house + had accessories ruined as a result, knows this. Leather can also dry out over time - again, due to being derived from a skin. Conditioners are used to keep leathers soft, and water repellant sprays are used to keep moisture away - particularly necessary on suede leather - both can prevent damage + increase the life of a leather bag.
Polyurethane (PU) is a highly resilient, flexible and durable material with water resistant qualities, meaning leather cleaners + leather protectors are not needed. The protective layer that PU brings to the fabric surface itself means that a water repellant spray is not necessary (unless it's a sueded surface) - and whilst conditioning is not going to do any damage, it's also not going to make any fundamental difference to your bag.
How to clean 'vegan leather'.
To properly care for your bags, follow these easy tips:
- Regularly clean with a soft cloth and water.
- For embossed or textured surfaces – like our Pebble, Croco or Alligator styles – you can use a dampened toothbrush to gently clean between the grooves.
- For stubborn marks, add some dish detergent to your cloth or sponge. Avoid using an abrasive cloth or harsh cleaning products as they can damage the surface.
- Eucalyptus oil is the final frontier, if the mark refuses to shift - a small amount on a clean cloth + rubbing gently, should yield positive results.
How to clean the inside lining of your bag.
The lining of handbags can be tricky to clean, as you can’t remove it and pop in the washing machine, nor can you dry clean it. So, what to do if you have an ink stain or lipstick smudge on the lining of your favourite bag?
Prevention is always the best option, so:
- Give the inside of your bag a light treatment of waterproofing spray before use.
- Carry your makeup in a pouch to avoid lipstick + foundation stains on the bag lining. (Our Everything Pouch does the trick - and all proceeds go the wonderful Edgars Mission animal sanctuary.)
- Avoid throwing anything damp in your bag that could cause colour transfer to the lining.
If you do get a mark on the lining, dish detergent (for greasy stains like oil-based makeup or lip balm) or baby shampoo (for non oil based makeup marks like powder or blush) are great for spot cleaning. Put a little of the liquid onto a clean cloth or sponge, rub gently, then finish with a clean cloth. You may need to repeat this process if the stain is stubborn.
How to store your bag.
Rotating your accessories is essential to the longevity of your handbags + wallets - be they animal leather or vegan leather. We don’t buy a pair of shoes or a blouse, wear them every single day, then expect them to look brand new, season after season, and the same is true for handbags.
So, what’s the best way to store vegan leather bags when not in use?
- Don’t store your handbag in front of a window, or leave it on the seat of your car as excessive exposure to sun can damage the fabric.
- Don’t stack bags on top of each other – they can get crushed, and zips + hardware can scratch.
- Store your faux leather handbags in the recycled cotton dust bags we supply with every Sans Beast piece - this will keep dust + dirt away from your treasures.
Remember the 6 golden rules for taking care of your Beast.
- Rotate your bags – they will last longer!
- Don’t overfill – this can put pressure on the strap connections + cause your handbag to lose its shape.
- Store properly – in their Sans Beast cover bag.
- Attach your strap correctly – ensure the dogclips of the strap are attached with the pointed end facing away to prevent scratching on the PU leather
- Clean with a damp, clean cloth – never use harsh or abrasive cleaners.
- Treat your bag with respect - hang it up, put it on a chair, perch it on your lap; the floor is not the place for a treasured handbag.
We hope these tips inspire you to go through your wardrobe + give your vegan leather pieces some TLC. Empty them out – who knows what you'll find from some past adventure you now dream about revisiting – wipe them down, spot clean the lining, and be ready to show them off in the outside world again, when the time comes! They will reward you with years of good looks + enjoyment.
Jennifer, Studio Manager XO