Care for your Ruitertassen bag

Looking after your Ruitertassen leather satchel will take very little time and can be very rewarding in the long run. Below you will find useful information on how to care for your Ruitertassen Satchel.

Discover what a basic waxing can do to your leather bag.

Looking after the "Vintage" Leather.

The vintage coloured bag is made of 'pull-up' leather. It has a distressed look because of the natural oils which are impregnated into the leather. There are no additionnal protective treatments on this leather once it has been tanned and oiled. The natural colour is the result of vegetable extracts used to tan the leather. It is therefore highly reactive to friction and will develop unique patinas, hence the individual character of each bag. The vintage leather does not require any particular care initially as it will be protected by the oils applied to the leather in our tannery. You will notice that if you scratch the leather, marks will easily dissapear by simply rubbing the leather with your finger or a cloth.

If you want to give your bag a cleaner feel after a week of hard work and errands, without using any products, take a polish cloth or glove and rub all the bag in circular movements finishing with light, long swipes. The leather will become more uniform as you re-distribute the oil evenly into the leather.

The leather can start to feel a bit dry after 6 to 12 months of use. You will notice this as the colour of your satchel will lighten and the leather might feel a bit rougher. This is a sign that the moment has come to nourish your leather satchel. The best way to care for Vintage leather is to use a neutral coloured wax for vegetable tanned leather and to apply it evenly onto the bag to avoid colour variations. A good idea is to begin working on a hidden part of your satchel to make sure that you will like the end result.
For leather enthusiasts, it is possible to experiment with various conditionners and special creams that will modify the shade and patina of the leather. But be aware that you can "over nourish" the leather as it is already abundantly impregnated with oils. A little wax will be plenty and only necessay once or twice a year.

In case of rain, the vintage leather can handle rain as oil is a natural water repellent. However, as the leather has no waterproofing treatment, the water will penetrate before drying out. So ideally, the exposure to water should be minimal. When it occurs, once out of the rain, try to wipe the excess water from your satchel then let it dry off.

You want a darker colour for your vintage bag? Use your bag for a few months and let the oils settle in the leather. Ideally, you should wait for the leather to lighten a bit and dry a little. Apply some neutral wax evenly all over your bag. You will get a similar result as the above interactive picture. It is best to wait until your leather satchel needs to be nourished as you can over nourish and damage the leather of your satchel if it has recently been oiled in our workshop. Don't be deceived by the fact that the wax is neutral in colour, neutral wax will darken the leather of your satchel.

Care for the Tan, Red & Black leather bags.

Our heritage leather bags, the natural tan, black & red leathers are not oiled but instead are protected by a thin film that prevents dirt and water penetration. As a result, these bags have a cleaner look compared to our vintage leather.

In case of rain, water will not penetrate the leather. Once your satchel is out of the rain, remove the excess water from its surface and leave it to dry.

What if the leather begins to dry out? The protective coating may wear out. With frictions, light exposure, heat and humidity a patina effect will eventually occur. If you want your satchel to remain uniform and protected, you will need to nourish the leather with neutral coloured wax. Make sure that the wax is applied evenly all over the bag to ensure a uniform colour.
The wax will not penetrate as much in areas less worn, because of the protective coating being still present in those areas. The colour of your bag should not be drastically changed by the waxing process. However, we always recommend testing the waxing on a hidden zone of your satchel before you begin.

Getting your Tan satchel to age beautifully
Getting your Tan satchel to age beautifully

These bags won't develop as much of a patina initially and will remain stable for a few years thanks to their protective film. This said, a patina will eventually settle in after years of work, use, light exposure etc.

As the original protective coating wears off, you may apply a clear conditionner to nourish the leather of your satchel. Lovely patinas will develop, especially on the Tan leather (knowned for its dark golden honey patina).
Lovely, but subtle, patinas will also develop on the Italian Red leather whilst our Classic Black leather will pretty much remain the same.

Note that these satchel briefcases in Tan, Red & Black are sensitive to deep scratches that may be caused by nails or any external sharp object. However, scratches can easily be avoided. Smaller, less obvious scratches will occur around the buckles of the bag and below the top handle and will often be caused by long or sharp nails.

To avoid scratches around the locks: use your thumbs when you face the bag and want to open it, not your finger tips. When you close your bag, try to manipulate the buckles that cover the locks rather than the locks directly to keep your nails away from the leather.

This comes very naturally to some people who will do it that way without thinking. But if it is not your case, it might be worth spending 5 minutes to consider manipulating your bag this way.

If your bag is already deeply scratched, know that these marks will darken and fade with time and the waxing you might do to nourish the leather. What may seem like unaesthetic scratch at first will become part of your satchel and give it character, particularly as it ages and blends in the discolorations, waxes treatments, patina and friction spots.

Getting your Tan satchel to age beautifully

How to use the Ruitertassen kit.

First, use the brush to "clean" the bag from its dust, impurities, dry dirt etc.
Then, apply some wax on the soft cloth. The wax represents the most basic care for your bag and is suitable for all the Ruitertassen Heritage satchels. It will nourish and protect the leather. The colour is neutral but it will darken the vintage leather whilst only having a subtle impact on the Tan, Red and Black leather.

Rub the leather with the cloth in circular motion and make sure all the waxe penetrates well. A residue of wax could eventually leave an undesired spot on the leather.
You should apply the wax evenly all over your satchel so that the colour can remain mostly uniform.

When you're done, let your bag dry in a safe environment for an hour at least.
This simple action will most likely be enough to keep your bag looking its best for years.

Few tips, reminders and key points.

If your vintage leather bag gets stained by water or rain, the leather fibers got impregnated with water and the colour darkened. Remove and dry the excess of water with a towel, then use a hairdryer on the stain to help the moisture evaporate. If a dark stain remains, you can wax the rest of the bag (not the stained area) to make it look uniform again. The whole bag will look darker though.

If a zipper gets stiff, rub it with candle wax.

When you're about to use a conditionner, wax or cream on your bag, in doubt, test it on a hidden area of your bag and let dry to make sure it doesn't have an esthetic result that you dislike.

The leather needs to be nourished when it feels dry and rougher. The vintage leather will lighten. This can happen after 6 months to 1 year.

You don't need to treat and protect the bag when new. Your satchel has just been oiled or finished with a thin coating depending on the colour. It is ready for dust, rain etc. Leather is not "perfect". It will stain, get scratched...and eventually might look roughed up and unique. But regarding treatments, there is nothing to do on a new bag.

The vintage leather might stain your clothes. You can rub the bag with a clear cloth to check if your bag is susceptible to stain your clothes or not (the light coloured ones). In any case, this phenomenom doesn't last. A vintage leather will only cause stains on light clothing if the oils have not settled yet, it is a matter of days.

To preserve the threads and prevent tear. Don't drag the bag on the floor as the thread can be hooked onto a nail or sharp wooden edge for example. That is how a pocket can start tearing for instance.

Don't be disturbed by the shoulder strap fixation system. Sometimes, the strap can rub and lift the sides of the front flap. The flap won't tear away because of that. It can eventually wrinkle the leather, so will other parts of the bag. Discoloration, scratches, wrinkles, it's all part of a Ruitertassen leather bag's destiny. Live with it or buy another brand of bag.

You can rub most scratches away on the vintage leather. This leather is highly sensitive to friction and marks will appear easily on it, it is the result of the oils in the leather. You can buff this leather with a soft cloth and give it a uniform look if needed.