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Cleaning water stains on leather

Sunday, 27 September 2015 10:32:09 Europe/London

Water marks on porous aniline leather are very difficult to remove. Any normal water based leather cleaner will only make the leather even wetter and make the stain worse.

With the Colourlock Leather Fixative it is possible to effectively remove water marks from aniline, suede and nubuck leather garments. The advantage of cleaning leather clothing is that, in most cases, the garment can be completely washed with the Colourlock Leather and Fur Wash Concentrate. This helps achieving an even result throughout the whole item, rather than focusing on a specific area.

The Colourlock Leather Fixative can be also used for sensitive aniline furniture, aniline bags and aniline shoes. For suede and nubuck shoes, we have the Colourlock Shoe Cleaner. Of course, always keeping in mind that each piece of leather can react differently to the same treatment. We cannot guarantee the full removal of water marks, however, we have achieved excellent results with this method as shown on the photographs below). 

When it comes to Suede and Nubuck leather furniture, water marks are hard to remove, in fact, these can rarely be fully cleaned. However, after the treatment, significant improvements can be achieved. 

Aniline leather chair water mark

Following the instructions for applying the Colourlock Leather Fixative is very important. You should always test the product first in a hidden area. Wearing gloves, apply the fixative with a soft cloth from seam to seam ensuring an even application - make sure it is all fully wet. Please do not rub too hard as this might damage the leather. Let dry or use the cold setting on your hairdryer to speed up the process. This process can be repeated until the mark is no longer visible.

Once the leather has properly dried, it is important to protect it. We recommend using the Colourlock Aniline Cream to prevent new stains on new leather items. For older leather with a visible patina, the Colourlock Elephant Leather Preserver will be best. 

For suede or nubuck furniture, once the area has fully dried, sand the surface with a Colourlock Leather Sanding Pad and apply Colourlock Aniline Protector and Colourlock Waterproofing to protect it from further damage.

Recently a customer brought us a Mulberry Piccadilly handbag in Oak Natural Leather with a water stain covering a big part of the bottom of the bag. She had put a bottle of water inside the bag but the cap wasn’t tightly closed and the water leaked inside the bag creating a very obvious mark on the outside. Mulberry doesn’t line these type of bags to show the leather inside and outside. The Mulberry Piccadilly bag is also left untreated by Mulberry which makes it more susceptive to staining and damages than treated leather bags.

The common recommendation for these type of damages would be to recolour the damaged area or even to recolour the entire bag. However, applying colours or Leather dye should always be used as a last resort when working on aniline leather as the feel and the grip of the leather is lost when colour is applied to it. Hence, our first and preferred method is to treat water marks on aniline leathers with Colourlock Leather Fixative.

Here is how the bag looked before the treatment when we took it to our workshop.

Mulberry Piccadilly handbag before

Step 1 : Fill a bucket with water and the Colourlock Leather Fixative in a ratio 1:10

Step 2 : Dip the entire bag into the solution and wipe stained areas lightly using Colourlock Leather Cleaning Brush at regular intervals. Leave it in the solution for roughly 1 hour 30 minutes. 

Step 3 : Fill another bucket with Colourlock Leather & Fur Wash Concentrate and dilute with water in a ratio 1:8. The concentrate is a liquid detergent that cleans and helps remove dirt. It also contains oils that make sure the leather does not become hard. Leave it in the solution for a couple of hours and keep scrubbing lightly at regular intervals. 

Step 4 : After a couple of hours, remove the bag from the solution and keep it in a cool dry place away from sunlight and heat to let it dry. Stuff the bag with an old towel to ensure it doesn't lose its shape and absorbs excess water. During the drying process, spray Colourlock Aniline Protector at regular intervals to achieve a better result. This ensures the bag does not get dry and hard during the drying process and the leather remains soft and supple. 

This is the result after the cleaning process. One very happy customer with a clean bag!

Mulberry Piccadilly bag after 

Here is a demonstration video of the leather handbag cleaning process.

Posted in Info Articles By Ram Iyer

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DIY cleaning and care of leather handbags

Thursday, 17 September 2015 14:24:19 Europe/London

Leather handbags can be very expensive but cleaning, restoring and maintaining them doesn’t have to cost the earth.

The Colourlock range of leather care products offers and affordable DIY solution to looking care and repair of leather bags.


Vintage leather handbags from various animal species. Believe it or not they were once highly fashionable! 

Coral Shark Leather Handbags

Japanese embossed, painted and decorated handbag


Cobra Leather handbag

Toad Leather handbag (Circa 1930)

Python leather handbag

Coco Chanel quote

A choice of three kits is available for regular cleaning and maintenance:

  • Handbag Clean & Care Kit which contains a mild leather cleaner and leather restorer, is recommended for gloss finishes
  • The Colourlock Clean & Care Kitwith a mild leather cleaner and a leather protector is suitable for matt finishes
  • The Leather Shield Kitwhich includes a mild leather cleaner and leather shield, will protect matt leathers against dye transfers

Common Damages & Stains 

Water stains are the most common problems experienced by bag owners. It’s easy to leave a bottle of water, or any other drink, inside the bag with the cap loose. If the bag is aniline leather, suede or nubuck, liquid will stain on contact. For these sensitive leathers we always recommend treatment with the Colourlock Leather FixativeIn the case of some pigmented leathers, if the liquid is in contact with the bag for a prolonged period, re-colouring with Colourlock Leather Fresh will be required as the liquid would have had enough time to sink in and cause a permanent stain.  

Another common issue is marks from a ball point pen. These are not easy to clean and it will depend on the type of leather and how long ago the mark was caused. If the ink mark is fresh enough for removal, the Colourlock Dye and Ink Remover Pen is easy to apply.  

Colour damage caused by friction (denim is the usual culprit), UV damage over time and regular wear can be refreshed and brought back to life with our leather colour restorer Colourlock Leather Fresh - a special leather dye we can mix to exactly match the colour of your bag!



Posted in Info Articles By Ram Iyer

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