How to Care for Your Carry 117 Leather Product

You just purchased your beautiful Carry 117 leather accessory and now you are asking yourself, 

How do I take care of this so it can stay beautiful and last for years to come?

First of all, the quality Ethiopian leather in our products is untreated and if left naturally it will wear  and gain some scuffs and marks over time. I like to think of this as evidence of all the great adventures your bag will take you on. 

The most minimal thing you can do to keep your leather product going is to wipe it down with a damp cloth once a week. Over at the Art of Manliness website they say, “Giving it a wipe down (without soap — its chemicals can ruin the leather over time) once a week to get rid of the dirt and dust (the most nefarious culprits to premature wear and tear) constitutes a minimally sufficient care routine. If you use nothing else, this is the way to go.”

To keep your leather soft and free of cracks and wrinkles, you will need to condition it occasionally. Leather is prone to drying and needs a little TLC to keep it fresh. Kind of like your legs in winter - you know what I mean 😉. The typical recommendation is to condition it with a leather-specific conditioner every 6 months. However, if you live in a particularly dry climate (when local expression is ”It’s a dry heat🤣”), you might consider doing it every 3 months. Some products we have found are Chamberlain’s Leather Milk Formula # 1 or Buffalo Jack Leather Conditioner  or  Bickmore’s Leather conditioner  (this one just came highly recommended from a customer). (We do not profit from these recommendations - We just want to help you out and keep your products looking great!)

Have you had a Carry 117 bag and it is looking a little tired and worn? Maybe you haven’t been caring for it the way you should? We suggest you try  Lexol’s Deep Cleaner  which cleans, conditions and restores. It will add a little shine and bring your bag back to life. (Don’t be alarmed if a little color comes off on your rag. And, as always, test it in an inconspicuous place first). And don’t you wish they made a product like this for humans?? I could use a little shining and restoring my own self!

What about waterproofing? While, in general, this is not necessary, you can use a waterproofing product to protect your bag from the elements (I.e. do you live in Seattle??) - or if you are like me, you have more than the occasional coffee spill! This can be done once a year. Product suggestions are Chamberlain’s Water Protectant #3 or if you are feeling like you want to be more DIY, you can try this method using olive oil and beeswax. 

So, you are in the car and you set your Korah tote down on an iced cupcake and now there is icing all over it! Now what?? (Not gonna lie! This actually happened!) Or your sunscreen squirted out everywhere. You have a couple options once you utter a few choice words and take a few deep breaths...In...Out… Carefully wipe what you can off with a slightly damp cloth, being careful not to smear. Then you can sprinkle it liberally with cornstarch or baking soda and let it sit overnight. Hopefully, this will draw out most of the crud you got on the bag. More details on that here.

Or if that wasn’t a success you can use a leather cleaner such as Chamberlain’s Straight Cleaner or Buffalo Jackson’s Leather Cleaner. *As with any product you use on your leather, it is highly recommended that you test it on a small area before you apply it all over your bag to make sure you are comfortable with the results. The color may change slightly. 

For those rare moments when you are storing your bag, make sure you are not storing it in plastic. This can cause mildew and rot. Store it in something breathable. Stuff it with tissue paper to help bag hold its shape and then put it in a cloth bag. An old pillowcase makes a great storage bag.

So, enjoy your finely crafted leather products from Carry 117. As you care for your product, you are showing respect and honor to the amazing women in Ethiopia who put their talent and craftsmanship into creating each bag by hand for your use and enjoyment. It’s an investment that carries long beyond your purchase.

Ann Kumpf