BRAND STORIES

BRAND STORIES

How to Clean Louis Vuitton Vachetta Leather

Want to get rid of water marks, dirt stains, and dark patina to make your Louis Vuitton look as good as new again. Our DIY guide takes you through the Vachetta leather cleaning process step-by-step. Follow it to give your bag a quick, affordable refresh.

What Is Vachetta Leather? 

Have you found the secondhand Louis Vuitton Noé of your dreams, but noticed water marks and dirt stains all along its bottom? 

Have the handles of your go-to, everyday Louis Vuitton Speedy darkened to a deep brown over time? 

Whether its Vachetta leather needs a quick clean or a total refresh, follow our detailed process and your Louis Vuitton bag will look (almost) as good as new. 

A hallmark of the brand, Louis Vuitton complements its Monogram and Damier Azur canvases with Vachetta handles, straps, trim, bottoms, and detailing. Vachetta is a cowhide leather, which is left in its natural state. Completely untreated, it is not tanned, dyed, or preserved like most other leathers. It is, therefore, also left unprotected. Though this makes Vachetta especially susceptible to skin oils, sunlight, dirt, and water, it also allows it to age naturally. In a process known as patina, Vachetta leather darkens from a very soft, creamy beige to a deep caramel or brown over time. The patina tells the story of a Louis Vuitton bag, giving it a unique look and adding aesthetic value. But, to the dismay of many, it is often riddled by water marks and dirt stains or develops unevenly. Vachetta leather may be sensitive, but it can fortunately still be cleaned. 

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Photo by Christian Vierig/Getty Images

How Can I Clean It? 

Before you begin, take a closer look at your bag’s Vachetta leather. If it has a matte finish, it has recently been cleaned. If you clean it again, you risk drying out and cracking it. A much more costly and inopportune fix, as you will have to completely replace it at Louis Vuitton or a leather repair store, you definitely want to avoid this. Continue carrying the bag until its Vachetta is shiny again. The sheen indicates that the Vachetta has either fully recovered from its last treatment or has never been cleaned. At this point, it is safe to clean the Vachetta leather. To start, decide which of the two methods is best for your bag. And, remember, if you are feeling nervous, try a test patch first. 

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Photo by Christian Vierig/Getty Images

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Photo by Christian Vierig/Getty Images

Baby Wipes 

If the Vachetta leather on your Louis Vuitton bag does not have a strong patina but shows water marks and dirt stains, time is often the best solution. As the patina darkens, many of the marks and stains will blend in and completely disappear. However, if they are severe and you do not want to wait, you can remove them right away with baby wipes. Before you begin, make sure you have wipes that are free of oil, alcohol, and fragrance. Oil will darken the Vachetta, while alcohol and fragrance will dry it out. Applying gentle pressure, rub in a circular motion. Be careful not to focus on one area for too long, but give the marks and stains a little extra time. To prevent an uneven finish, treat all of the bag’s Vachetta leather parts – even if they are not particularly dirty. When your baby wipe becomes too soiled to work with, switch it out for a fresh one. Use as many wipes as you need. At first, the Vachetta leather will be very wet, and the marks and stains may even appear more prominent. Do not panic! Set the bag aside to dry naturally. Do not place it in the sun or use a hairdryer. It should dry completely within a couple of hours, and you will notice a huge improvement. Depending on the severity of the marks and stains, you may need to repeat this process more than one time.  

Magic Eraser 

As this cleaning method is much more intense, stripping entire layers off the Vachetta leather, it should only be used on bags that have very dark, uneven patina. You can use any brand of magic eraser; though, Mr. Clean is definitely the highest quality. To avoid color transfer, just be sure yours is new and white. Wet it and squeeze out all the excess water. Using quick, small strokes, lightly dab the Vachetta leather. Do not rub or scrub! Again, this cleaning method is strong, so do not focus on one area for too long. Give each around 15 seconds. If a spot begins to feel warm, stop erasing immediately. You risk thinning or even burning a hole into the Vachetta leather if you continue. As they are long-lasting, you should only use one magic eraser, but you will need to rinse it frequently. Remember to squeeze out the excess water every time. After you have treated all the patina, set the bag aside to dry naturally. It will look wet. But, again, this is normal. As with baby wipes, do not place it in the sun or use a hairdryer. Within a couple of hours, the Vachetta will be completely dry and its patina should be shades lighter. 

 

It is important to note that the patina process cannot be totally reversed or stopped. It will never be its original soft, creamy beige again, and it will re-darken after cleaning. The magic eraser simply slows the process down. 

 

If you would like to do the opposite, use leather conditioner. To speed up the patina process on a new Louis Vuitton bag, apply it around every 3 months. Though it takes a little longer, it is far less risky than leaving your bag in the sun, which not only dries out its Vachetta, but also discolors its canvas.

 

When Vachetta is very dark and damaged, some do not want to bother with these methods and opt to dye it instead. While this will generally create an even tone and cover the imperfections, we strongly advise against it. It creates an unauthentic look, and Louis Vuitton will never repair a bag that has been dyed. 

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Photo by Edward Berthelot/Getty Images

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Photo by Edward Berthelot/Getty Images

Both baby wipes and the magic eraser dry out the Vachetta, so it is important that you apply a wax-freeleather conditioner after each. We recommend either Apple or Cadillac. Wait until the Vachetta is totally dry and use a new cloth to apply it. 

 

Whether or not you plan on cleaning your Louis Vuitton bag’s Vachetta leather, you should condition it about every six to twelve months. This will offer long-term protection, preventing it from cracking. 

Disclaimer

Patina serves as an integral step in the Louis Vuitton authentication process. It has become synonymous with the brand and, as a result, synonymous with its authenticity. When considering whether or not you should clean your bag’s Vachetta, take this into consideration. If you hope to resell the bag in the future, we do not recommend cleaning its Vachetta leather, as it lightens the patina and may cause potential customers to doubt the bag’s authenticity. In fact, some only shop for Louis Vuitton secondhand because they prefer their bag to have at least a honey shade of patina before they carry it! 

 

We are not liable for any damages that may occur. But, if you follow our guidelines on how to clean Louis Vuitton Vachetta leather, we are confident you will be happy with the results!  

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Written by : anv

The people pictured are not associated with The Archive or The Vintage Bar, and do not endorse the products shown.