Antique leather suitcases make wonderful collectibles and even everyday items for vintage and antique lovers, but they are not often in good condition. Luckily, buyers can employ various techniques to restore antique leather suitcases. With the proper care and the right products, most can refurbish a vintage suitcase to look almost new.
Cleaning an Antique Leather Suitcase
Cleaning an old leather suitcase requires attention to both the interior and the exterior. Usually, it is best to start with the interior, and the process varies depending on the lining. With wood lining, exercise care with water. For carpeting, brocade, or other upholstery, steam clean or use vinegar and water solutions. Antiquax, Gold Label, Lincoln, Carr, and Imperial Leather offer quality leather soap for the exterior.
Removing Stains and odours
Though a common problem with antique and vintage leather suitcases, stains and odours are not always difficult to remove. The techniques experts use to remove odours from the interior of an antique leather trunk include filling it with cat litter or charcoal. Many also spray the interior with a 1 to 1 mix of water and vinegar, while others sprinkle bicarbonate of soda. It is important to keep all of these products away from the leather, as they can discolour the leather. For stains, choose a decent leather cleaner from brands like Gold Label or Antiquax.
Repairing an Antique Leather Suitcase
Repairing antique and vintage leather luggage requires careful attention due to the many risks. Flaking leather is typically the hardest to fix. Thoroughly cleaning the leather, brushing it down to remove any loose particles, and then frequently treating it with a leather creme is the only real solution. You can repair rips and tears using a leather patch or by darning the leather. Unfortunately, the seam or patch remains visible in either case. As most antique leather suitcases feature a wooden box with leather over the outside, so if the leather is in very bad shape, it is also possible to remove the old leather and refinish the wood or recover the wood, depending on personal preference.
Caring for Antique Leather Suitcases
Finally, after the restoration of the antique leather suitcase, a good leather care cream is the best way to restore the original softness and quality of the leather. In this case, brands like Lexol and Leatherique offer quality leather conditioners.