Louis Vuitton Monogram Canvas
Louis Vuitton OnTheGo MM. Courtesy of Louis Vuitton

In the world of designer bags, Louis Vuitton is the pinnacle. (Hermes' Birkin bag is in a class all its own.) Whether you're eyeing a more modern silhouette or a logo-clad purse, carting one of them around is definitely a status symbol. But those symbols don't come cheap. We're talking a couple thousand dollars apiece. With such a big investment, you want to know how to keep yours in tip-top shape. So we went ahead and put together a step-by-step guide on how to clean a Louis Vuitton bag.

First things first. Let's break down the different bag styles, because material counts in this case. Believe it or not, there are different kinds of leather. There's natural leather, calfskin and cowhide leather and Vernis leather. Then you've got your canvas creations. Louis Vuitton separates them into two categories: monogram and damier canvas and printed canvas. Finally, there are the exotic and extraordinary pieces. That includes crocodile, python and lizard skins along with bags boasting metallic leathers, sequins, beading, feathers or printing. Don't be intimated, however. The cleaning processes for each type is actually pretty straightforward, but you should keep in mind the fact that over the course of time some natural softening of each silhouette may occur as well as patina, wrinkles and veins. There are a few preventative measures you can take, though. Don't overstuff your bag. Whenever it's off your shoulder, place it in the felt it came with and store in a ventilated area. Ahead, how to safely and properly clean your Louis Vuitton bag.

Natural Leather

Louis Vuitton Natural Leather
Louis Vuitton Buci. Courtesy of Louis Vuitton

Due to its transparency, natural leather can be easily scratched. You should consider the patina that develops a badge of honor since it makes your bag unique. It's like free customization because no two bags will be the same in the long run. If stains appear before the patina, don't try to clean your bag. If you simply let the leather naturally darken said stains will become less obvious. If your bag comes into contact with water, blot with a lint-free, light-colored, absorbent cloth. This is one situation where solvents or chemicals will do more harm than good.

Calfskin and Cowhide Leather

Louis Vuitton Calfskin
Louis Vuitton Low Key Hobo MM. Courtesy of Louis Vuitton

Since calfskin and cowhide leathers can also develop natural imperfections, you should avoid using commercial cleaners. Instead, simply clean your bag with a soft, damp cloth.

Vernis Leather

Louis Vuitton Vernis
Louis Vuitton Alma BB. Courtesy of Louis Vuitton

This leather was created for the Spring 1998 runway show. It requires special care. Keep it far away from any materials that may transfer their pigments, like magazines or denim. Avoid sunlight exposure so the color will stay intact. If your bag is a lighter hue, you may experience patina down the road.

Monogram and Damier Canvas

Louis Vuitton Damier Canvas
Louis Vuitton Croisette. Courtesy of Louis Vuitton

Louis Vuitton came up with its monogram canvas all the way back in 1896. Coated canvas only requires a damp cloth and slightly soapy water to get clean. Forgo mink oil, perfume and alcohol-based solutions. Once again, it's important to keep these creations separate as they may suffer from color transfer, especially if your bag is a lighter color to begin with.

Printed Canvas

Louis Vuitton Monogram Canvas
Louis Vuitton OnTheGo MM. Courtesy of Louis Vuitton

The brand's printing technique applies thin layers of ink on top of canvas. Therefore, these bags are more susceptible to fading and abrasion. The trick is to steer clear of hard or rough surfaces. Think rugs, walls and concrete. When it comes to cleaning, use a soft, damp cloth along with slightly soapy water, just make sure to stay away from the printed portions. Skip any home remedies.

Exotic Creations

Louis Vuitton Python
Louis Vuitton Capucines BB. Courtesy of Louis Vuitton

These babies need to be shielded from humidity, water spray and rain. Avoid water- and alcohol-based solutions. If your bag comes into contact with water, gently blot the affected area right away with a light-colored, lint-free, absorbent cloth. Keep your bag away from direct sunlight as it may cause color fading. The aforementioned skins are sensitive to both heat and humidity. Using a cleansing cream is a no-go since it may stain your beloved bag. Bags with extras like beading, feathers and sequins can be touched up via a soft, light-colored, lint-free cloth.

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