Things to Avoid
Classic skin bags are gorgeous, luxurious, precious, and tough. But even the strongest ones must be treated with care and properly stored to prolong their lives and protect your investment.
Avoid extreme temperatures, especially in hot summer or freezing winter, along with excessive dryness or moisture from rain. Doing so will help retain the skin’s flexibility. Remember that dryness can cause it to crack.
Avoid moisture because it will cause the skin to swell, mildew and eventually stiffen as it dries out. Water spotting is a particular problem on high-gloss finishes. If your alligator bag does get wet, wipe it dry fast with a soft cloth and allow it to air-dry naturally, away from any heat source.
Mink Oil is not recommended for reptile skins. With time, it oxidizes and turns into whitish solid grease, which can clog the pores, and, in turn, promote dry rot. Avoid buying bags treated with mink oil—it is virtually impossible to remove the mink oil deposit from the grooves between the scales.
Never use any household grease to condition your skin bags—no olive oil or butter, please! I almost had a heart attack when a customer said that an “expert” had recommended her to use butter on her skin bag. My first reaction was, “Salted or unsalted?” But, seriously, it is not a laughing matter, especially when dealing with such an expensive material.
Don't use household cleaners, Windex, paint thinners, acetone, nail polish or any other hard chemicals that can damage the finish on your skins.
SMOOTH LEATHER CREAMS
Avoid the products designed for smooth leathers, because they can leave streaks on the glossy finish. Use only special conditioners and cleaners designed specifically to treat exotic skins.
Don't load your vintage bag heavily. After all, it was not intended to “haul” half of your household. Also, do not throw it around, because the seams weakened by age can easily break on impact. In short, treat it gently, with respect. It deserves that!