It’s Sophie from Alf HQ here. Are you like me and use the beginning of a brand-new year, to get organised and do a bit of a tidy up and clean up around the house? Maybe clean your wardrobe out, clean out your kitchen cupboards, or maybe it’s time to give your beautiful Alf bag a bit of TLC! I want my investment pieces to last… and I know you want to keep that Alf bag of yours looking just as beautiful as the day you received it. Leather, being a natural material, is really similar to the skin on your face, take care of it and you will still be getting be ID’d at your local club when you’re turning 30…. The same goes for your shoes and any leather clothing you also own – give them a little bit of love and care, and they will be looking fresh AF for many years to come.
So, how do I look after my Alf I know you're thinking… well, don’t fear – I’m going to tell you, but #DISCLAIMER I want to point out, that everything I'm going to say about cleaning your Alf is purely from my personal experiences. Please, please, please do a spot test on the underside of the bag before you go ahead and lather any sort of alcohol or leather cleaners over the front of your Alf. There are many things which will affect the result, what the stain has been caused by and which colour leather your piece is. So BE CAREFUL.
HOW TO GET PEN OFF YOUR LEATHER BAG
If you have managed to get pen on your leather bag then:
- Riffle around in the bathroom cupboard gurl and pull out the hairspray (or some dabbing alcohol will work too),
- Get a cotton bud, soak it in the solution, then dab the pen mark with the solution,
- Gently rub the mark with the cotton bud in a circular motion.
- Grab a hairdryer and switch it on to the lowest heat setting and direct it onto the spot so you can dry out the spot as best you can.
- Cross your damn fingers you don’t get pen on your bag again.
MY ALF IS A FILTHY ANIMAL - GENERAL CLEANING TIPS
I actually really enjoy using baby wipes on my Alf bags and I find the non-toxic Water Wipes and Eco-Originals wipes are great for general spot cleaning. I love them because they're not too wet and they're not too dry; you do not want to soak the leather because that’s when you risk getting ugly water stains. So, go ahead and wipe down the whole bag with a baby wipe… including the cowhide and get those months of dust and grime off that thing! Once you have cleaned your bag with a baby wipe then get some leather protectant spray. Alf doesn’t have a partnership with any particular brand, however personally I buy mine from Wittner Shoes – you could check online if there is a store near you. If not, they sell leather protectant aerosol sprays at all major supermarkets, many pharmacies and bootmakers. I don't love the use of aerosols but I do find that when you are spraying your leather bag aerosol gives it the lightest coating possible you really don't want to use anything that's too wet or too creamy because you do risk getting a stain on your bag.
Once you have given your bag the once over with a couple of baby wipes, hold the leather protectant spray around 30 cm away from the bag, just like it says on the instructions, and give the entire bag, including the cowhide, a solid even coating. Once you have done that, let it dry. Personally, I let the leather spray dry overnight and I’ll give it a second coating the following day and then let it dry again before use. Going through this process once per season will save your bag from rain, splashes, fading in the sun and general spillages. If you did it twice a year that would be great if you did it four times a year that would be even better. A good trick is to set a reminder in your phone, or write in your diary for the start of each quarter - so the start of January, the start of April, the start of July and the start of October and then repeat that process of cleaning and spraying your pieces each quarter to make sure you are giving your Alf the maximum amount of love.
BABY WIPES ARE LIFE
Do you carry baby wipes in your bag??? If not, you should. If you spill something on your Stella tote, Ari backpack or Muriel 4-way convertible piece of amazingness you'll be able to wipe it off straight away! Alf the Label bags have so many pockets you have plenty of room carry a pack of wipes in one of our cute-as-a-button Alf Wipes Case with you all the time, so if you ever do get to a point where you have spilt something on your bag then you can immediately wipe it up – #WINNING! your bag will thank you! Cleaning the inside of your bag is also really easy, there are lots of handbags and other baby bags out there which feature cotton lining, now cotton although it feels really soft and lovely it's actually terrible for soaking in stains, the reason we have nylon lining in our bags is that it's wipeable. Cotton is not.
Let’s face it, the function of a baby bag/ mum bag means it’s inevitable you are eventually going to spill something inside. Doh. Whether it’s sunscreen or a drink bottle or your lunch or nappy rash cream or anything! We had one gorgeous customer who said she literally spilt her stir-fried lunch all inside her bag (ohhh damn) but got a sponge and gave the inside a wipe down and it cleaned up almost immediately. 10 points for nylon lining.
CAN I USE THIS BABE FOREVER?
We know a lot of our #mummunity use our larger sized nappy bags for the first 18 months or so and then rotate it out with one of our Muriel 4-way convertible backpacks because they're not carrying quite as much stuff on a daily basis. Of course, except for when they're going for overnight trips or full days out. My kids are four and almost two and I still use my Stella as a daytime bag if we go to the zoo or spend the entire day out somewhere. If we go somewhere overnight I always take my big baby bag with me, because obviously it's got all of that amazing space and is so perfectly organised - I also use my Stella as hand luggage which is such a great use for your Alf when you aren’t rocking her as a baby bag any longer.
One tip for getting the most out of your Alf is to have your hardware serviced once in a while. Zips are a very simple mechanism – and it’s unlikely something terminal will happen to them, but although they're simple, sometimes things do happen. The zip may get jammed or you could bend a tooth or the zip head. I know my kids are rough with my bag zips and sometimes I am too… Thankfully though, a Cobbler can fix just about anything like this! Lucky mate, because you will get a lifetime of use out of your zip if you look after it.
WHAT ABOUT STORAGE?
We know a lot of people have a second or third or fourth or fifth or even a six baby (WOW!) and you want to be able to use your Alf for every child! That’s the whole point of investing in a beautiful leather baby bag right!? So, what’s the best way to store your Alf? Give her a thorough clean both inside and out (as per my instructions earlier) and have her hardware serviced, give her a kiss, then pop your bag back in the Alf dust bag you received with your purchase – I like to include one of those little lavender-scented bags, just like your grandma had in her knicker drawer. Hunt around your house for the coolest, driest cupboard and stash her up the back.
What a process! But If you take this advice you will see many good years from your Alf…
As always, if you want to get in touch email me, or jump on our socials!
TTFN (ta ta for now!)