I personally haven’t tried leather products on my own bags and they’ve lasted for years with heavy use (I personally make my personal bags with Heavy Wear leathers), but adding leather protection will help extend the life of your leather goods, especially if you're creating your bag with aniline, semi-aniline and unfinished leathers.
One of my leather vendors recommends one of these brands with cleaning/protection applications 2x/year:
- Leather Master Leather Protection Cream
- Leather Honey (Conditioner, Cleaner)
A customer of mine has used these two products for her bag with great results:
- Cavender's All Purpose Cleaner & Conditioner
- Bickmore: Bick 4 Leather Conditioner
A few things to remember for your bag:
- Test all products on a discreet area of the leather before doing the entire bag to see if it affects the finish.
- Do not put tape on the leather. This can remove the finish!!
- Do not use any household cleaning products, including baby wipes on your leather!
- Keep leather out of direct sunlight to prevent significant fading.
- Soak spills with a sponge/paper towel. Do not scrub, but clean in a light circular motion.
- For spills inside the bag, quickly empty your bag and pull the lining of the bag out so that it is separated from the exterior leather side (to prevent soaking into the leather) and soak the spill with a sponge/paper towel and keep the lining outside of the bag until it is completely dry before placing it back inside.
For maximum lifetime from your bag, customize with one of my "Heavy Wear" leathers, which are graded for high traffic upholstery use.