Tips & Tricks – Leather Care Product Used By Luxury Brands


Figuring out what products to condition, clean or protect my leather accessories always gives me a bit of anxiety. My worst nightmare would be using a product I’ve purchased with the best of intentions, which ends up being too harsh, damaging the finish, or discoloring the dye. Thanks to what I saw not one…but two, luxury brand boutiques using on their merchandise, I’m pretty secure in my new leather care product du jour and wanted to share this great tip.

The stuff is called Cadillac Boot and Shoe Care (the packaging has changed, but it’s the same stuff), and I’ve seen it get pulled out from behind a counter, and used to buff out minor scratches and condition leather accessories in both a Tod’s boutique, and get this…a Chanel boutique. If it’s good enough for Chanel, it’s good enough for me.

How To Use:

  • Use a soft, non-dyed cloth, like a small terry cloth towel, or piece of an old t-shirt. Avoid using a colored piece of cloth, in case of color transfer to your handbag.
  • I always give the bottle a good shake, and then squirt a small amount of conditioner on the cloth.
  • If you’re using on a handbag for the first time, it’s always a good idea to test a very small, not easily seen location on your leather item to make sure no damage occurs.
  • Very gently smooth the conditioner along the leather surface, paying a little more attention to scratches or problem areas. Gently smooth with the cloth until the conditioner disappears from the leather surface.
  • Let dry before putting your item away or wearing (dries pretty quick).

What products do you use to condition or clean your leather items? Any tips?

Join the Conversation


  1. says: Jessy

    Literally just cared for all my leather items today. Took foreverrrrr, but was happy. I use Danier, a Canadian brand. They have all the products I need in one little baggy. :D

  2. says: Jen

    I love Cadillac. When I worked at Nordstrom, that’s what they used and I loved it so have been using it eversince. It’s been over 10 years and I haven’t found anything comparable!

  3. says: lisacng

    And if it’s good enough for you, it’s good enough for me! Tks! I bet this stuff works well for shoes too, right? My leather boots are so scuffed now, but I kinda dig that look for these particular pair. Tks for the reco and I’ll pin it and purchase it!

  4. says: witheachpassingday

    Great post! I second lisacng. If it’s good for you then it’s good for me. Do you have any recommendation on suede?

    1. Hi Amry! Leather jackets should be conditioned every now and then as well. I gave mine a little wipe down with some conditioner before I put it away last summer. I’ll do the same at the end of this winter.

  5. says: Polka Dot Mouse

    I am a bit obsessed with leather care, and after reading a lot on forums and websites about products recommended both by companies that specialize in cleaning and conditioning leather seats on private jets, as well as high-end handbags, I tried many products. These are my top three:

    Townsend Leather Ink & Stain Remover-Looks like a glue stick, removes stains from leather without damaging it. Removed an ink transfer from a plastic car on my light gray leather car seats that was almost a year old!

    Collonil products-recommended by Mulberry for their leather products. They make a leather waterproof spray that won’t change the color (used on light blush leather shoes) and a suede waterproofing spray that also revives the color (great for dark blue or black boots that have faded a bit).

    Apple Brand Leather Conditioner Kit-Very gentle, comes with everything you need to bring leather back to life. They also make a rain garde repellant spray.

  6. says: Aubrey

    Kelly, I’ve come back to this post w/more questions. I guess I still don’t know why or what conditioning a leather bag means. When should I condition it and why should I condition it? and do I clean it first and then condition? I just purchased a new Rag & Bone purse and I’m wondering…should I use this stuff on it right away? Should I wear it and wait until what time to condition? Help me out. I’m not sure if your answer will be emailed to me or how I’ll know you’ve answered, but tweet me and I will also try to come back to this post looking for your reply.

    1. Hey Aubrey! Leather is a skin, so just like our skin, it needs moisture or else it’ll crack over time. On regular leather bags, if there are no stains, I just use a conditioner. I’ll usually get in a spring cleaning kind of mood, find a few soft rags, and sit on the floor gently wiping a small amount of conditioner on my leather bags, paying extra attention to scratches.

      Bags that are un-treated (the kind that gets water stains) may need to be cleaned first, as I’ve tried just conditioning those and stains tend to sop up the conditioner differently than parts that are not stained, darkening certain areas. There are separate cleaners, but I’m not too familiar with them. Apple Guard is usually suggested on tPF. I recently bought some but haven’t played with it yet.

      For suede, I use a separate cleaner (marked for suede) and then a layer of suede protector that helps repel stains and water.

      For first time bags, unless it’s suede (in which case I always spray a suede protector first), I just carry them. No need to condition first. Just try to remember to condition it every so often (once a year should be fine…I’ve certainly forgotten and gone longer). If you get a big stain on it, you can try a cleaner like Apple Guard first, and if it persists, there are lots of professionals that clean up leather bags. I’ve seen people get designer bags cleaned at dry cleaners and shoe cobblers (make sure you trust the place first and that they regularly do leather cleaning).

      I hope that answered your question!

  7. says: Rebecca

    Hello, just come across this thread and found it very helpful, I have a Chanel lambskin boy bag and the lambs skin leather Chanel espadrilles. I’m just wondering if you would suggest this to be okay to clean and look after both of these? Thanks so much for your help! Xx

    1. Hi Rebecca! I’d say it’s safe for use on both. I also have a lambskin Chanel handbag (a now discontinued East/West bag) and have used this one it just fine. Since the espadrilles are the same material, I’d bet they’ll be fine too. I’d just test a tiny spot and let it dry before going fully at it, especially if the color is very light, to make sure.

  8. says: Geraldine

    Hi Kelly, have you tried Collonil clean & care and Collonil leather gel on your bags before? If yes, what is your review on it?

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