3 Simple Steps To Prevent Louis Vuitton's Vachetta Leather From Uneven Tanning and Discoloration
12 July 2018

3 Simple Steps To Prevent Louis Vuitton’s Vachetta Leather From Uneven Tanning and Discoloration

Now that “Logomania” has returned, you may even be considering getting a bag in Louis Vuitton‘s classic Monogram Canvas. Perhaps the thing that’s deterring your from doing so just yet, is the  natural “tanning” process of the vachetta leather handles, straps, and trims that all monogram canvas bags come with. In fact, most of you would have noticed that the leather tends to tan unevenly, with the handles, almost always a few shades darker than the rest of the trims. Keep the bag long enough, and the vachetta turns a dark burnt-orangey colour. Although I know some of you personally like this natural “ageing” process because it tells a story and gives the bag character, I’m also aware that many of you aren’t exactly fans and have opted for the Damier Ebene, Monogram Reverse, Monogram Eclipse, or basically any other Vuitton bag without vachetta leather.

But… what if I told you that there is a way to get your vachetta to tan evenly?

Okay, so here’s what you need to do. If you’ve just purchased your Monogram Canvas bag, resist the temptation to use it right away. Yes, I know how difficult this may be, because I too, am someone, who can’t wait to carry/use/wear my new purchases, and often do so the very next day after purchasing it. This first step is the most important of all, and would not only prevent the vachetta from tanning unevenly or discolouring, but it will also sort of stop the “ageing process” and allows your leather to only tan up to a certain point, specifically, a slightly golden honey colour.

Louis Vuitton Neverfull GM

Step 1 : Sun your bag

Place your brand new Monogram Canvas bag near a window. Make sure your windows are not tinted. I’d usually advise you to open your window so the sun can actually get to your bag because this works best, but given our unpredictable weather these days, keep the windows closed if you’re going to be out. Place the bag by a window during the day. When you do this, keep the monogrammed bits covered, leaving only the vachetta leather exposed to sunlight. The next day, rotate and let a different side of your bag face the window and make sure you cover every side, including the bottom if you have vachetta piping there, or if you have leather strips at the bottom like the Bandoulière styles for the Speedy and the Keepall. Repeat for all sides: front, back, left side, right side, bottom, and the straps, for bags with vachetta shoulder straps.

Remember though, you have to do this for  one weekbefore using the bag. At this point, the leather will be a tad darker (though not really noticeable unless compared with a brand new bag that hasn’t been exposed to sunlight). What this “sunning” technique does, is that it forms a natural outer layer which acts as a “shield” or “seal” to the vachetta, thus slowing down the tanning process, and making it slightly water repellent too, so pesky water stains or watermarks are less likely even if you get caught in the rain. This also helps your vachetta to tan evenly instead of having some parts darker than the rest.

Step 2: Baby Wipes

Once you’ve sunned your bag on each side for an entire week, wipe them with alcohol-, detergent-, and fragrance-free baby wipes. Please check the packaging if you’re unsure, because you’ll ruin your bag if your wipes has even the slightest content of alcohol, detergent, or fragrance.

Take a baby wipe and gently wipe all sides of the vachetta, including the underside of the handles, luggage tag, and the piping. Make sure you do this only for the vachetta parts, and ensure that you avoid all the hardware and zippers when doing so. Make sure you wipe gently, so that you’re not squeezing or transferring any excess liquid from the wipes onto the leather. At this point, you’d notice the leather darkening a little, but rest assured, it’ll dry in no time. Once you’ve done this once, let it dry completely, and then repeat once more with a clean baby wipe. This also seals in the process that the “sunning” has started. Note: Allow it to dry naturally and DO NOT apply any heat to speed up the drying process. 

Louis Vuitton Neverfull GM Closeup

Step 3: Start Using Your Bag

After sunning and using baby wipes on it, you’re ready to start using your bag! Make sure no hand creams, perfumes, or lotions come into contact with the vachetta leather. Okay at this point you’re probably thinking, okay, even if I don’t use lotions, creams or fragrances, what about sweat, especially when I’m holding the handles or carrying it on my arm? This is a totally valid concern, and sometimes, even when you don’t have particularly sweaty or clammy hands, there still is some moisture despite it not being visible. In fact, this is why the Speedy‘s handles (especially the underside) gets darker, sometimes even turning dark grey or black over time.

If you’re using your bag daily:

Use baby wipes on just the handles at the end of each day if your skin comes into contact with it. Allow to dry naturally. This offers protection from uneven discolouration or water marks. In addition do doing the once daily wipe down, wipe the entire bag including the canvas bits. Wipe dry with a dry microfibre cloth.

Note: You only need to wipe the handles of your bag daily if you’re using it  on a daily basis. If not, you only need to wipe the entire bag once weekly. 

And voila! There you have it! Easy peasy lemon squeezy, no?

Louis Vuitton Neverfull Vachetta Handles

Over time, the leather bits would still darken, however, as previously mentioned, it would stop tanning once it reaches that golden honey colour. Taught these steps to a friend of a friend, and their Monogram Canvas bag still has that golden hue after almost 10 years!

Oh, and for those of you who’ve already started using your bag before, sunning the bag won’t work anymore. However, you can still try to Step 3 above to prevent it from discolouring or tanning further. Let me know how it goes!


Update: Check out our  3 Simple Steps to Remove Dirt and Water Stains From LV’s Vachetta Leather tutorial right here

Photos courtesy of Max Law