The Hermès Birkin: How to take care of it
Oh, the Birkin bag. Is there any investment piece more iconic? Named after Jane Birkin after she inspired its design on a flight from London to Paris in 1984, the Hermès Birkin is now one of the most quintessential accessories ever to be created. With proper love and care, your relationship with it is one that can last a lifetime - or more. Kept in great condition, its value can also be preserved and even enhanced over time, should you ever want to resell it or pass on to future generations.
Either way, caring for your Birkin is imperative if you want to maintain its appearance and protect its longevity. Below are a few essential tips.
Birkin 20 - L20 x H13 x D12 cm (Limited edition)
Birkin 25 - L25 x H20 x D13 cm
Birkin 30 - L30 x H22 x D16 cm
Birkin 35 - L35 x H25 x D18 cm
Birkin 40 - L40 x H30 x D21 cm
The Faubourg Birkin 20 in Bleu (photo: sothebys.com)
Any handbag is of course designed to be worn. A Hermès Birkin is crafted to last, with exquisite leathers and skins that age well and develop a unique patina with use, which just adds to its character. However, it’s worth taking a few things into consideration.
- First of all, be careful with anything that might accidentally stain the interior of your bag or leave permanent unsightly marks - this means pens, lipstick, hand sanitiser, or your SPF50. Put these in a case or pouch instead of loose in your bag to prevent a mishap. Ink in particular is almost impossible to get out of leather and drastically reduces the resale value of your bag too.
- Don’t overstuff your Birkin with items that are too heavy or large as this can stretch the handles and distort the bag’s shape in the long run.
- Avoid putting your bag on the floor or any surfaces that might expose it to dirt, liquids or other things that could tarnish the outside. Although some leathers are a bit more resistant, suede and especially exotic skins like croc are incredibly susceptible to watermarks.
- Be conscious of rubbing your Birkin against raw, dark or embellished clothing when carrying it so you don’t get scratch marks or discolour lighter leathers.
- If you want to protect your Birkin’s handles from too much wear and tear, Twillies are a great option. These are silk ribbons which come in the same material and designs as Hermès scarves. Twillies can add some flair to your bag while also safeguarding it from natural oils and creams on your hands.
Taking proper care of your Birkin will include cleaning it from time to time. You should always stay away from strong cleaning agents and never try to repair anything on the bag yourself, but you can carefully clean the interior and exterior at home after daily use to stop any spots or dirt from setting in.
- Softly wipe your bag with a lint-free microfiber cloth after using it to remove any dirt or dust from the leather and hardware. You can also use a clean soft brush to reach any cracks.
- Familiarise yourself with the specifics of your Birkin’s leather. Hermès handbags come in a range of different leathers, from smooth or grained to exotic, each with their own characteristics and needs. While you can dab some leathers with a drop of water or even special leather care creams, this can cause damage to others.
- For any repairs, to replace hardware, or just to maintain your Birkin over the long term, take it to a Hermès Bag Spa by the brand’s after-sales care experts. Although Hermès’ own service can take longer than other leather spa treatments, you’ll have peace of mind knowing that the correct cleaning procedure for your product will be followed.
Hermès Birkin bags are both beautiful and practical, so it’s no crime to want to wear yours every day. However, quality leather handbags need time to rest and breathe so we recommend swapping it out for a different one at least every so often. When not in use, it’s also important that you store your Birkin in the right conditions.
- Keep your handbag away from elements such as direct sunlight or heat - like radiators - which can cause the leather to fade, dry out, and can cause cracks. Wherever you store your bag should be dry, room temperature and ventilated as leather can very easily absorb smells.
- When storing your Birkin long term, it’s best to keep it in a dust bag in its original box, making sure nothing is distorted or squished. If you have a detachable shoulder strap, store it inside the bag or in a dust bag of its own. Keep the lid of the box off so that the leather can breathe.
If you use your Birkin regularly, it’s usually more practical to store it in an upright position somewhere with plenty of room. Either way, make sure you fill it with a Bagpad so that it keeps its shape and doesn’t sag, which creates wrinkles and leads to your bag becoming misshapen or even cracking over time. Our Hèrmes Birkin Bagpads are made from premium quality velvet and are specially designed to fit all Birkin sizes. Apart from being a more sustainable solution for stuffing your handbags, they also protect from excessive smells and moisture.
- For optimum storage, wrap your Birkin’s hardware in lint-free cloth, but never use tape as this can ruin the plating.
Growing with it
Hermès Birkin bags age like fine wine and over time, the leather will naturally change and soften. Certain nuances wrought by use will only make your bag that much more one-of-a-kind, but taking good care of it will keep it looking beautiful year after year.