Weatherize Your Leather for the Cold Months Ahead

Published on 11/03/2016

  • Weatherize Your Leather for the Cold Months Ahead

If you live in an area with wildly fluctuating weather patterns, you likely go to great lengths to weatherize your more valuable possessions. You may put snow tires on your car, install storm windows and doors on your home, and put away shorts and tees in favor of warmer weather clothing like fleece, sweaters, hats, mittens and so on.

Leather is one of the most trouble-free natural materials on the planet--the sort that will last a lifetime--but it still needs a bit of routine care. With winter fast approaching, here are a few tips on weatherizing your leather for the colder temps ahead.

Step one: clean

Unless your leather is brand new, you’re going to want to clean off the gunk, beach sand, and other general muck that may have accumulated on it since its last cleaning.

In most cases, you can blow away any dust, lint, and dirt that’s collected on your leather with a can of compressed air or suck it up with a vacuum cleaner. If you possess neither, use a dry rag to gently brush over the leather in a sweeping motion as if you were dusting. From there, take a warm, damp rag and apply light pressure while you wipe down your leather goods using a circular motion. Those two actions will be enough to free your leather of any serious buildup.

For deeper cleaning:

  • A teaspoon of baby shampoo or other mild soap can be added to a gallon of warm water and used to spot clean deep stains. Rinse thoroughly with a damp rag.

  • Salt stains can be safely removed with one part white vinegar and white part warm water. Rub mixture in leather until stains disappear.

Step two: dry

Your newly laundered leather needs to dry thoroughly before moving on to the next step. Allow two days minimum for leather wallets, leather backpacks, boots, messenger bags and other items to dry completely before using again. Boots, backpacks, and bags can be stuffed with dry newspaper to help your leather items retain their shape.,

Never try to speed up the drying process by using a blow dryer, laundromat dryer, or heat vent to blow hot air directly on damp leather. This will pull natural moisturize from your leather and only cause it to dry out.

Step three: condition

Cooler temperatures mean drier air. Much like your skin tends to dry out in the winter, so can leather. You can protect your valuables by conditioning them with an over-the-counter leather conditioner.

You can speed up this process by using protein cleaners and conditioners that both clean and condition leather in one easy step.
Paying a little attention to your leather twice a year will keep it performing and looking its best for years to come.

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