How To Properly Care for Your Leather Goods

Published on 01/02/2015

Everything you own needs some amount of care. Your car’s tires ought to be aired up and its oil changed in order to keep your vehicle running optimally. The gutters on your home should  be cleaned of leaves and debris so that they can easily drain water away from your home, instead of toward your foundation. Even your body requires fuel and exercise to keep it in tip-top shape.

Your fine leather goods also need a little maintenance from time to time. They may not demand the type of pampering and coddling of some materials, but leather does need to be looked after to preserve its coveted qualities. How do you care for leather? It’s simple, really.

How to clean leather

Photo credit: Great War Observer

Leather requires very little attention to keep it looking its best. Still, it’s wise to give your leather items a good once-over from time to time, and a light cleaning when necessary. How do you clean leather? It takes just a few steps.

  1. Remove dust, hair and debris from leather. You can do this using a vacuum cleaner, can of compressed air, or a dry rag. Just gently blow or brush the leather as if you were dusting furniture.

  2. Wipe down the leather with a damp cloth. Make sure the cloth is clean and only damp, never wet. Simply wipe the surface of your leather lightly with the cloth, then go over it with a clean, dry cloth and allow it to air-dry.

  3. Condition your leather. Commercial conditioning products will help to keep your leather supple and in pristine condition. To condition, apply a light coating of the conditioner to a dry piece of leather, then buff the leather with a clean cloth. Conditioner should be applied once or twice per year.

How to clean leather

If you’re dealing with stained leather, you may need a little extra help in the form of saddle soap, which you can buy over-the-counter or make yourself. To clean using saddle soap or similar products, add the solution to a damp cloth and while applying light pressure, rub the surface you wish to clean in a circular motion. Once the leather has been cleaned, wipe the excess cleaner from your leather with a clean, damp cloth and allow the leather to dry completely before conditioning.

Dealing with the elements

How To Properly Care for Your Leather Goods

Leather boots and shoes will get a lot more exposure to snow and rain than your leather wallet, backpack or tablet cover ever will. Still, it’s a good to know how to deal with a wet piece of leather. First, do your best to gently wipe your leather item with a clean cloth to absorb any excess moisture. Then, allow the leather to dry naturally. Never put leather over a heater or heating element as it will cause the leather to dry out and eventually crack. Once the leather is dry, you can buff it with a clean cloth if necessary. You can use a silicone spray or similar product to snowproof leather, but be aware that certain snow and waterproofing sprays and waxes could dry out your leather goods, ultimately causing cracking and early aging.

How to store leather

When your leather valuables will not be in-use for an extended period, say, over a long winter or while you’re away on summer vacation, it’s best to store them properly to extend their life. Leather can be kept in bags or boxes to keep them dust-free, and items like backpacks and purses that have large empty caverns, should be stuffed with material or cloth of some sort to help hold their shape. If you live in an especially humid area, you may also wish to place some silica gel crystals or white rice inside your leather items to help absorb excess moisture and prevent mold and mildew.

Taking care of your leather goods is basically trouble-free. With a little attending to and looking after, you can protect your investment easily, and your leather will serve you faithfully for a lifetime.


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