How to Keep Your Leather in Tip-Top Shape

December 01, 2017

Leather is a major investment. It can be hard to spend those extra few (or few hundred) bucks. But really, it’s worth it in the end. Unlike its fake alternatives, leather won’t melt when you sit in front of a fire; it won’t peel off and look patchy. While science has come a long way, there still aren’t any leather alternatives that look quite right. You can always tell when it’s fake.

Luckily, when you do spend that extra money, your leather can last a very long time, it’s just a matter of spending the time to take care of it. Check out these tips for taking care of your leather to help it last as long as possible.

1. Clean it

This is one of the most basic things you can do to take care of your leather. Simply wiping it down each week can do a lot to protect it from small abrasions that can come from dust. Regardless of how polished or grungy you want your leather to look, keeping it clean can help it last much longer. You don’t even need to buy specialty tools. Simply a damp cloth can do a lot.

2. Condition it

You know how your skin dries out in the winter and sometimes putting on lotion is the best feeling ever? It’s the same for your leather. If you don’t condition it, it will dry out. Dried leather isn’t as strong as moisturized leather, so it can easily crack.

A good leather conditioner or cream won’t make your leather look very different—in the same way that lotion doesn’t really make your skin look any different. But the leather will soak up moisture from the conditioner and it will be much more supple. It’s typically good to condition your leather around every 3 months—less if you don’t use it very much, but more if you live in a drier climate.

3. Polish

Polish is going to have the biggest aesthetic difference in how your leather looks. If you want a leather that doesn’t look worn or scuffed, polish is the best way of returning it to its sleek, elegant look. With polish, it is extremely important to find one that best matches the color of your leather. Also, look for a polish that will give you the finish you want, whether that’s high-shine or matte.

There are plenty of leather items out there that you won’t necessarily want to polish. In fact, Dave Munson, the founder of Saddleback Leather Co., rarely polishes his leather bags because he prefers the well-used look.

4. Waterproofing

Leather is not naturally waterproof—or even water resistant. In fact, if water is allowed to soak into the leather, it can cause it to stiffen. Because of this, it’s often a good idea to waterproof leather, especially items like leather boots. The best treatments are waxes, as they are much more durable and allow you more control during application. Again, always look for one that won’t impact the look or finish of your leather. Click here to see one of the best options out there.

5. Suede is a whole different ballgame

While the above steps for leather upkeep are great for typical leather, those rules don’t apply to suede. Suede won’t hold conditioner or polish like normal leather. With suede, it’s important to keep it clean. A wire brush can do a lot to help it stay nice. There are also some products that can help get some of the grime off. Check out this one to help you keep suede clean.

Do you have any tips to share for keeping your leather in shape? Share with the rest of us on Facebook.

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