Why do you need to look after leather?
The amount of time and effort you need to put into cleaning and caring for your leather product depends on a variety of factors, including how the leather was produced and processed, and how much stress it is exposed to.
Looking after your leather properly extends your product’s life, protects it from dirt and other environmental factors (like rain or UV light), maintains the leather’s softness and stops it from getting damaged or broken.
You may already know that you have to look after your leather shoes so that they maintain their quality. But did you know that leather furniture, car seats and accessories need to be looked after too?
How to look after leather
Looking after your leather properly means you should adapt your care routine to the product and the way that you use it. All leather care products condition the leather and make it waterproof. When trying out a new leather care product for the first time, we recommend testing it on a small, inconspicuous patch of leather before you apply it to the entire accessory. This helps you avoid any disasters with marking or discolouring the leather.
We’ve got a tip for you: even cheap leather care is better than no care!
However, we suggest staying away from home remedies when it comes to caring for your product. Nowadays, leather is thinner, softer and tanned in a different way, which is why you need a care product that is suited to your item. If you use the wrong product, you might accidentally damage the leather.
What types of leather care products are available?
- Leather care cream:
an emulsion made of fat and water. It penetrates the leather deeply and is often used to refresh the colour of your leather.
- Leather milk:
an emulsion made of fat or oil and water; it’s thinner than a cream. Other additives, like fragrances, solvents, surface-active agents for cleaning and UV protection may be added to the milk. This product is often used on larger leather surfaces.
- Leather grease:
used to make the leather water-resistant. It penetrates the leather deeply, so should be used sparingly. It’s mainly used for leather that’s used outdoors. We recommend only applying this product to smooth leather, as it can stain open-pored leather.
- Leather oil:
shouldn’t be used on open-pored leather. We recommend using this product on leather that’s dry and brittle which needs a little extra moisturising, as the leather has to soak up the oil to soften up.
- Saddle soap:
is no longer used in modern leather care. Nowadays, leather cleaners and care products are tailored to specific types of leather.
- Leather balm:
made using resins or waxes (like beeswax) and can be used to look after smooth leather. It repels dirt and helps make the leather waterproof. However, it blocks the leather’s pores, so we don’t recommend using this product on car seats or furniture.
- Shoe cream:
an emulsion that’s usually made of water, solvents, fats or oils, emulsifiers, anti-freeze, preservatives and, if necessary, pigments. It’s used to preserve and protect leather that’s exposed to the wind and weather. We also suggest using shoe cream sparingly.
- Waterproofing products:
available as a liquid or a spray. They are suitable for suede and nubuck leather and are used to protect the leather from moisture.
Sources (accessed 11th August 2022):