How to care for leather products
We have already explained how to clean stains on leather accessories.
But, how do you care for leather?
Taking care of your leather goods is the first step in order to guarantee them a long-lasting lifespan.
First, look into the characteristics of the material used to produce your leather goods.
The most widespread leathers can be chrome or vegetable tanned: the main difference between the two tanning procedures is that leather chemically treated with chrome is more resistant to water, humidity and high temperatures. On the other hand, vegetable tanning is less toxic and polluting and the result of this process is a high quality leather, which requires more care.
You can find here more information about the difference between the vegetable and the chrome process. If the product is vegetable tanned, you must be very careful.
Different type of products, such as bags, shoes, jackets and wallets require different leather care advice. Shoes and jackets, for example, are more likely to be exposed to rain and humidity than a wallet or a bag.
That’s why, for this kind of products, waterproofing is highly suggested. If your leather good is not waterproofed you can enhance it by treating your product with a specific beeswax cream or an invisible spray protectant.
Here some general rules to ensure a long and pleasant use of your leather goods:
STORE YOUR GOODS APPROPRIATELY
The best way to store your leather product is wrapping it in a soft cloth or in its original dustbag with silica gel, which absorbs humidity. Then choose a dry place to store it: keep in mind that leather is an organic material and, if not preserved in the right way, some unpleasant inconvenience may occur. If you store a leather product in a moist place or if you put it in a plastic bag, then don’t be surprised if you find mold on your precious item.
In the same way, keep leather away from heat sources if you don’t want it to dry out. Moreover, in case the leather is vegetable-tanned, intense light could make it become darker and could cause marks due to premature aging, not to be confused with stains or scratches due to usage.
CLEAN ITEMS WITH THE RIGHT PRODUCTS
The general rule to clean leather is being gentle.
- Remove dust from the item. You can use a rag for bags, wallets and jackets; shoes instead call for a specific brush (not the same used for polishing). An energetic brushing will do most of the work.
- Polish the item using a soft cloth and a small amount of leather cream: do not apply the product directly on the leather. Choose a neutral color for wallets and bags; opt instead for a colored cream if you are going to clean a pair of shoes. Indeed, consider that bags and accessories are always in close contact with your hands and clothes and, if you use a colored wax or cream, it may stain your garments. On the other hand, it is perfect for shoes: just make sure to choose the right shade. Shoes require some preliminary additional precautions: before polishing, you can remove stains by rubbing all over the shoe a little sponge soaked in milk and well squeezed, let the shoe dry and then apply the cream with a specific small brush (often included in the package of the product).
- Let the product air dry: heat forbidden! As said above, high temperature could damage leather.
DO NOT MAUL LEATHER
Keep your leather goods away from abrasive surfaces and sharp objects: they could cause scratches, which usually are hard - if not impossible - to fix.
A common women’s habit is placing the wallet inside the bag, which normally contains keys, pens and other pointy stuff. Dear women, put your wallet in the pocket of your bag: there, your leather good will be safe and sound. Avoid pressure and torsion: store your leather jacket with care with the appropriate hanger, do not throw it among the pile of clothes inside your wardrobe or on the seatback of a chair.
Do not overload the slots of your wallet with too many cards: this could damage the compartments or tear stiches.
Using a shoehorn to put shoes on and take them off is highly suggested to avoid damages on the back side of the shoe. Lastly, do not store your leather wallet in the back pocket of your trousers: if women have the bad habit of putting leather goods into the bag, in contact with sharp objects, men use to sit on their beloved wallets. Dear men, you should store your billfold in your jacket pocket or, at least, remember to remove it from the back pocket of your trousers before sitting down.
Following this simple care advice could be useful to preserve leather from wear and tear and will transform your leather goods in travel companions of your journey through life.