With proper care, your leather goods can last a lifetime. Here are a few tips to keep your leather looking fresh.
- Buff your leather with a soft cloth. If it's a little dirty, a few gentle wipes with a soft damp cloth can often clean it up. Microfibre works or even a soft old t-shirt.
Oiling your leather is key in keeping it soft and supple. Remember, leather is skin so it needs to be rehydrated once in a while to restore its softness. Ideally, you'll want some type of natural leather balm, like Smith's, made from cocoa butter and beeswax to condition your leather.
Tip: Try the oil in a small inconspicuous area first. Any oil will darken your leather but air drying for 24 hours or so will lighten it up again.
- Another option to leather balm is straight oil. I use neatsfoot oil, which you can pick up pretty cheap from any leather store. It's made from cow bones and feet so it won't harm your leather over time like some other oils. Simply rub it on with a soft cloth or old t-shirt, buff it out, and allow it to dry. Mink oil is a good option too.
Avoid salt water wherever possible. Most people won't be going swimming with their leather wallet, but salt water can dry out dog collars and tarnish hardware. Salt sucks out moisture, so you'll want to clean and re-hydrate your leather if it's exposed to salt.
- Don't put your leather in the washing machine. Just don't.
- Don't freak out about scratches. I think they add to the character of the leather and contribute to the leather's patina. One way to minimize the appearance of scratches is leather balm or oil. Basically, just like skin, hydration is key.