Caring for leather is essential for those who love the look and feel of their leather goods after purchase. If left untreated over time, leather can dry out and crack. This is because leather is crafted from animal hide, a strong but particular material. When leather isn't moisturized it will gradually dry out. While many prefer the look of worn-in leather, many others diligently clean and condition their leather for that brand new appeal. With top tier leathers like those we use here at Bosca, you'll want to protect your leather goods to extend their lifespan, as well as increase water resistance and prevent cracking. From water damage to the best methods of storage, here are our recommendations on how to care for leather.
Water and Moisture
There will come a time when your leather gets wet, either from the rain, a spilled drink, and dozens of other situations. Attending to the affected area will help ensure the leather is kept protected. Blot it dry and allow it to finish drying naturally. We strongly recommend that you don't attempt to speed up the process by placing your leather in the sun or in front of a heater. When heated quickly, wet leather can shrink and dry out, which could lead to cracking. Instead, allow your leather to dry on its own, even if that takes several days. For leather bags, stuff newspaper inside them to preserve the original shape. If you've just conditioned your leather, be sure to not use it again until completely dry. If you'll be storing it, choose a ventilated and cool space away from sunlight.
What about water resistance? Choose a quality leather wax to apply periodically depending on the frequency of your use. Wax goes on easily and quickly, acting as a protective barrier for genuine leather against water damage. Keep in mind that wax cannot be used with suede leather, as it's much too fragile. It will work fine on all other genuine leathers. For additional water resistance, condition your leather.
Addressing Leather Age
Over time and with use, your leather goods will begin to dry out. Have you ever seen an old, incredibly cracked and worn leather chair? This became so because it was not tended to properly over the years. You can offset the effects of aging by conditioning your quality leather with a wax or cream product. Conditioners, unlike wax, do not have the shine factor. Instead, they replenish moisture into the leather to keep it soft and beautiful. It'll keep your leather protected from drying out and cracking – two things that can ruin your investment of high-quality leather goods. Using a damp cloth, apply a natural or neutral colored conditioner in a small area on your leather to test out how it affects the color. If you approve after 24 hours, condition the rest of the leather and wipe off the excess. Many condition every few months, but depending on your personal taste, you can go up to almost a year.
Everyday Leather Grime
From leather wallets and purses to backpacks and duffle bags, these items will accumulate dirt, dust, and small stains from everyday use. If not taken care of immediately, these abrasive particles could lead to premature aging. An easy way to address this is with a simple damp cloth. Gently wipe your leather off every week to rid your leather of grime. Just like skin, the oils and residues from your hands will transfer to the leather. For stains, you can enlist the aid of a leather cleaner from a reputable source.
For handbags, purses, briefcases, and shoes, you may wish to polish them for that great leather shine. Many polishes offer moisturizing benefits, so having a nice polish on hand will allow you to keep the aesthetics of your leather at its best.
Best Methods of Storing Leather Goods
When your leather is not in use, it should be properly stored. If possible avoid areas where direct sunlight, heat, and humidity could be present. The sun's rays and heat can easily alter the look of leather, changing the color and drying it out. The spot you choose for your leather goods should also be ventilated. Any presence of moisture in the air when your leather is in a tight space—like in a plastic bag—could invite mold growth and rot. Choose an open area on a shelf or store in a fabric bin. This means your garage is not an ideal location, but a bedroom or storage closet will work instead. Just be sure these areas aren't so full that your leather has no room to breathe.
There is much to gain from taking great care of your leather apparel, accessories, and other goods. Not only will you be able to keep them looking, feeling, and functioning well, but you'll also innately preserve the craftsmanship that went into creating your leather. At Bosca, our goods are of the highest quality, designed and crafted by hand by our artisans. Maintain the excellence of our goods by tending to them as needed. Clean, condition, and waterproof your leather as often as your environment and usage require. Whichever products you choose from your leather, ensure they're free of toxic chemicals, synthetics, and additives, as these can damage your leather over time. If you're a new genuine leather owner, know that even with the utmost attention to maintenance, your leather will change as it ages. While you can slow the effects of it, aging is what makes leather timeless. Like bronze metal, genuine leather patinas, meaning it darkens with age. This gives your leather bag, briefcase, purse, or other item that undeniable character and air of sophistication.