The Importance of Conditioning Leather

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Many people love the style and professionalism that leather brings to most outfits. Leather tote bags are a great choice because, similar to leather luggage, they look good and hold up well over time. While it’s true that leather is very strong, real leather requires a certain amount of conditioning to keep it looking nice and functioning at its peak. This means that as leather bags are used, they should also be cleaned and conditioned on occasion in order to retain their stylish look and strength.

What Does it Do?
Cleaning and conditioning leather serves a very practical purpose. Since leather is skin, it needs to be treated like skin; it needs moisture to retain strength and elasticity. If left untreated, leather can dry out and become more susceptible to damage like cracking, fading, or shrinking in some cases. How often the leather needs to be cleaned and conditioned depends on the product and the type of weather or abuse it is exposed to. Leather shoes worn in harsh conditions may need to be treated as much as once per week. Leather bags might only need to be treated once every two or three months.

Cleaning Leather
Some types of soil on leather can simply be wiped off with just a damp cloth. Other stains might require a little more work. Here are some simple leather cleaning ideas:
  • For general cleaning, use a mild soap and a damp cloth. 
  • Lather it on the leather, then buff it to make it shine. Do not rinse. 
  • Moisten leather to get rid of water spots and let it air dry. 
  • Use equal parts lemon juice and cream of tartar to get spots off of leather 
  • Use equal parts water and white vinegar to get off road salt
Whenever the leather requires drying, let it air dry. Avoid putting it in the sun to dry, as this can fade and ultimately damage it. After the leather materials are clean, they can be conditioned.

Conditioning Leather
To keep leather looking and feeling supple, it should be conditioned regularly. A commercial conditioner should work just fine. In most cases, all that is needed is a soft cloth and the conditioner. Put a small amount of conditioner on the cloth and slowly buff it into the leather evenly. If it is the first time that the conditioner has been used on the leather, be sure to start by using it on a small, inconspicuous part of the leather. For best results, the conditioner should probably be water-based with a balanced pH formula.

Leather tote bags can be beautiful accessories that need a little care. Since leather is skin, it requires moisture to retain its properties. Regular cleaning and conditioning of leather is a great way to keep it supple and strong. There are a lot of commercial conditioners and home recipes available for leather. Whatever conditioner is used, take the time to make sure that it won’t end up accidentally damaging or staining the leather. It is common for leather to darken when it is conditioned, so keep this in mind as well. For bags, conditioning the leather every two to three months should keep it looking fresh.

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