Leather Care - To Care or Not To Care?

Leather Care - To Care or Not To Care?

“To care?”

One of the first questions our customers often ask us after purchasing a beloved leather accessory is, ‘What do I do now? How can I protect & care for it?” There is a certain element of fear involved in caring for leather (most likely related to how much you may have just spent) and knowing what on earth to do to keep it looking as good as the day you bought it.

Leather is skin, so just like our skin it is susceptible to scratches, nicks, cuts, stains, dehydration & soiling. The most common issue we see with leather goods that haven’t been protected with the right leather care and haven’t been particularly treated with the utmost kindness or common sense is discolouration and embedded dirt. We have at times been unable to decipher what the original colour of a wallet may have even been as over time, from the naturally occurring oils on our hands plus dirt and grime from table tops, benches and wherever else you may choose to place your wallet or bag (please, not on the floor!!) this oil and dirt becomes embedded in the leather just as dirt and oils become trapped in the pores of our skin. Sometimes you may be able to improve the appearance by washing with a soft cloth or very soft brush and warm soapy water (mild soap or detergent is recommended) but this can also remove the colour of the leather *sigh* and often it is too late to remove all of the soiling at this point. So what to do?!

Our number one recommendation is from day 1, before you even start using your wallet or bag, treat it with a natural leather sealant. This will protect from moisture, oils and dirt by coating the leather with a fine protective layer and it will nourish and condition the leather too. It will need re-applying regularly and a patch test is recommended first, (which takes us a little further on to the other side of the debate) but first here is a quick low down on basic leather care and what you should do to keep your investment looking amazing year after year….

1. Always avoid direct sunlight (obviously a short stroll outside in the sun is fine) Sunlight will fade the colour of leather and also dry it out after prolonged exposure.

2. Treat your leather piece with more care in general than you would a synthetic bag. Leather is durable but it is also a natural product and isn’t indestructible. Don’t overload wallets with coins and cards, doing carry huge loads in your handbag, don’t throw your bag into the corner at the end of the day or drag it along the ground :O

3. Don’t get your leather piece wet. By treating with a sealant, you will be giving the best chance of protection against moisture, however if you are caught in a down pour or your water bottle explodes or some unforeseen circumstance occurs which causes your leather to become wet, the best thing is to allow it to air dry slowly. Don’t use hair dryers or any other heating device as it may cause heat damage and also shrinkage of the leather if it dries too quickly.

4. And of course, as we suggest, treat with a natural leather sealant to protect and nourish your leather and give it the best chance at growing old gracefully from the start.  May leather care products are petroleum based and contain nasty chemical additives, however natural products will give a superior result, just as they do for our own skin.

…‘or not to care?’

I personally have chosen not to treat one of my leather pieces for the simple fact that all leather care products can cause darkening and a change in the leather colour in some instances (not all), but in the case of my bag, a patch test revealed that the nice medium tan colour would be turned to a very dark brown. That is why a patch test is most definitely recommended. However I do take extra care with this bag, to the point of ensuring my hands are always clean and never or even slightly dirty when I use it and I never place it on any surface other than my car seat and my lap. I'm aware of removing even the slightest bit of condensation immediately from it's surface and treat it as I would any valuable item I've invested in.  So in fact by choosing ‘not to care’ with this particular piece, I am in fact having to care more!

There is a wealth of information available online relating to leather care and of course we’re always happy to try and answer any questions or concerns you may have so feel free to drop us a line at hello@empireofbees.com.au or via our social pages.

We have a range of all natural leather care on our site from our good friends at Kingdom Wax and until 30 June 2018, you can receive 20% off these products simply by entering the code TOCARE at the checkout.