How To: Properly Care for Your Leather
You've shelled out a fair amount of money on that new pair or Red Wings boots. Or you've just snagged up a Bison Made Wallet. Both designed with the closest attention to detail, and highest level quality. Although these products are designed to last a lifetime, they still require your attention and care. And yes, we agree-- that natural wear and tear looks great! Conditioning and protecting your leather just ensures it ages properly, and looks great for years to come.
What you'll need:
Conditioner: Conditioner, once applied, remains breathable and flexible-- this will prevent drying and cracking, all while nourishing the leather, maintaining suppleness, and restoring lost nutrients. If you ever use soap to clean your leather, always apply a conditioner afterwards. Soap will strip moisture from the leather, leaving it dry and susceptible to cracking.
How to apply:
First, clean leather with a saddle soap (or other mild soap) and let it dry completely. Then apply a generous amount of conditioner with a clean rag, paying close attention to seams and other areas showing heavy wear and tear. Let the conditioner soak in. If you wait long enough, it will more than likely completely absorb. If you were overly generous, remove any excess conditioner. If it's been a while since your last conditioning, or it is your first time, plan to do a few coats. Then, re-apply often. Use your judgement when it comes to frequency. If you're like us, you're constantly participating in the great outdoors. In this case, condition your leather more frequently.
Wax: Shoe wax is best used for polishing, finishing and protecting. This helps leather goods deal with harsh elements like the cold, rain and snow. Not a bad thing for those of us who call Minnesota home. And it also makes it look great. It will cover scuffs and fill scratches, all while sealing and protecting the leather. Basically, it creates a protective layer, helping to waterproof the leather. In a nutshell, it seals moisture in, and keeps water out.
How to apply:
First off, make sure you are using a color of wax that closely matches the color of your leather. Then, if it is the first time applying a particular wax, test a small area that is inconspicuous, to ensure you are satisfied with the look and finish. A brush works great, but if you don't have one, no problem. A clean, soft rag will do the trick. Before application, make sure your leather is warm, not cold. You do not need to heat the leather, but like our skin, leather has pores. Being slightly warm will open these pores, and excel absorbancy. Use the brush or cloth to apply a thin and even layer. Application should be done using a circular motion, making sure all seems are covered. A couple layers will work best. Then, remove excess wax and let sit at room temperature for at least a few hours. Finally, with a clean brush or cloth, buff the leather until a light shine is achieved. Like the conditioner, if you're spending time in the outdoors, and your leather goods receive heavy use, re-wax often.
As a general rule of thumb, you should apply leather conditioning after every second or third waxing.
As far as what type of product to use, we prefer Armstrong's "all natural" products? Armstrong's products are made of only a few simple and straightforward ingredients. They never use artificial or synthetic ingredients and never use ingredients derived from petroleum. They use U.S. grown pine tree sap that is distilled into turpentine, ethically gathered beeswax, organic carnauba wax and common earth mineral pigments for their leather waxes.