How To Condition Your Fine Leather

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High quality leather products are a great investment. They may be very expensive, but they are definitely worth every penny. That’s why it’s very important to keep them clean and protected at all times. Although leather is a very durable material, it can be damaged without proper care. If you want your precious leather products to last a long time, then using a leather conditioner should be a priority.

Why use a conditioner on your leather products?

Conditioning lubricates leather fibres.

Fibres on a tanned leather hide randomly criss-cross each other. They fit together and flex in harmony. This arrangement gives the leather strength and flexibility we all admire. However, when those fibres dry out, they act like little saws tearing at each other. 

A good leather conditioner essentially soaks up the fibres with lubricating oils and moisture, helping them fit and flex with each other. 

However, you shouldn’t condition your leather items too often. Leather fibres can only absorb a certain amount of lubrication. At more than 25 percent moisture, fibres will swell up causing serious damage to your leather. 

Conditioning protects leather surface from stains.

Many people prefer leather products with very little finish to show off the material’s natural beauty. However, exposed leather fibres are more prone to damage because they absorb more moisture. 

Applying a good leather conditioning product on the surface adds a protective layer on top of the leather fibres.

Conditioning can enhance the patina of your leather.

Aside from protecting leather from damage, leather conditioners or conditioning oils can give your leather bags a unique look. Over time, leather develops a natural gorgeous finish known as patina. With a variety of conditioning products you can use, you can give your bag a its own unique look. 
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Types of conditioners

Conditioning cremes. These products nourish and moisturise your leather with very minimal effect on the material’s colour. However, you need to pre-test your product on a small, hidden area before applying it on the entire area of your item. Observe for any changes in colour after an hour. These products will not only condition leather fibres, it will also provide some degree of protection to the surface of your leather.

Conditioning oils. These products soften and nourish your leather goods. However, They don’t provide as much surface protection compared to other products.

Avoid using home products like olive oil for your leather goods. The wrong type of oil can make your leather feel oily or slippery and even become rancid. 

Products widely accepted as conditioning oils for leather goods include lanolin, mink oil, and neadsfoot oil. All have different unique properties that can influence the look of your leather. 

Wax conditioners. While they are not absorbed as deeply into the leather compared to other products, they offer superior protection from liquids and dirt. Some leather products come pre-waxed and should ideally be re-waxed one or two times a year. Other leather products are left unwaxed and can be given a unique patina by waxing them yourself.

General rules:

  • Don’t put conditioner directly onto your leather. Instead, use a soft, lint free cloth.
  • Rub the conditioner evenly using circular motion.
  • Buff your leather using soft, dry cloth after conditioning.
  • Allow the leather to dry for a few hours before use.
  • Normally, leather should be conditioned two times a year. However, if you live in a warm climate or use your bag under direct sunlight often, you can condition your bag three or four times a year.

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