Leather at the end of the day, is skin. So to prevent mildew and rot, it needs to breathe and be exposed to ventilation. It is natural for air to pass through leather, which allows moisture to evaporate naturally. But this process can’t happen if your leather is all sealed up. So remember never to store or transport it in something like a plastic grocery bag (don't worry, we've made that mistake so you don't have to!). It's always better to use the storage/ travel bag the item comes with, or some kind of breathable fabric.
Pro Tip: Pillowcases are a simple answer. They work great for bags, and other accessories.
Another important tip. Keep leather away from direct sunlight/heat. If you get caught in a rain storm, or experience a major spillage, or leak. It can be tempting to throw your item in front of the heater, or even take your ladies hair dryer to it to speed things up. But take our word for it, that's never the answer. Just like skin and other materials, when leather gets waterlogged and then quickly heated, it can dry out too fast and shrink. It's always better to let it dry naturally, even if it that means leaving it alone for a couple of days.
As a general habit. It's generally better to keep leather out of direct sunlight when you're not using it. Leather naturally fades over time, but sunlight will speed that process up. It can also bring on cracks due to dryness. So it's better to find a darker place with some humidity. But again, remember it needs to have some air flow so that you don't risk mildew forming.
The power of a damp cloth. When in doubt, a damp cloth is the minimalistic mans age old, but very reliable leather care method. Since leather is so naturally durable anyway, giving it a wipe down once a week (without soap - its chemicals ruin the leather over time) will help to keep it clean from dirt and dust (these seemingly harmless undercover culprits cause premature wear and tear). If you refuse to do anything else, this is the way to go.
Waterproofing. Generally speaking, leather doesn’t need it. Most modern leather goods come treated (to some degree or another) with some level of waterproofing agent. In most climates and conditions, your leather will hold up just fine to rain, snow and sleet. But if you’re someone who’s regularly out in deep snow, or in heavy rain, then you should waterproof - and even then, it’s more for the contents of the leather item (your feet, your laptop, or body) rather than the leather item itself. If you’re unsure about waterproofing (or have any other questions in regards to caring for your item), just shoot us a message and we can tell you what level treatment it already has, and if it will need additional care based on your intended activities and uses.
Considerations for Specific Leather Goods
Bags, Wallets & Accessories. Your primary concern here is to resist the temptation to over-fill these items. Once misshapen, leather isn’t able to bounce back to its original glory. Bags generally need less treatment than shoes for example. But it’s definitely still in your best interests to wipe them down regularly, and condition every 6-12 months.
Jackets need a bit more care than bags. You’ll want to wipe them down after a few wears, and condition every 6 months or so (if worn regularly). The biggest thing to keep an eye out for is how the item looks; if it feels dry and you see small cracks forming, give it some TLC. With leather jackets, you really want to hold onto that soft and supple feel, so look for lanolin-based products - Saddle soap is one recognised industry stand out. Also consider getting leather jackets professionally cleaned around every 12 months; if you live in a major city, you should be able to find a specialty leather cleaner. Since jackets have more square footage of leather to keep up with in comparison to most other products, keep them in your rolodex. A professional will have your back in case you miss anything in your own cleaning and conditioning routine.
A good routine is the key to caring for your leather goods. In most cases, these 3 easy steps will get you right where you need to be:
✥ 1-2 times per week. Wipe your leather down with a damp cloth (use your judgment and reasoning to alter this based on use and accumulated dirt and grime).
✥ Every 3-6 months. Condition your leather (again, use your judgment and reasoning to increase this depending on the environment and season).
✥ Once a year. You also have the option to waterproof. If your lifestyle/ environment calls for it, then by all means go that extra mile.
In closing, and as mentioned above, the most foolproof way to delay premature ageing in any leather product, is to give it a regular wipe-down with a damp cloth, or paper towel. Even if you do nothing else, you can rely on this simple step to get you through. Leather products waste no time in accumulating dust, dirt, and countless other abrasive particles which will all cause premature wear and tear. Preserve and slow down that process by wiping them down weekly, or even immediately after especially hard single uses.
For any questions about leather care, or any of the info above shoot us a message. We'd be more than happy to help.