3 "whys" of leather care
Many of us may remember seeing how our mothers used to keep her leather purse safely in the drawer, keeping it away from direct sunlight, water and dirt. The purse was their prized possessions. Thinking about how they took such good care of that leather purse might put many of us to shame with what we had done with ours.
Like it or not, leather is prevalent in our lives now. Shoes, bags, gloves, boots, belts, and the list goes on. We suggest treating it nicely as if it's your own skin. Leather will retain its appearance and its functionality if it is correctly maintained.
Some people like to preserve their leather so that it will always look as new as possible, but there’s also another school of thought where when a rich layer of patina (worn look) is developed on the leather, it will give it another life of its own.
No matter your preference, we believe that a well looked after and aged piece of leather will be as beautiful as a new one and with more character because nothing looks better than the patina of a piece of leather that has been well cared for over the years!
Why do we need to periodically dress or condition our valuable leather items? Let's get a little technical here...
Over time, the emollients and oils that were originally tumbled into the leather fibres at the tannery gradually dry out, assisted by harsh climatic conditions such as those experienced in most parts of Australia. The leather begins to get dry and stiff again and so these oils need to be periodically replenished to rejuvenate and keep the leather supple and strong.
Petroleum and mineral oils, although lubricating, do not penetrate as deeply as emulsion type dressings, and they need to lubricate unevenly and are prone to darken leather. To avoid these problems, it is advisable to choose an emulsion type cream conditioner that will penetrate well, leaving no greasy residue trapped in stitching, be easy to use and be clean on clothing.
Neglected or badly dried out leather may initially need a couple of conditioning applications to restore suppleness. However, oiling or conditioning leather too often can soften it too much.
Wear and tear from frequent use. We use products that are made of leather so often that we seldom even notice it. Unknowingly, we subject them to abuse more than any other items that we have in our wardrobe. Dirt, dust, water, and grease get onto our leather bags, shoes, etc. Cleaning and conditioning the leather will ensure that they stay supple and resist water penetration.
Nourishment needed. Leather, just like our skin, needs nourishment. Without us giving it the attention it needs, it will dry out, crack, and be damaged in so many ways. When leather loses its natural oil and moisture, its fiberous structure will change. Flexibility will be affected and once this happens, you will lose your leather. Nourishing it and giving it moisture will prolong the life of your leather.
Our surroundings. Spores of fungi and bacteria are ever present in our air. High humidity, warm temperature and poor ventilation can provide the best condition for mould and mildew growth on your leather which can be aided further with soiling, residues and stains. Remember, protecting your leather even before it gets stained or spoilt is essential.
So, Mum was right (although not sufficiently so) about taking care of her leather purse after all.
Our surrounding is lurking with possibilities to wear and tear our leather. So protect your leather before it's too late.