By Willow Enright
Fall is just around the corner, and it’s time to pull out all your favorite leather items in preparation for cooler temperatures. It’s important to clean, rejuvenate, and condition your leather goods regularly. The more you use them, the more care you should give them. The fall is a perfect time to give your favorite leather a round of loving care. I’m going to demonstrate how to do this with my puppy Lando’s leather Martingale collar. We recently went camping and Lando definitely gave his leather collar a run through the mud and elements. So, it was time to clean it and bring it back to life!
This collar was pretty caked with dirt and it required a damp cloth wipe down before using a leather cleaner. I used Chamberlain’s Leather Milk Formula No. 2, the straight cleaner. Applying a generous amount onto the sponge, use circular motions to work the cleaner into the leather. Since this is an unlined dog collar I also cleaned the inside of the leather collar in the same way. Once you give it a good scrub down, let it dry before deciding if you need another round of cleaning. I repeated the process twice before I felt that it was clean enough.
After cleaning the leather and letting it dry, it’s time to rejuvenate it! Another Chamberlain’s Leather Milk Formula No. 1, leather care liniment for rejuvenating the leather. Using a different sponge apply the same technique of liquid on the sponge and circular motions in order to work the cream into the leather. This process will darken your leather somewhat as it helps to replenish the natural oils in the leather. Since Lando’s collar was extremely dirty and required that I use a damp cloth as well as two rounds of the straight cleaner, I gave both sides of the leather a healthy amount of cream. Let it dry completely before moving onto the final conditioning.
Once you have cleaned the dirt and rejuvenated the natural oils in the leather, you can condition the leather to help protect it. I then used Chamberlain’s Leather Milk Formula No. 3, to penetrate the oils and waxes, as it rejuvenates the leather. It does this in such a way as to deeply condition leather while making it rather water-resistant. Some finished leathers will be much more water-resistant after application while a natural finished leather will actually absorb more of the recipe and become a bit less water-resistant. As the oils in the leather evaporate and the waxes wear off of the leather over time, the leather will become less water-resistant. How long that takes will depend on the exposure conditions and the type of leather. If you use it once a year then an annual ritual is plenty, however if you use it daily in the rain then once a month is better.
If you don’t have that many leather items and don’t want to spend $70-80 on supplies that will just sit in your closet until you forget why you bought them, I don’t blame you. This is where getting to know your local leather worker, researching their methods, looking at examples of previous works, can really save you some money. So dig out that leather jacket and have it cleaned just in time for Fall.
Just let your friend believe that your leather jacket is new, I won’t tell if you wont.
I started crafting out of leather in 2011, and now I am making it my life's work. I am writing this blog to help myself remember some of the small steps in past projects, sharing my triumphs and failures, as well as my love of leather.
|Leather Works by Willow||