There it is, your brand spanking new Heistercamp purchase. Even there, in the box, you know that this is going to stick with you through thick and thin for the years to come. But for that to happen, it might be worth learning how to care for leather. With the right know-how, your leather goods can last a lifetime. So, get yourself a cuppa, pull up a chair and pay close attention…
Wet and Dry: We all know leather as one of the strongest materials around. But as strong and sturdy as it may be, even leather has its kryptonite. Lack of crucial moisture poses the ultimate, life-shortening threat to your new purchase. Heed these words to learn how to care for leather:
Natural drying: Speeding up the drying process when leather gets wet might seem like a good idea at first, but the number one rule to follow if this happens is to chill out. Put down the hairdryer, and get your leather away from the radiator. Both of these can be catastrophic for the soft and supple nature of the fabric, making it turn brittle and hard. So, how do you care for leather that gets wet, then? The answer is as simple as hanging it up at room temperature, and then ordering yourself a takeaway. (The takeaway is optional, but it will probably help).
Keep it out of the sun: Just as it can affect us humans, sunlight is out to get leather. It can dry and crack the material, speeding up the ageing process and fading the colour, too. In particular, UV rays are responsible for this, so even when it’s cloudy out, it’s possible for your leather to be damaged. In sunlight, the fabric will lose moisture and essential oils that have been embedded in the materials to preserve it and make it last as long as possible. The best method for combating this? Keep it out of direct sunlight.
Moisturise: Even if you’re not sunbathing in your leather belt, the material can still become hard and uncompromising. This is more likely to occur when the product is fresh from the craftsmen, or from general humidity and dryness in the air. If you want to care for leather, then try wearing it in, just as you would a new pair of shoes. Better yet, give it some moisturiser to replenish the pores and keep them from dehydration. There are tons of great leather conditioners out there too; make use of these should your leather start to feel or look dry.
Storage: Store your leather goods in a cool, dry place. Minimise temperature changes, and ensure that water can’t get in. Do that and you’re pretty much an expert on how to care for leather already. Too much moisture can also cause mildew to grow on the natural material – not a great look. Hanging it up straight will avoid any damage or bending from improper storage.
Cleaning: A slightly damp cloth should be enough to clean off any dirt or stickiness. If not, use gentle vegetable-based soaps sparingly. As a general rule, washing machines are best avoided!
Scratches: If you ask us, the nicks and scratches that leather goods receive over time only add to their personality. But if you’re looking for a little touch-up, a high-quality leather dressing containing a dye (i.e. renovating polish) can be rubbed in to minimise the appearance of any scratches. Always test in an inconspicuous place first, just in case the dressing affects the leather.
There. That wasn’t so bad.
Learning how to care for leather, and implementing these nifty tricks, may require a little time and effort, but it is certainly a worthwhile investment, which extends the life of your goods. Remember Gremlins? It’s like that. Don’t give them sunlight, don’t let them get wet (and then dry them too quickly), and don’t feed them after midnight. Never feed them after midnight.