Leather is a durable, attractive material that can be used to make furniture, clothing, and accessories. However, over time leather can become hard and stiff due to exposure to the elements or even just age. Fortunately, there are several ways you can soften your leather so it looks as good as new! In this blog post we'll discuss how to understand how leather is made and how it hardens; choose the right product for softening your leather; prepare the surface before softening; apply conditioner or oil; allow time for absorption; use a damp cloth to remove excess product from the surface of your item; and buff with a dry cloth for an extra shine. Read on to learn how you can keep your favorite leather items looking great!
Understand How Leather is Made and How it Hardens
Before you begin the leather softening process, it’s important to understand how leather is made and how it hardens. The leather starts out as an animal hide that has been tanned and treated with chemicals to prepare it for use. During this process, the fibers of the hide start to form a flexible material known as “leather”. Over time, the leather can become hard and stiff due to age or exposure to the elements.
Choose the Right Product for Softening your Leather
When it comes to softening your leather items, you want to make sure that you choose a product specifically designed for leather conditioning. You can find these products at most department stores or online stores like Amazon. Look for a product that is specifically designed to soften, condition, and protect the leather. We like Fiebing's Leather Balm with Atom Wax for most Everyday Carry items. For shoes and boots, you may want to go for Mink Oil which can come in either liquid form or in the form of a paste. Other conditioners or balms you can try include Lexol leather conditioner, Lexol pH-Balanced Leather Conditioner and Protector, or Chamberlain’s Leather Milk.
Prepare the Surface Before Softening
Before you begin softening your leather items, it’s important to properly prepare the surface. Start by cleaning the item with a mild soap and water solution to remove any dirt or debris from the surface. Once the item is clean and dry, use a soft cloth to buff away any loose particles or dirt that may have been left behind.
Apply Conditioner or Oil
Once the surface of your leather item is prepped and ready, it’s time to apply a conditioner or oil. Depending on the product you choose, you may need to apply the conditioner or oil with a brush or soft cloth. Make sure to follow the instructions on the product’s label to ensure proper application.
Allow Time for Absorption
Once you have applied your conditioner or oil, it’s important to allow time for absorption. This can take anywhere from minutes to hours depending on how thick the product is. Most products will indicate how long you need to wait before proceeding with the next step.
Use a Damp Cloth to Remove Excess Product
Once your leather item has had ample time for absorption, use a damp cloth to wipe away any excess conditioner or oil from the surface. Make sure to do this gently so as to not damage the leather’s surface.
Buff with a Dry Cloth for an Extra Shine
Finally, use a dry cloth to buff your leather item for an extra shine. This will help protect the surface and keep it looking like new!
How Often Should You Condition the Leather?
It’s recommended that you condition your leather item once every six months to a year depending on how often it is used and how much exposure it has to the elements. If you live in an area with extreme climates or your leather items are exposed to water frequently, then you may need to condition them more often.
We hope this how-to guide on how to soften leather was helpful for you. If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to us!
We wish you the best of luck in taking care of your favorite leather items. With just a few simple steps, you’ll be able to keep them looking like new for years to come. Good luck!
Photo by Kira auf der Heide on Unsplash