Caring for Your Leather Accessories

A few people have asked me lately, "What's the best way to clean leather?" I find this to be difficult to answer because without knowing what kind of leather, and what I am cleaning off of it, I really can't say. There are a few do's and don't's to cleaning leather though, so I thought I would share some basic principals and tell you all how to take care of your Hide and Buckler accessories. 
  1. Don't use water. I can't stress this enough. Water is a universal solvent. It turns dirt into mud and when that dries it becomes clay/cement. When you put water on leather, you accelerate the process of the leather breaking down. Leather, being an organic material is decaying. We want that decay to happen as slowly as possible. With care, leather can last hundreds of years. With abuse and improper care, you can destroy it in a day. Don't use water.
  2. Use alcohol. Not the good stuff. Leave the Grey Goose on the shelf. Use normal rubbing alcohol. Alcohol breaks down dirt and grease, but evaporates very fast, so it won't have time to drastically change the leather (though it may dull the finish a little). I like using 90% or higher. It evaporates faster. Get a spray nozzle (most are the same size) and screw it right onto the alcohol bottle. Spray onto a microfiber cloth (not the leather) and rub the dirt away.
  3. Recondition after cleaning. The alcohol can dry the leather which can make it brittle. You have to add some moisture back in to make it supple again. I like using a product called Cadillac Leather Cleaner for Hide and Buckler bracelets and accessories. Like the alcohol, put a small amount on a microfiber cloth and rub it into the leather like a lotion. Then buff it out with a dry part of the cloth. 
  4. Finish with a water and stain protectant such as Kelly's Waterproofing Spray. Use in a well ventilated area. Spray a light coat and let dry for 5-10 minutes, then repeat with a second coat. Finally, buff with a microfiber cloth.

And there you have it. Take care.

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