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Leather Care

There are various types and grades of leather, each serving a different purpose. Some require a bit more maintenance than others, but all follow a set of instructions to ensure a longer life.
To clean a leather item, first choose a cleaner that will help preserve the natural lubricating oils instead of stripping them. For example, saddle soap is a commonly used product for equestrian tack. It is meant to be used as a cleaner and a protector from moisture, but it strips the leather of the oils in the process of attempting to do two jobs at once. The cleaner of your choice should not leave any greasy residue behind. Residue makes leather susceptible to bacteria and can break down the stitching of your item. Before applying anything to your leather item, be certain to test it out for effect and possible color distortion on an area that is not visible to the eye. Once you have ascertained whether the leather care product is acceptable to use, apply it to your item. With a slightly dampened cloth, remove the cleaning product. For areas with stitches, there are brushes available in the market. Another cleaning product to consider having in your leather care collection is a nubuck cleaning cloth. They have an astonishing ability to clean and restore leather to its original look.
Leather conditioners are meant for occasional use. They contain fats & oils that help lubricate leather and replenish the suppleness. Look for a product that will penetrate the strong fibers in leather, but beware of any that include petroleum or mineral oils. While petroleum by-products would not damage your leather immediately, they do over a period of time. Again, just as with cleaning, keep on the look out for thick, greasy conditioning treatments for the best care of your leather.
Polishing is done for special occasions when you want a more glossy finish on your leather. There are a couple of things to be kept in mind while purchasing a polishing agent. Some products contain coloring factors that will brush off things you come in contact with. Some products also have a tendency to clog the pores in leather or dry out leather. Just as with cleaning, be sure to test out the product on a small area and when ready, buff to a shine.
Moisture barriers are extremely crucial in preventing rain or other liquid hazards from damaging leather. Stiffness and spouting will happen if leather is not protected. There is a drawback in protecting leather with a moisture barrier product. They tend to fill in the pores with a greasiness that makes cleaning, conditioning, and polishing difficult, but it is a necessary process to ensure leather is not destroyed. Periodically apply a moisture barrier and allow it to penetrate for a sufficient period of time and dry before using your leather item.
Removing Mildew
To remove mildew from leather, create a mixture of one-cup rubbing alcohol per one-cup of water. Wipe the mildew area with a cloth dipped in the diluted alcohol, then allow it to dry. If the mildew persists, use mild soap and water that contains a germicide, then remove with a clean moist cloth and allow to dry.
Wet Leather
An important key to keep leather in topnotch condition is to treat wet leather before drying. Remove any dirt, mud or other stains with a cleaning agent, then condition while the pores are still fully responsive. It is critical to remember that leather should be dried away from heat. For leather garments, it is a good idea to stuff the garment to retain shape.
Storing Leather
Remember that leather is a natural material and should never be stored in plastic because it encourages the growth of mildew and bacteria and will ruin the leather. Always store leather in a cool, dry place away from heat. Store leather garments in a breathable bag.
Removing Stains
Fresh stains from Leather Products such as blood and food can be cleaned up quickly with a moist cloth. Stains of oil & grease can be lifted by grinding ordinary blackboard chalk, sprinkling on the area and leaving the powder on product for twenty-four hour period. Resist the urge to rub the powder. After a sufficient period of time, simply use a leather care brush to remove the powder. Fresh stains can be treated and cleaned at home while ground-in stains should be removed by a professional cleaner who deals in leather.



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