Leather could easily be part of our everyday life, yet could be one of the most neglected items. Just as we often reach out to moisturize our hands when it feels dry, our leathers need as much care as we can give them. Be it a leather bag or leather shoes, if you want your leather to last, you must clean and moisturize it to maintain its original look.
One way to maintain your leather is to make sure your leather is regularly conditioned. Not only does a leather conditioner lubricates the leather, but it also protects the leather from stains and helps enhances the luster and patina of the leather. This works on all everything from leather journals to bags to backpacks.
You could get a good leather conditioner or you could effortlessly make it at home using the DIY methods. Here is a DIY method you can give a try.
- Measuring cup
- Measuring spoons
- Tins or heat-resistant plastic to hold and store the conditioner.
- Medium size saucepan
- Wooden spoons
- Coconut butter or shea butter. This helps condition the leather.
- This creates a protective wall for the leather. Remember to get solid beeswax.
- Sweet almond oil. This oil softens and moisturizes the leather. If you have a nut allergy, you can substitute grapeseed oil for almond oil.
- Castor or mineral oil. This adds ‘shine’ to the leather.
Steps to make a DIY leather conditioner
Measure out the ingredients needed. The coconut butter or shea butter should be 2 Tbsp, 2 Tbsp of beeswax, a quarter cup of sweet almond oil, and a quarter cup of castor oil.
Place the medium-sized saucepan over medium heat. Next, melt the butter and beeswax in the pan. Continue stirring to avoid burning or boiling.
Keep stirring the mixture and slowly add the sweet almond oil. Thus would cool the mix, causing lumps. So make sure to add it slowly, allowing the mixture to re-melt. Keep stirring the mixture to make sure it all blends in.
When you’re sure the mixture is fully blended, you can start adding the castor oil. This would make the mixture thicker than before, so you would need to make sure that it is well blended. Continue heating for at least 4 – 5 minutes, all the while making sure that it doesn’t boil.
Pour your mixture into empty tins or a heat-resistant plastic, whichever one you choose to use. Make sure to fill the tin to about 1/8 below the lip. After pouring the mixture, let to cool.
If your conditioner isn’t as firm as you want it to be, you can always adjust the ratio of your ingredients. Take note that more beeswax or butter will result in a firmer, paste-like conditioner, while more almond or castor oil will make it softer. This homemade leather conditioner is long-lasting, so you do not need to worry about it becoming spoilt.
This mixture can also be used as a basis for products like lip balm and oiled canvas. All you need to do is change up the ratio of the ingredients a little bit. Remember to always test spot your conditioner, be it homemade or otherwise, in an inconspicuous part of your leather before using. Check out this orange crossbody bag.
Benefits of a leather conditioner
A good leather conditioner should be able to do the following:
- Soften the leather.
- It should be able to condition the leather, making sure that it has a supple feel.
- It should be able to protect the leather from drying and cracking. It should also be able to protect the leather from dirt.
- It needs to bring out the natural luster of the leather.
- It should be able to degrease, as old leather can be pretty dirty.
How to apply the DIY leather conditioner
Before applying your leather conditioner, cleaning the leather first is very crucial. You do not want to get dust or any foreign particles get stuck in your leather when conditioning.
To clean, always use a soft cloth to wipe the dust away from the surface of the leather.
After wiping away the dust, use a leather cleaner first, before applying the conditioner. You can choose to purchase a leather cleaner or make one at home. An easy DIY homemade leather cleaner is mixing regular white vinegar with water. This mixture acts as a disinfectant and a cleaning agent at the same time.
- To apply your leather conditioner, put a small amount of your DIY conditioner on a clean soft cloth.
- Apply the conditioner in small circular motions, making sure to be careful with seams and corners. Do this until you’re sure the surface of the leather is fully covered.
- Use a soft dry cloth to burnish the surface of the leather. You need to always be attentive to the seams and corners.
- Always allow the leather to dry, away from sunlight or heat.
To always bring out the best of your leather products so they look as good as new, try conditioning every 2 – 6 months, depending on the climate. Remember, more humidity means less cleaning and vice versa.
Alternative DIY leather conditioner
An alternative DIY leather conditioner to use is natural baby soap. It might sound ridiculous but baby soap makes your leather soft. You don’t have to risk staining your leather doing this.
To make, just mix a spoonful of natural baby soap with water and add a few drops of vinegar to the mixture. Always remember to clean your leather first before conditioning. You want to make sure that you do not skip this part, or your whole conditioning process would be ruined.
The two DIY leather conditioners mentioned do not contain any form of additives or chemicals, which makes them ideal leather conditioners for your leather. With just a little, you can be sure to get good results.
Remember that regular cleaning and conditioning of your leather is very essential if you want to maintain your leather for a very long time. So whether it’s the DIY technique you use or the conditioners and cleaners you purchased, always ensure to use properly. This way your leather would always look good, maintaining that unique beautiful look.