Leather is a versatile piece of clothing that has the potential to last a lifetime. However, you will need to take special care of it as with regular exposure to outside elements, like water and salt, it will start to show signs of aging. These signs may include wrinkles, scuffing, change of color, and dryness. Leather has multiple types depending on the kind of animal it was obtained from. Based on this factor, you must use the products that are specifically made for cowhide, sheepskin, or calfskin leather. So if your old piece of leather has been sitting in the closet for a long time due to tearing or stiffness, take it out and use an oil to make it look as good as new. Remember, that the regular applications of leather oil will not only keep your leather accessories looking fresh and soft, but will most certainly increase their life as well.
Busting the myths
There are multiple common beliefs about products that can make your leather item look good and shiny. It might be true regarding certain products, but what about the durability and overall lifespan of your leather? That must also be considered when applying anything to your precious leather jacket or purse. One of the most important things to remember is that special products that are made only for leather cleaning and moisturizing should be used. Leather pieces should not be cleaned with petroleum-based cleaning products, as these can erode the stitching. Cleaners that are harsh including Windex or bleach, furniture polish, alkaline cleaners, baby wipes, waxes, and silicone could also damage leather, causing it to become sticky.
Why use leather oil?
At some point, you will probably have to deep moisturize and condition your natural leather items. Leather is made of natural fibers and when exposed to the elements such as sun, heat, dirt, rain, and grime over time, the skin will lose some of its natural moisture. The leather material can be lightened, dried, and cracked as a result. The purpose of leather oil is to moisturize and protect leather fibers against drying, cracking, and bursting. A few oils, like mink oil, have natural origins and can be applied directly to leather surfaces. Alternatively, there are some oils that are made from a blend of natural and synthetic oils, fats, and waxes. They can prove to be of great help in keeping your leather soft.
How often should you use oil?
Proactive maintenance, like most things, will prevent large problems from occurring, as well as prevent leather damage that will require a great deal more than oiling and conditioning. Conditioning every few months can benefit items that are frequently used and are subject to heat, rain, daily use, etc. When oiled every six months to a year, items used less frequently or under lighter conditions will last longer.
Furthermore, you must oil your leather more often in the following circumstances:
- If you notice a change in the color of your leather
- When your leather becomes stiff
- When your leather has been exposed to water or extreme heat
- When you see cracks or tearing in your leather
Best oils for your leather
Coconut oil might be a good idea if you want to soften, protect, and restore your leather. It's not the best oil for leather, but if you have some already in your kitchen, it's convenient. Mink oil is another option. The chemical properties of mineral oil make it an occlusive substance, which means that it forms a protective layer over surfaces. Moisture trapped within leather causes dry rot, which causes the fibers to deteriorate more rapidly. Mineral oil might seem like an inexpensive, practical way to take care of leather, but in reality it has many complications. So if you want a long lasting result, here are professionally created leather oils that can help keep your accessories in good health:
Generally speaking, neatsfoot oil is a conditioner that's predominantly derived from cattle bones and feet, but can also be made from other hoofed animals. In the production of the oil, other oils and petroleum-based components are added to form a conditioner that has long been used in oiling leather. Using a microfiber cloth can enhance the process. You can also use a soft cotton cloth.
Obenauf’s Leather Oil
An oil-based product containing natural oils, propolis which is an adhesive substance produced by bees. It is combined with beeswax to make it more reliable and effective. It is ideal for medium-duty leather such as jackets, bags, and upholstered furniture. Use gentle motions to apply the oil and remember to use a small amount in the beginning.
In addition to being non-toxic, this leather conditioner is great for everyday uses on most types of leather, except suede and nubuck. Furthermore, it can be used to treat finer, more delicate leathers where other leather oils may fail because of being too heavy. In order to avoid any permanent damage, it is recommended to do a patch test by applying the oil on a small spot and wait to see if any reaction occurs.
No matter which oil you’re using on your precious leather accessory, make sure to be careful. One mistake can damage your leather beyond repair. Make it a habit to oil and condition your leather every once in a while to ensure longevity and durability of your leather.