This post is based on the video – How To Clean, Condition & Polish Leather | Conditioners, Oils, Lotions, Weatherproofers And Polishes
Gentlemen, Antonio here. All right. Today, I’m going to talk about leather care and I can tell you this is a big overview video. I’m going to go into a lot of detail. I’m going to support it with an article.
Boom! Right over here at Real Men Real Style, I’m going to go into a lot more detail in the article. In addition, if you’ve got questions please let me know in the comments here on YouTube.
What I’m going to do is if you want me to go further down, you want me to talk specifically about conditioning, cleaning, and polishing shoes, I can do that because we’re going to talk about leather luggage, we’re going to talk about shoes and I’m going to give you three general rules about taking care of leather.
Then, in this video I’m going to really go over the various products out there because there’s a lot of products out there.
You guys are going to go out there you’re going to purchase really nice shoes, leather luggage, perhaps it’s something like what I’ve got here, a really nice football that my son thought would be cool to go out and play with his friends and then he lost it, we found out a year later, it went through Wisconsin winter and this leather is now really beat up, it is not as attractive as I would like it to be.
Really, this leather needs care and so, leather furniture, leather car seats, once you start looking around, leather is use everywhere. So, how do you take care of it? Guys, that’s what this video is all about.
So, three things that you need to know about leather. One, think of leather as similar to your skin, it – and that’s really what it was or it was skin on a live animal. Now, it’s no longer has the ability to replenish itself, to replenish the moisture, and to build new cells, new fibers. Now, if you take care of leather, it can literally last hundreds of years.
You can go into some of museums, they’ve literally got leather armor from hundreds or years ago that has been preserved, taken care of, and that’s the beautiful thing about it. But, if you don’t take care of it, it literally can get hard, it can get crack, and once leather cracks pretty much nothing you can do to salvage that leather. So, you take care of it.
Number two is understand not all leather is created equal. Now, I’ve got a whole chart which we’ll talk about the various types of leather out there, but understand some leather is going to take some of these conditioners better than other types. You know so you’re going to need to know what you’re dealing with. In addition, there are and I’ll talk about that here in a second, but there are some fake leathers out there, so everything I’m talking here does not apply to fake leather.
Point number three, different colors of leather lighter-colored leather shoes. You’re going to have to be careful because anytime you apply any of these, it can change the color. My advice is to find a section that no one is going to see, usually on the tongue of the shoe, perhaps on a piece of luggage on the inside, you want to apply some of this, let it sit, and check – check it out in twelve hours in twenty four hours.
And then, if it doesn’t change or if it changes to a slight amount that you’re okay with, then apply a little bit. Some of these can darken leather, you hear stories about that all the time. Personally, you know, I’m going to give you guys some options so that you could minimize that, but understand any type of conditioner that’s introducing moisture or a little bit of pigment can adjust the color which isn’t always a bad thing, sometimes people like this stuff.
Okay. So, let’s go ahead and get into the different categories of leather conditioners, protectants, weather proofers, oils, waxes, all of that stuff. So, three main categories: Category number one, cleaners. Category number two, conditioners. Category number there, protectants. Again, the article at Real Men Real Style, I’m going to go into a lot more detail as to exactly each category.
3 Products Required To Maintain Leather Bags, Shoes & Furniture
So, here really quick, I’m going to talk about various products, my favorite and that’s probably what you guys are really curious about is Leather Honey. I’ve been a big fan of Shawn and Arielle, it’s a family run business out of Virginia. I think that they have a great product here. It pours like, yeah, it’s clear, so things like that. Let me go – I’m going to take that football I’m going to put a little bit on it.
It takes a while so when I use leather honey and I usually have a brush, but right now I just have some tissue so I’m just going to rub this tissue on it. As you can see this stuff is thick and it’s going to go deep into it.
You can see how it starting to already color the leather. Now, it’s going to lighten over time and it would be something that if I apply this across the football, I think it would – this would fix the football. One thing it wouldn’t do is it wouldn’t actually have a protective layer.
So, Leather Honey is a leather conditioner. It fits in that middle category. It’s not a protectant and it’s not necessarily a cleaner. They do have their Leather Honey cleaner which if you’ll before going on to something like this, you could apply the cleaner.
And the great thing about a cleaner is they are made to go in there and attach to dirt and particles like that that want to be removed, so – and it does actually have some of the properties of the conditioner, so sometimes you may find you don’t even need to use the conditioner.
But, ideally what this is going to do is to bond with dirt, that’s the big thing about all the cleaners out there is very similar to laundry detergent any type of soap it’s going to bond with the dirt with those particles that we want to get removed and then you can just go ahead and knock them right off. Okay. As you guys can see both of them darkened the leather, even though they were clear, even though they were transparent, even though they’re my favorite products, they will darken, let this so just be aware of that.
All right. So, Leather Honey one of them of the out there so I did talk about the cleaner conditioner. Now, there are other ones that you’re going to see. You’re going to see Lexol leather conditioner and cleaner. It is a fine product. You’re not going to go wrong. And here’s, you know, I started to talk about this at the beginning, whatever you choose just, I mean that’s better than nothing even if you’ll find some that just don’t work and you think you can probably get a better deal. Oh, there it goes.
So, as you can see right there, I personally think the more liquidy it is, the less effect it on average has. All right. We’ll pour just a tad under there. And, again, it’s darkening up, it will do a fine job. Again, we’ve got a cleaner, we’ve got a conditioner, neither of these are polishes. We get into polish it here in a second.
2. Leather Conditioner
Now, there’s another great company out there, Chamberlain’s and he makes what’s called Leather Milk and he’s got – this is the number 3 which is the water proofer and then he’s got the number 2 which is the straight cleaner. They also got a few other ones out there specifically designed for furniture. Again, a great product, it goes on pretty as you can see here it is on the football.
Again, when in there, penetrated dark, so that’s a great thing when it does darken like that, I can tell it’s penetrating. And, I would then use the water protectant over that and it would actually help form a layer to protect a lot of the – and I haven’t gotten too much into the coats or the protectors, but a lot of those are going to use oils, they’re going to use waxes, and what they’re doing is they’re literally filling up a barrier to protect it from water penetrating.
So, these conditioners are cool because they penetrate and they are made with ingredients they aren’t going to cause the cells and the fibers to expand. The danger with water is when it penetrates leather it does cause that to expand and it doesn’t go back to its original shape. So what do you get? You get warps. It also can change the structure and all of the sudden it’s more likely to crack, so that’s why water damage can really mess up your leather.
Now, some of you guys are probably wondering how does it pour, what does it look like, there you go. So, you can see Chamberlain’s leather milk is a little bit more liquid, depends on what you like. Again, this will work really good on furniture as well. And, again, what I really like about Chamberlain’s from all the other brands is that they are really good at breaking it out in categories. So, perhaps you don’t want to apply what you’re going to put on your shoes onto your leather furniture, well, Chamberlain’s has got you covered.
So, Neatsfoot Oil. This is going to be probably the oiliest, the watery – the most watery of all of them right here. And, here you can see, yeah, it will to a degree penetrate the leather. This is something though, it’s going to – the goal here is to condition, but also to make the leather more pliable. Why is that good?
Well, there are certain products that you’re going to receive and, this bag here, [Katie] it’s a good company, but this a value prized leather briefcase. And, the issue here is the leather is really tough. So, applying a leather conditioner especially something like Neatsfoot Oil which is where it came from, very similar to a baseball glove, you’re going to work it and let it soak in and then you’re going to work the leather and overtime this will become much softer.
Meltonian, and they make also these creams. There are entire brands that are specifically designed for shoes. Why I like this? Is they are very careful and they realized shoes are one of those things that because they come in such a wide range of colors that people are very sensitive to them being colored.
Now, if you’ve got a pair of black shoes, you’re really not going to get anything darker than this, so you’re pretty safe here with using all types of conditioners and cleaners and polishes. However, once you start going into, you know, we’ve got oxblood here, dark brown, you can darken this even more. Espresso, this is going to be on the safer, but – and this actually a good example of – so notice the brouging here, all of these like – well, this is where it actually a more liquid type of conditioner is going to be easier than using something like Leather Honey.
So, in this case on this particular shoe, I would probably skip Leather Honey and I would use like Chamberlain’s Leather Milk because it’s going to be a bit more liquid or maybe the Lexol simply because of what we have here. So, as you can see, even though I’ve got a favorite, there’s a time and place for each of these various conditioners.
So, again, this leather lotion, I’ve used this before, it’s relatively a good product. As you can see it’s the milkiest looking of all of them. I’ll put it over here on the football, it doesn’t – it doesn’t penetrate as deep, it probably takes a little bit more time, but it gets in there and that’s probably because it’s a little bit thicker, it didn’t color as much like I talked about a lot of these ones designed for shoes. And that they don’t really want to – they’re very sensitive to that.
Creams, a lot of you guys taking care of your shoes, you’ve seen creams out there. Creams are a mix between protectants and conditioners. They’re kind of the best of both worlds. I love neutral creams. Why? Because they don’t have any pigment and they will in most cases not color. I use this neutral cream on my light colored shoes all the time.
Now, you can and, again, I like a good company, Meltonia. If you get this to match the shoes, then that’s great. This particular one is black, therefore you can only use it on black shoes, but I think this come in like twenty five, thirty different colors, so you can actually find one that matches your shoes exactly. The great thing about that is it actually if you get a nice little scratch in there, the neutral isn’t going to cover that scratch. This will actually color in the scratch a bit and make it less visible.
All right. So, you’re also going to see some of these actually are made, this is a cream that’s made to also be a polish. It comes from a company, Tarrago. I believe they’re out of Spain. Something like this is pretty good against — very similar to a cream, but going to be a bit more liquidy and is going to penetrate the leather a bit more. You’ve got to be careful though with the colors.
Other ones, you’re going to see some companies they focus on being all natural and, that’s cool, but I, you know, when it comes to my shoes I haven’t seen that there’s really and unless you’re really susceptible to smells, and be careful, I’ve heard some people complain about this Neatsfoot Oil that it’s got – I didn’t really notice any type of smell coming from it, but there are some especially some of the companies that are really low priced, they’re going to try to make up for certain things by perhaps using petroleum products.
So, if you want to make sure that you have something that’s all natural, the company Armstrong’s is all natural, pretty good company that does this. What’s interesting, again, they’ve got this Universal Solve which you can actually use on the shoes as a conditioner or you can use it on your hands. So, this one is actually been tested for both, so they’re kind of cool and they’ve got a neural polish.
So, I haven’t yet talked about the polishes too much and I’m starting now to get into Saddle Soap. You guys, many of you guys have been waiting for me to talk about this. Saddle Soap is a conditioner, it’s one that’s been around for a long time. It will and in some cases color.
It’s going to have – and these aren’t going to be able to pour, these are going to be pasty. What I like about this is you probably get a little bit more for your money with products like this simply because they’re more concentrated. Mink Oil. This is something that looks light colored, it will do a good job penetrating especially when you heat it up sort of to polish it in and mink’s oil has been known to color.
3. Leather Protectants
Again, so I’m starting now to talk about protectants, oils, water proofers, snow seals. These are the ones that they – their job is not to penetrate into the leather. They will to some extent, but their job is to sit on top of the leather and then they actually form a layer that protects it from the snow, from the water, from the ice, from anything going in there.
Remember, I explained water is the enemy, but another enemy is actually the loss of moisture. So, if you live in a desert, understand that your leather – your leather bags need to be conditioned probably once a year or more if they’re out quite a bit in the sun because that will actually pull the moisture from them.
If you remember your bag and I’ve got, again, this bag right here, fake leather, don’t use any leather products on it, but a bag like this, it’s already got a little bit of a seal and a protectant made by my friends over at Maxwell Scott. It’s a good company. I’ve got a number of their bags. I love what they’re doing. And then, we’ve got Blue Claw.
Now, this one is in cedar, it is their – his Bronson bag, my friend, Adam. As you can tell a very pliable a very soft leather. This one I would test and I would make sure when I’m putting on it, but this one because of how soft the leather is, it’s also probably going to lose the moisture when you have leathers like that whether it’d be on a type of bag or a type of shoe or perhaps on your western boots. You know those of you guys down the southwest, you’ve got boots and understand that you’re going to still want to condition the upper part of the boot even though really it’s not getting, you know, exposed to too much, it is going to have moisture rob from it in dry areas.
So, guys we’ve covered a lot here. I didn’t even have time to get into brushes and all those other stuff. Please let me know what you would like to see in the comments down below, I want to make – I want to make great video for you guys and give – there’s a lot of misinformation out there, so I go into more detail here at the article at Real Men Real Style.
Let me know what you think and I’d love to hear from you in the comments what more you would like to see. Take care. Bye.
This post is based on the video – How To Clean, Condition & Polish Leather | Conditioners, Oils, Lotions, Weatherproofers And Polishes