Caring for your Leather Items

Know the Proper Care of Leather

Leather articles will last considerably longer if they are nourished. Unless provided with the proper nourishment and protection, excessive dryness can cause leather to dry out, crack or flake, and to much moisture can cause it to swell up, mildew, and eventually stiffen as it drys out. In order to nourish the leather, the oils that have been lost have to be replaced.

Leather nourishment comes in many forms. For example, there is fish or marine oil, such as cod oil; animal oil, such as mink oil mixed with tallow, and neatsfoot oil. The pros and cons of fish, animal or an oil like neatsfoot oil is that it richly nourishes, strengthens and makes flexible, vegetable tanned (tooling) leather. The use of to much oil or wax, however, can clog pores. When this happens, leather loses it's ability to allow air in and moisture out. Even worse, oils and waxes attract dirt and dust particles which actually cut the microscopic fibers that make leather so strong and durable. Therefore, if Neatsfoot oil is your product of choice, please use it sparingly. On a lineman's saftey belt or work shoes, this may be fine. But again, on the other hand, neatsfoot oil darkens the leather. The degree of darkening is determined by the degree of saturation. In other words, this is not desirable on a light colored tooled purse, billfold or bible cover, nor on a dressbelt, because the oil may overly darken the piece and may also rub off on clothing. There is also an odor.

There are however some very good products for your more delicate items on the market today...

My personal favorite for continual care of your new item is Bick 4, Bickmore, Inc., 577 Main St. Hudson, MA 01749. (800) 256-8804. It is a mild conditioner that is highly effective and easy to use. Bick 4 cleans without stripping natural oils, conditions without clogging pores, and provides water resistance without sealing the leather surface. It prevents leather from drying out, cracking, and flaking, and protects against staining and discoloration that can occur from contact with water, body oils, and other soiling agents. And best of all it will not darken the leather, build up, rub off on clothing or stink. Because it contains no petroleum distilates, (ie: turpentine or mineral spirits) It will not "pull" color and is safe to use on all colors of leather including white. It works well on boots and saddles, billfolds, purses, bible covers, etc. Smooth or tooled leathers. It is ideal for exotic leathers too, ie: shark, aligator, elephant, eel, shakeskin, ostrich, etc. CAUTION: DO NOT use it on suede, pigskin, lamb, or other pourous leathers.

If the Leather becomes dirty, stained or grimy. PLEASE Do Not use saddle soap or caustic chemicals for cleaning. They will pull color, strip the natural oils, and deteriorate the leather. Furthermore, saddle soap is alkaline and alkalinity damages leather. The soap will cause the leather to harden and crack since it removes the tanning agents. It's caustic action eats away at the fibers of the leather causing the leather to become weak. We, therefore, respectfully RECOMMEND the use of pH balanced Bick 1 Leather Cleaner. It will remove dirt and grime without harming the leather. It contains no caustic chemicals, animal fats, or silicone, all of which can either seal or deteriorate leather.

Page content updated 19:27:21 2005-04-12

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