5 Tips for Leather Care
Leather is everywhere in the world of carry, and so we thought we should have a little look into how to care for the stuff. And because this is Carryology, you know we’re going to start with a touch of background…
Background (as promised): Leather is rad. It essentially takes the highly evolved hide of an animal, removes anything that might putrify (like any life, proteins or peskily vermin), and leaves behind a collagen structure that is strong yet pliable, and which can be dyed, painted or imprinted with almost any form of craziness.
So if we’re taking a live skin, and essentially Hans Solo Cryovacing it to stop the life in it, that means we need take a few measures to preserve some semblance of this homeostasis. In other words, we can treat it bad, but not too bad. Essentially, you don’t want it returning to life.
There’s kinda 2 schools to leather care:
1. Pick a leather that develops a rich patina, and then let your life story start to show
2. Preserve leather so it forever looks new
We are much more for School number 1, so our tips are going to be about how to keep your leather dead, while letting your history of use bring it to life (dang that was cheesie).
If leather gets too wet: Dry it slowly. Speed drying leather changes its chemical structure, and you end up with stiff crinkle cut chaos. So room temperature with gentle air works better than direct heater time with hair-dryer. And keep it in the shape you want it to end up.
If leather gets too dry: Rub something moist into it. Pick a leather dressing or cream, preferably recommended by the maker. Leathers can have paints, waxes, oils and all sorts of things applied to their surface, so you probably want to pick something similar to how it came. Personally, we mostly use Dubbin for heavier use applications (because our dads did), or a lighter leather cream for wallets.
If leather gets dirty: Just use a damp cloth. You don’t want to be putting any soaps or foreign substances in there.
Leather stretches out, but not back: If you start to overfill a wallet, it will never really return to it’s former taut self. If you stretch a leather bag when wet or very humid, it will move even faster. Just learn to carry the right amount, and this takes care of itself.
Don’t wrap it in plastic: Going back to that Cryovac analogy, it can help to think of leather as having the life frozen rather than completely killed. Hans Solo still needed a tiny bit of air, and so does your leather. What you’re really trying to stop is any mildew growth, so keep some ventilation going.