Looking after your leather item is a little like looking after your skin. To keep leather in tip top condition it needs cleaning and feeding (moisturising) once in a while. One of the most important things is to always allow your leather item to dry naturally if it has become wet. Do not place it on direct heat such as a radiator to dry it out.
Belts, Bags, boxes and cases
As with all leathergoods bags, boxes and case’s benefit from a little care once in a while especially items that come into contact with the elements (i.e. sun and rain). Leather care products can be purchased from saddlers and online. Personally I try to avoid glycerine based soaps for bags and cases as they can leave your item greasy.
The best way to do this without purchasing specialist cleaning products is to use a beeswax shoe polish (make sure it’s natural/neutral in colour).
Give your leather item a wipe over with a damp cloth or sponge and allow to dry. Then apply the shoe polish following the manufacturer’s instructions (buff well to remove any waxy residue). The metal fittings can be polished with a general household metal polish.
Belts although generally don’t come into contact with the effects of sun and rain can also be spruced up following the above guide. Leather waterproofer can also be used to help protect bags and cases. These are readily available at shoe and outdoor clothing shops. Follow the manufacturer’s directions and always test any product on an inconspicuous part of the bag first just to check for colour darkening.
Dog Collars and Leads
As new leather items are stiff they should be ‘fed’ prior to use with a leather conditioner/oil to help soften the leather (I know you want to use it straight away and understand from personal experience this doesn’t often happen)!
Once in a while your collar and lead will benefit from a clean and feed, especially if your dog likes the sea (yes it’s fine for leather to get wet)!
Simply remove the collar and give it a wipe using warm water and a damp sponge/cloth to remove any dirt (this also helps to remove salt).
If the leather is very wet allow it to dry slightly before applying a leather feed/conditioner. While you are cleaning check the area where the buckle fastens and the stitching for signs wear.
If the leather does become very dry you can apply a light coat of Extra Virgin Olive Oil* (also useful on new leather collars/leads) with a cloth or brush and allow it to soak in to the leather. Do take care when applying oils not to overdo it as too much can damage the fibres of the leather.
If you wish to polish the buckles just use any general household metal polish following the instructions.
*Please note some oils can darken light coloured leather so with this in mind try to apply oils to the underneath of the leather.
The easiest of all to care for I just give them a vacuum (a duster is also fine)!
The most important for thing for masks is don't get them wet. So no wearing them in the rain (sorry)!