Good quality leatherwork can last many years, but you do need to take care of it! It is important to provide regular treatment in order to help the leather maintain its natural properties.
Basic care advice
As a general rule, leather doesn’t do well in extremes. In particular we would advise you not to store your leatherwork next to a heat source, anywhere damp or in direct sunlight. If your leather gets very wet you should lay it flat somewhere well ventilated, to dry at room temperature. Once it’s dry it’s important to feed it as the fats that keep it conditioned will have been drawn out with the water. If your leatherwork goes in the sea (it’s not recommended but things happen), remember to wipe it off with fresh water and then allow to dry naturally before feeding.
What to use
We recommend investing in a good quality leather balm, that contains natural fats and oils that can replenish those found in the leather. We stock Ridgway’s Original leather care, click here to see.
How to apply
Using a soft cloth or sponge, apply a small amount of balm to both sides of the leather and leave it to absorb. Take particular care of those areas most likely to experience wear such as around the buckle and the holes. Once dry, if necessary buff with a soft brush or cloth.
How often should I feed my leather?
This will depend slightly on use, but most products getting regular use will need feeding around once every few months. If it’s getting wet or exposed to extremes, your leatherwork will need more regular treatment.
Cleaning your leather
It’s unlikely that you will need to clean your belt very often, but dog collars and equestrian goods will need cleaning more regularly as they tend to acquire mud and grease. Using a warm water and a soft cloth or sponge (make sure it is well wrung out), wipe the leather over. A small amount of saddle soap is great at this point. Once the leather has dried naturally it’s a good idea to add some balm.
Tack Cleaning Tips
When cleaning your tack, it is a good idea to take it all apart. This is not just to make your life more difficult, or to test to see if you can put it back together, but allows you to access the areas that often take the most wear. It is also an excellent opportunity to check your tack for safety, in particular look for signs of stretching, cracking and loose stitches. Areas that are often forgotten are the girth straps, the leather around the buckles and the loops where the cheek pieces and reins attach to the bit.