“High quality leatherwork will last a lifetime”
Okay, so sadly that’s not always true but good quality leatherwork really can last many years – if you take good care of it.
I find the best way to keep your leather healthy is little and often. Modern leathers don’t do so well with oils or glycerine saddle soaps. To get dirt and grease off, you want warm water and maybe some “saddle soap”. I like to use a soft sponge or cloth but make sure it is well wrung out. Once the leather has dried naturally, the most important thing is to replenish it with something. This will keep the leather strong, supple and waterproof. I personally use a good quality leather balm, ideally something beeswax based with natural fats. These types of balms are great but should be used sparingly or you will end up with a greasy mess!
Modern leather is a lot better then leather of the past and doesn’t need oiling before use. However, I like to give my leatherwork a light coating of balm before sending it out, just to ensure it is in the best condition it can be.
Ideally, we want to keep leather away from water, but realistically that is never going to happen if you want to get proper use out of your items (especially living in the UK). If your leatherwork does get soaked, allow it to dry in a well aired space. DO NOT put next to a heat source! Once fully dry, treat with some leather balm to get moisture back into the leather.
Please do NOT wait for your leather to become really dry and hard before treating it, prevention is always better than cure!