So, how to cherish your leather jewels? Here are a few things to remember and implement.
First of all, leather care depends on the condition of the item when the TLC (Tender, Loving, Care) treatment is undertaken. There are different ways leathers can deteriorate:
– Leather, at microscopic range, is made of fibers all sliding one on another when appropriate levels of moisture are maintained. When dryness sets, internal fibers can break and eventually result into visible wounds.
– Over time, dirt particles can thread their way into the fibers and cause internal abrasion.
– In very old pieces, leather can suffer from oxidization: a chemical process in which oxygen links to the leather by being exposed, unprotected for extended periods. This will lead to cracking, flaking and weakened material but it can also turn leather into dust. Although unpleasant, think of buried bodies, we all know what happens over time …
– Damage from sunlight and air pollutants can affect leather similarly to oxidation. Sulfur, nitrous oxide, tallow or oil compounds are all substances that can be responsible for some chemical damages.
You can easily spare yourself the fuss and deception by keeping a few tips in mind:
– Keep your items clean: most dirt can be wiped clean with a leather cloth kept handy, for day-to-day cleanliness.
– Keep your items free of scratches. Visualize those as small wounds on the leather, just like when you scratch yourself. By getting scratches, the interior fibers are directly exposed and become more susceptible to permanent damage. Thus, it is important to "make them heal" rather quickly. You can use yourself's and the leather's natural oils by rubbing your finger onto the marking. This will start to buff it out and then use leather care lotions, such as the Vachetta products, to erase it from within so it becomes barely noticeable. Follow the directions but it is recommended to do this to the whole panel, or section, to achieve uniform appearance. Also note that quality leather, such as calfskin, will be less prone to scratches because of its suppleness which is the result of great inner moisture.
– Leather shouldn't be forgotten and stored away for long periods because loss of moisture will occur. But if you absolutely want or need to, you should make sure its moisture levels are impeccable before you put it away. Also if you can use vacuum-packing to protect it from air, it will definitely increase its survival state.
Bottom line, leather is skin. As a human, you want to use a good moisturizer on your skin for different reasons and it is the same for leather! If it becomes too dry, anything will affect it: dust, sunlight, chemicals and even air! So care for your leather and consider applying proper lotion twice a year to maintain its natural oils and moisture degree almost forever.