How to Clean Unfinished Leather

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Things You'll Need

  • Saddle soap

  • Soft cloths or leather-cleaning sponges

  • Mink oil or other leather preservative


Do not use baby oil or any other oil meant for human skin.

Take care of unfinished leather and it will look good for years.
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Unfinished leather needs special care because it doesn't have the protective surface finished leather has. Many everyday things are made from unfinished leather -- belts, wallets, work gloves and boots, garden gloves, saddles, basketballs and footballs. These items are often cleaned improperly, which shortens their lifespan and spoils their natural beauty. Learn the correct way to clean unfinished leather so that it will stay beautiful for a long time to come.


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Step 1

Dampen a soft cloth or leather cleaning sponge and rub the saddle soap until a lather appears. Apply the lather to the unfinished leather in a circular motion. Use a little elbow grease, and work the lather into the grain of the leather.

Step 2

Wipe the lather away with a clean, dry cloth or sponge. Be sure the leather is completely free of soap to prevent buildup.


Step 3

Apply a leather preservative, such as mink oil, to the leather to keep it flexible and water-resistant. Use a clean cloth or sponge and work the oil into the leather in a circular motion.


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