Keeping your leather items clean and in good condition does not require buying special products. Leather furniture, shoes or clothing will benefit from regular conditioning and cleaning. There are simple, effective formulas for homemade leather conditioners. With a little time and effort, you can have your own leather conditioner for your leather maintenance needs.
Cautions and Basic Information
Modern leather products are usually made from finished leather. Leather can come from any number of sources, and because of this, cleaning leather can be tricky. Also complicating matters, leather is absorbent. This means that your leather furniture will absorb body oils or any spills that occur. You do need to clean leather regularly and gently. To keep your leather products in top condition, they should be conditioned about every three months. If your leather item needs more than basic care, it is a good idea to get professional cleaning advice.
There are several things you should not use on leather, including soap or baby wipes. These cleaners contain harsh salts that may strip your leather of its natural finish and damage it, requiring costly repairs eventually. Also, saddle soap is too harsh for home use leather products. Many leather wipes you can buy are also pretty harsh and not a great idea for every day use.
Simply keeping your leather items out of direct sunlight and wiping them regularly with a damp cloth is a great way to avoid needing to use expensive products later on.
Homemade Leather Conditioner
The best advice for a homemade leather conditioner is really simple. First, whatever you try, less is best. Water soluble conditioners seem to be the best for finished leather, as the natural oils in leather do not usually dry out and adding oil to leather may cause damage over time. Regular dish soap, as mentioned above, is overly harsh for most fine home leather products, but a very mild, natural baby soap is a good choice. Use a very small amount (one tablespoon) mixed with warm to tepid water over a large cloth and dampen the entire surface evenly.
1 liter (quart) warm to tepid water 1 tablespoon very mild, natural baby soap 1 or 2 drops of vinegar
Mix ingredients together and apply to a large cloth. Wring out cloth and apply evenly to surface of leather. Allow to air dry.
Always seek professional advice with expensive leather products and the sooner, the better. Using a homemade product for regular maintenance is a great way to inexpensively keep your leather products looking great, but if you do accidentally damage your leather, consult a professional immediately.