Ultimate Guide to Leather Care

Classic, stylish and durable, a great leather product should last you a lifetime. However, just like most other things, your leather products will become dirty, soiled or scratched over time. The amount of dirt depends on the type of product as well as the use. For example, leather shoes tend to get dirtier, as compared to leather furniture or handbags. When exposed to dirty, dry or wet conditions, leather will require specialized cleaning and conditioning to maintain its shape, strength, and appeal. Whether you have just bought your first leather item or you are a lifetime leather lover, here are some simple maintenance tips to ensure your leather shoes, handbags, gloves, saddles, furniture or purses are always in excellent condition. 

Leather Furniture

Cleaning Leather Before Conditioning

As much as leather is hardwearing and durable, it sometimes requires cleaning to remove grease, stains, soil and other forms of dirt. When leather absorbs these forms of dirt, the oils already inside can become discolored and contaminated. Therefore, it’s advisable to remove these stains as soon as possible. When it comes to cleaning leather items, focus on removing the stain while preventing the leather from excessive drying.

An All-Natural Leather Cleaner You Can Trust

Leather Honey Leather Cleaner was formulated to comply with our company’s high standards. The product is entirely natural and non-toxic, offering a safe, gentle way to clean all leather but suede. You can clean leather, vinyl and faux leather with our specialized Leather Honey Leather Cleaner.

Our Leather Cleaner is a concentrated formula that you dilute with water. Dilute 30 ml (1 oz) of concentrate per 250 ml (8 oz) of water.

  • Either spray or wipe the diluted cleaner onto your leather item, then gently massage the cleaner over the leather to remove dirt and grime.
  • Do not oversaturate the leather.
  • Allow leather to dry completely.
  • After cleaning and drying, moisturize with Leather Honey Leather Conditioner.

Always test Leather Honey in a small, discreet area of your item first. This is important because leather is a natural substance. Each piece is unique and may react differently to a leather cleaner.

Once you have completely removed the dirt, you can then dry the surface using a clean piece of cloth. Allow your leather item to dry further naturally, without exposing it to direct sunlight.

Never use harsh soap, baby wipes or strong chemicals for cleaning or removing stains. This can lead to discoloration, drying, cracking and the buildup of grease, among other issues. For ink marks, remove them as soon as possible to prevent them from penetrating the deeper layers of the leather. If you are unable to do that, always take your item to a professional. Never use water to remove grease stains, since you will be only spreading them to a larger surface.

Remove Odors from Leather

Natural leather is a porous material. Therefore, it can absorb various smells, including smoke and perfume. There are multiple ways of dealing with this issue. First, if the item is small such as a wallet or a purse, you can wrap it in a newspaper. Since a newspaper is porous, it will absorb the odor. Cleaning may also remove the odors.

Baking soda can also do the job. If the item is small, you merely need to sprinkle it with baking soda and then leave it in a sealed container for at least 24 hours. Clean it with a dry cloth after removal and the odors will have disappeared. As always, we recommend spot testing anything you apply to your leather.

Leather Honey before & after

Leather Conditioning, Preserving Your Leather

Conditioning adds moisture and nourishment to the leather. Leather tends to dry out, crack or peel over time. Conditioning helps to keep the surface soft and supple to prevent these issues and maintain the flexibility of the leather’s inner fibers. The conditioning method applied will depend on the type of leather used to make your item. Oil-tanned leathers are oil-resistant, water-resistant, as well as perspiration resistant. Therefore, they may need less conditioner as compared to the other types.

Leather Honey Leather Conditioner is excellent for all types of leather except suede.

  • Using a lint-free cloth, sponge or paint brush, thinly coat the leather with leather conditioner.
  • Use product at or above room temperature.
  • Allow a minimum of two hours for absorption (preferably overnight).
  • Wipe off excess conditioner.

For older, worn leather, always use a leather cleaner first to remove dirt and grime before conditioning.

Always test Leather Honey in a small, discreet area of your item first. This is important because leather is a natural substance. Each piece is unique and may react differently to a leather conditioner. Conditioning may darken some leather.

Using a lint-free cloth, dab some of the conditioner onto the cloth and then rub it into the item using small circles. You should aim to cover every inch of the leather with a thin, even layer of conditioner.

The frequency of the conditioning process depends on the type of leather you have. As a rule, regular leather conditioning should be done twice per year. However, if you frequently expose your leather items to the sun, then you may want to condition them three to four times annually.

Waterproofing Leather Products

When leather becomes wet, the moisture forms a bond with the oils present in the leather. Once the water dries out, it usually draws the oils out, thus leaving the leather brittle and dry. Water can also remove some of the dyes present in the leather, leaving splotches or spots on the surface. Leather Honey Leather Conditioner is water resistant and controls mildew.

If you have used the leather for a while, you should first clean it before applying any conditioning treatment. Use a brush to remove mud or dirt on shoes and bags. Remove the laces first and then apply the conditioner.

Care and Maintenance of Specific Leather Items

Shoes are typically the most used piece in a wardrobe. Therefore, your leather shoes will have higher maintenance demands as compared to the other items.

If you are not wearing your dress shoes, keep shoetrees inside them. Cedar shoetrees help shoes maintain their shape and reduce creasing. Ensure you clean and condition your leather dress shoes regularly.

Everyday wear or work-style boots don’t require intensive care. However, you should wipe them at least twice per week to remove odors and stains. You should condition them at least every six months.

Leather Honey before & after

As for wallets and bags, your primary concern should be avoiding over-filling them. Once these items stretch back, they will not return to their original shape. Since bags are not subjected to the amount of beating as shoes, their maintenance needs are minimal. To keep them in great shape, wipe them down frequently and then condition them every six months.

Jackets are similar to shoes. Ensure you condition them every six months especially if you wear them frequently. The amount of cleaning or conditioning comes down to how the item feels or appears. If it looks dry and small cracks are already emerging, then you should give it specialized attention. When it comes to leather jackets, they need to be soft and supple. To achieve this effect, use our conditioner regularly.

Preventing Leather from Damage

Avoid salt and water.

Salt and water are bad for all types of natural leather. On raw cut or untreated leather, water tends to darken its texture while compromising on softness and texture. When combined with salt, the part that is exposed to water may begin to deteriorate. If not tackled promptly, it can even leave a lasting ridge on the leather’s surface.

Don’t leave leather exposed in the sun.

Extended exposure to heat and sun will compromise the feel and quality of your leather products. Avoid storing or leaving leather items in contact with direct sunlight for long periods. If your leather becomes wet, allow it to dry naturally for at least one day before you use it again. Also, you should never dry leather using a heater or fireplace. Doing so will morph, damage or even crack the leather.

Stay away from wax.

Wax and wax-based products build upon the surface of the leather, eventually clogging the leather’s pores and preventing it from breathing. The leather is then susceptible to rot or extreme dryness beneath the wax. Wax is also difficult to remove from the surface of the leather once applied. We recommend avoiding wax and wax-based products for this reason.

Final Thoughts

Leather is delicate and requires special treatment but can last for decades when cared for properly. With just a bit of cleaning and conditioning now and then, your leather purse, boots, handbag or tote bag will become your lifelong partner – through thick and thin.

Leather Honey before & after

Leather Honey™, The World's Best Leather Conditioner & Leather Cleaner

  • #1 Selling Leather Care Products on Amazon
  • Invented in 1968, 50 Years Ago
  • Non-Toxic, Water Resistant, Controls Mildew
  • Great for All Leather – Our leather conditioner works to replenish moisture and protect all types of leather, new and old.
  • Long Lasting – Our long-lasting conditioner means one application lasts six months or longer (other, less-effective products require application once a month). Leather Honey penetrates deep into the leather, moisturizing the individual fibers from the inside out. Other products merely sit on the surface, creating a superficial conditioned appearance that requires frequent applications.
  • NO Animal Products, NO Silicone, NO Toxins, NO Solvents, or Other Harmful Chemicals
  • Made in the U.S.A. & Family Owned
  • Our 8oz bottle is a good size for shoes, boots, handbags, and clothing.
  • Our 16oz bottle is a good size for leather furniture and car interior uses.

#1 Best-Selling Leather Care Products on Amazon

Leather Honey is the #1 BEST-SELLING Leather Care Product on Amazon


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#1 Selling Leather Care