Fine leather deserves good care. The appropriate treatment of a leather item depends upon its condition, or the degree of deterioration when treatment is started. Leather deteriorates largely by four means:
- Oxidation is most readily seen in very old dry leather, with surface cracking and flaking, and over-all weakness. Oxidation will eventually turn leather to dust. It is inhibited by a thorough impregnation with an inert dressing which coats the fibers.
- Chemical damage can be through the effect of ultraviolet light, ozone, acid from sulphurous and nitrous pollutants in the air, or through chemical action following treatment with tallow or neatsfoot oil compounds. Both oxidation and chemical damage occur faster at higher temperatures. Leather should be kept away from heat, and not needlessly exposed to sunlight.... that can be difficult if you have a convertible. Try to park in the shade if you have the top down.
- Internal chafing or breaking of fibers occurs when dry leather is flexed. A lubricant is essential to allow the fibres to slide one against the other. Dry leather should not be flexed prior to thorough lubrication.
- Abrasion can be external, from rubbing on the outside, or internal from dirt particles ground into the leather
- Lighter colors may require more frequent maintenance than darker colors. Lighter colored leather needs to be cleaned often. Dirt, dust and clothing will leave traces on leather. Especially, black and dark-blue dyed jeans.
- The use of too much oil or wax can clog pores, causing leather to lose its ability to allow air in and moisture out. For the best protection, we recommend a mild dishwashing soap. Ivory liquid dishwashing soap is an excellent way to keep your leather clean and looking new. One part Ivory to 10 parts water.
- Dairy products that spill on darker dyed leather will leave a spot. After cleaning, the oils in the dairy products will eventually rise back up to the surface. Try and be careful with any dairy product next to your leather.
- If spills do occur, attend to them quickly, blotting the stain rather than rubbing.
- Never use preparations made for smooth leather on suede or “rough out” leather. Use only cleaners or preparations made specifically for suede.
- Though leather is resistant to fading, direct, prolonged exposure to the sun will cause any material to fade. If you have a convertible, be sure to clean and treat your leather seats on a regular basis.
- Do not leave newspapers on leather seats. The ink in the newsprint will rub onto the leather.