Care & Maintenance

Leather Care and Maintenance

Introduction

Our VIP Boots and Bags Web store has a special selection of leather products for you to have for a lifetime. These unique pieces are thoughtfully handcrafted and designed to get better with age and become a part of your life’s journey. We want each leather piece to be a representation of your unique lifestyle and absorb a life of their own as you create your life’s story together. Each piece of leather has its own “life” and “personality”, so you think of it as your “second skin” that needs special care just as your very own skin does. Different types of leathers require different types of care. Some leathers are very delicate and need specific care to keep them radiant for years of wear. All different types of leather will get dirty, wet and dry over time which can cause undue wear unless certain precautions are taken. The type of care you need for your supple leather or rugged rawhide skin will be determined by the purpose and usage of your boots or bags. Here you will learn some helpful tips to care for the unique leather pieces you have chosen to accompany you in your fashionable lifestyle.

Cleaning & Restoring Leather

The first, and most important thing to remember, is that leathers are naturally porous allowing abrasive particles of dirt, dust, and sand to work their way into the surface of the leather will result in deterioration. To safely clean leathers, use a natural leather soap to wipe off any stains. Never use ordinary household cleaners or harsh chemicals to clean your leather boots or bags, as these products will cause greater damage, shortening its lifespan and ruining its appearance. It’s improtant to remove any chemical spills, food stains, or buildup as soon as possible to keep your valuable leather looking its very best.

Removing surface dirt and grime from leather

Cleaning goat skin, cowhide, deerskin, deertan, nubuck, suede, ostrich, and reptile skins such as, snakeskin, crocodile, lizard, and alligator all benefit from nearly the same “cleaning” practices.

  • Wipe off any dust or dirt with a soft dry white cotton cloth or slightly water dampened, not wet cotton cloth.
  • You may use a soft brush made from horse hair to clean finished leather.
  • Always wipe and brush in the direction of the grain for your leather.
  • Pay attention to the areas around eyelets, buckles, grooves, handles, straps, stitching and any inlay patterns to clean thoroughly.
  • You will want to use a small soft brush or cotton swab to get into the smaller tight areas to remove dirt.

Nubuck or Suede:

  • Special brushes can be used to clean and maintain nubuck & suede boots and bags.
  • For suede use a nylon brush or a nylon and brass bristled combo brush.
  • For nubuk use a rubber brush to clean with.
  • When cleaning, always wipe and brush in the direction of the grain for your leather. to ensure that any velvet naps do not flatten.
  • Find the flow of the nap by brushing it in different directions, and then follow the flow of least resistance.
  • If the finish is rough, you are brushing against the nap.
  • For worn down nap, brush vigorously with the middle wire bristles then finish with the nylon bristles.
  • A Suede brush can also be effective in removing marks and scuffs.
  • For removal of stubborn scuffs or stains the use a cleaning block may be best.

Snakeskin, Alligator, Crocodile & Lizard:

  • Gently wipe in the direction of the scales with a dry soft cotton cloth, lifting up the scales will cause damage and shorten its lifespan.
  • You will want to use a small soft brush to clean under the scales to brush dirt out, being careful to not lift them.
  • Wipe off your snakeskin boots and bags after each use, before storing them.

Ostrich:

  • Wipe off any dust or dirt with a soft dry white cotton cloth or soft brush.

Removing spills, stains, and discoloration from leather

  • The first and most important thing to remember is that leathers are naturally porous material.
  • Use natural leather soap products to clean any stains.
  • On finished leathers, apply a leather cleaner conditioner to clean the surface and wipe with a dry cloth to absorb any excess dampness.
  • If oil gets accidentally spilled on your boots or bags dab up the spot with a dry cloth, if that does not work apply talc powder to the spot leave on for at least 15 minutes to absorb the oil then brush and wipe off with a dry cotton cloth.
  • Oils will discolor your leathers so immediate attention to clean is important.
  • Allow to air dry at room temperature, see drying instructions below.
  • Follow the care instructions that came with your leather boots or bags.
  • Always use a cleaner conditioner specifically designed for the type of leather your boots and bags are made of.
  • Always test spot any cleaner moisturizer product in a nonvisible spot to ensure no staining or discoloring happens from the cleaning contioning product you choose.

Nubuck or Suede:

  • To remove tough stains, shiny marks, and water spots, simply gently back and forth over the spot or mark with an eraser bar or cleaning block.
  • Then finish cleaning using a brush to remove residue and raise the nap.
  • For spills use a dry white cotton or flannel cloth to absorb any liquids as soon as possible,
  • Quickly wipe down with water dampened cloth to clean any fresh spills.
  • Wipe down the whole boot or bag to not have any discoloration from spot removing.
  • If you have salt stains that do not come clean with a damp cloth use a bar and dampen the end with water to rub out the marks.
  • When cleaning, brush them down, ensure that the velvet nap does not flatten.
  • You will know the flow of the nap by brushing it in different directions.
  • There are a few different nubuck and suede brushes to clean and maintain your boots and bags look for kits sold at your local shoe store.

Snakeskin, Alligator, Crocodile & Lizard:

  • Exotic leather boots and bags will require special gentle attention and care as reptile skin has scales.
  • If rain or water gets spilled on your boots or bags, use a dry cotton cloth to absorb as much of the water as soon as possible and let dry naturally.
  • Quickly wipe down with slightly water dampened cloth (not wet) to clean any fresh spills or dirt.
  • Use a dry cloth to absorb the moisture from cleaning by patting them down to dry them.
  •  Always use a cleaner conditioner specifically designed for Snakeskin & Reptile leather.
  • Always test spot any cleaner moisturizer product in a nonvisible spot to ensure no staining or discoloring happens.
  • Always lightly wipe or brush in the direction of the scales.
  • Brushing against the scales will damage the skin and shorten its life span.
  • Exposure to sun and age contribute to yellowing of snakeskin, this is unavoidable, making each piece unique.

Ostrich:

  • Quickly wipe down with slightly water dampened cloth (not wet) to clean any fresh spills or dirt.
  • Then use a dry cloth to absorb the moisture from cleaning.
  • If rain or water gets spilled on your boots or bags, use a dry cotton cloth to absorb as much of the water as soon as possible and let dry naturally.
  •  Always use a cleaner conditioner specifically designed for Ostrich leather.
  • Ostrich is very sensitive to oils especially from your skin and may cause discoloration over time.
  • If oil is spilled, we recommend using talc powder to be applied to the spot for at least 15 minutes to absorb the oil, then brush or wipe off with a soft brush or dry cloth.

Cleaning mold or mildew on your leather boots or bags

Mildew on leather bag
  • Brush off the leather with a soft brush, do this outside to keep from speading the mold spores in the house.
  • Wipe down the boots or bag with a damp sponge and saddle soap.
  • Clean inside and out of your boots and bags.
  • Wipe down again with a clean damp soft cloth.
  • Let the leather dry in a cool shaded well ventalated area for a few minutes.
  • Condition the leather with a leather therapy and conditioner that inhibits mold and mildew.
  • Clean all the brushes and clothes to remove the mold spores before using again.

Keeping leather boots and bags moisturized & conditioned

Leathers lose natural moisture and essential oils with the passing of time, frequent handling, and normal wear, causing it to dry out. If your leather dries out this will shorten its life span as it begins to crack, break, flake, wrinkle, and fade. Once leather skin cracks it will no longer maintain its natural water resistant properties and will also lose its strength. Replacing these oils and restoring the moisture will keep your leather soft, supple, and looking its very best.

When your new boots or bag arrives at your door, it is recommended to moisturize the leather before wearing it or filling it with your valuables, even though it may have been moisturized prior to shipping.

  • Thoroughly moisturize your leather with natural waxes and oils, the best choice is neatsfoot oil and lanolin as they have been used for years.
  • Follow the manufacturers instructions as each piece of leather and type may require different conditioners.
  • Regularly moisturize leather 2 to 4 times a year, depending on type of usage.
  • Always use a moisturizing conditioner specifically designed for the type of leather you’re caring for.
  • Follow the care instructions that came with your leather boots or bag.
  • Always spot-test any moisturizer product in a non-visible area to ensure there is no staining or discoloration.

Nubuck and Suede

  • They do not generally need to be moisturized, they take care of themselves.
  • To protect and greatly reduce the risk of liquid stains to your new suede boots or bags, is to waterproof them with a spray that will build up a resistance within suede & nubuck.
  • Follow the instructions recommended by the manufactorer and insure the product is for suede and  nubuk leathers.

Snakeskin, Alligator, Lizard:

  • Exotic leathers such as snakeskin, gator, lizard, and crocadile require a reptile conditioner.
  • Apply moisturizer often as reptile skins dry out faster than any other leathers.
  • Caution: Do not wear your reptile skin boots out in the rain or snow.

Drying leather boots and bags if they get saturated with water

Proper moisturizing and conditioning can help repel external moisture. If you’ve moisturized your boots and bags from the start using a quality conditioner, this will help act as a barrier against moderate amounts of water.

Getting your leather wet with water actually dries it out by depleting it of its natural oils. Getting your vegetable tanned leather boots or bags wet is much worse, which discolors and wrinkles the beautiful leathers when drenched. If the worst happens and your boots or bag gets soaking wet.

  • Pat and dab up the water with a clean dry white cotton or flannel cloth
  • Dry your leather boots or bags slowly at room temperature on an absorbent surface
  • While drying, keep in a shaded room out of direct sun light and away from excess heat
  • Change the positions of the boots and bags frequently to make sure the air gets all surfaces evenly
  • Do not wipe the leather as you can rub the water deeper into the leather
  • Do not try to force-dry leather skins with a hairdryer or radiant heat, including direct Sunlight

To prevent further damage, ensure your boots and bags keep their natural shape while drying by placing waded up newspapers or cotton towels inside. If your boots dry while crushed, distorted or wrinkled they will stay that way making them uncomfortable to wear and even unsightly to look at. If your bag dries while crushed or distorted it will be next to impossible for the bag to recover its original shape so prevention is key to keeping your genuine leather in top condition.

Storage to Keep Leather Boots and Bags Healthy

To prevent mold and mildew in humid climates; store in an area that is air conditioned, dehumidified or has a fan on to keep air dry and moving.

Store your boots and bags in a cotton bag, the one that they where shipped with to keep dust off of them.

Do not store in direct sunlight, exposure to sun will discolor and dry out your leather.