Leather has been a constant in the evolution of humankind. Able to be traced back to at least 5000 B.C. leather has been used for sandals, clothes, bottles, and much more. Through the spread of industrialization in the 18th and 19th centuries, demand for new softer, and lightweight leathers increased. Even today, vegetable and vegan leather have grown in popularity with those who are more environmentally conscious.
Being a natural material, despite leather’s durability, care is needed to guarantee its longevity. Like any material, leather will get dirty over time. Although, being a living material, it will also change over time with age.
The basics are much simpler than one might think. All that is necessary for basic care are cleaning rags, water, a non-abrasive unscented soap bar, and a small brush. Start by wiping away as much dirt as possible, then lightly lather with soap and water to break down the remainder. Avoid getting the leather too wet and repeat this process if needed. Afterward, make sure to lay out any item on a flat, dry, cool surface.
For more long-term care, think of investing in conditioning creams and oils. These products work similarly to lotion and can slow gradual wear and tear. Leather polishes can help give back that luster that new leather offers without softening the material. Also, repeated waterproofing can help stave off minor water damages, but this process is not entirely foolproof.
Also, be wary of heat, sun, and water exposure as it can create irreversible damage.
Leather can last for decades, but caring for your pieces can make all the difference in the world long-term.