Leather products, such as purses, sofas, jackets, and shoes, have always been popular among fashionable consumers looking for quality and durability with distinctive textures and styles. These products are not only more expensive than their non-leather counterparts, but they can be incredibly high-maintenance since leather is naturally prone to attracting dirt, grease, and dust – all of which can easily get trapped inside pores and result in cracks, stains, or dryness, making it a difficult to care for them and keep them in optimal condition.
However, keeping leather soft and protected is not too different than skincare. Just like you use a moisturizing lotion to prevent dryness and cracks, you need a solution to lubricate leather fibers and reduce frictions. This solution is called a leather conditioner – a product designed to not only protect leather surfaces from stains and dust, but also enhance their shine, patina, and lifespan. While there are hundreds of leather conditioners in the market, why spend money unnecessarily on something that you can easily make on your own using a few common pantry staples?
That’s right! If you’re up for a DIY adventure, learning the benefits of leather conditioning and how to make a homemade leather conditioner can make a valuable addition to your achievements list.
So, what are we waiting for? Let’s get shining!
Benefits of Leather Conditioning
Leather is complex material when it comes to cleaning and maintaining. Therefore, owners must learn about the three main benefits of leather conditioning:
Leather Elasticity Maintenance
With regular conditioning, leather can better maintain its elasticity and go for years without wear and tear or other forms of damage. Leather conditioners prevent shoes, jackets, furniture, and other products not only from dryness and cracks but also help them retain their shape and texture.
Improved Life Span
The purpose of maintaining any product is to improve its life span and slow down its deterioration. Without proper leather conditioning, your purse, jacket, and shoes will become stiffer, rougher, and much less aesthetically appealing. Dry leather is also prone to tears, rips, holes, and other forms of damage.
By spending a few dollars on leather conditioners, you can save hundreds or even thousands of dollars on replacements. Moreover, by taking the time to maintain your leather products, you can limit or avoid spending on professional cleaning and conditioning, which can be quite expensive, depending on your location and the product’s brand, type, or quality. To boost cost-effectiveness further, you can make a homemade leather conditioner using simple ingredients.
How to Make a DIY Leather Conditioner at Home
Without further ado, here’s how to make a homemade leather conditioner:
- Saucepan for heating
- Measuring spoons and cups
- Wooden spoon for stirring
- Containers for storing the conditioner
- Beeswax (a product made honeycomb that is commonly used as lubricant or waterproofing agent)
- Shea or Coconut butter (for leather conditioning)
- Castor or lemon essential oil (for shining)
- Sweet almond oil (for softening and moisturizing)
- Natural baby soap
Steps for Recipe 1 (Beeswax)
- Measure 2 tablespoons of coconut or shea butter, 2 tablespoons of beeswax, and ¼ cup of castor/lemon essential oil and sweet almond oil.
- Once you’ve measured out the ingredients, combine the butter and beeswax in a small saucepan over medium-low heat and let them melt. You want to stir vigorously and constantly to ensure the ingredients don’t burn or boil.
- Once you see small bubbles forming on the surface, add the sweet almond oil and keep stirring until it’s fully blended.
- Next, slowly add castor or lemon essential oil while stirring and continue to heat the ingredients for 3-5 minutes while making sure they don’t boil.
- Turn off the heat and quickly transfer the solution to the empty containers (tins or jars) but don’t fill them all the way. Once the conditioner cools, it will solidify and expand.
This recipe can be adjusted according to the leather products you’re planning to condition. For instance, if you’re looking to treat your couch or another large piece of leather furniture, you can add more oils to smoothen the texture. For purses and leather shoes, use more beeswax and butter for a firmer, more paste-like consistency. Remember, before using your homemade leather conditioner, test it out on inconspicuous areas of your furniture or purse to see the results. If you don’t have all these ingredients or would prefer a simpler recipe, you can make a homemade leather conditioner using baby soap. Natural baby soap is loaded with more skin softening and moisturizing ingredients and is free from harsh chemicals. More importantly, you’re more likely to have this at home compared to beeswax or sweet almond oil.
Steps for Recipe 2 (Baby Soap)
- Add 4 cups of water to a saucepan and turn on the flame on medium-low heat.
- Wait until the water is lukewarm, and then add a tablespoon of baby soap.
- Keep stirring until the solution thickens, and then add a few drops of vinegar.
- Let it cool down, and your DIY leather conditioner is ready to be applied on furniture, jackets, and other large leather products.
How to Use
- Once you’ve made your first batch of homemade leather conditioners, it’s time to apply it. However, before you grab your favorite jacket or bag, make sure you thoroughly dust the surface with a clean, dry cloth. The last thing you need is for dust particles to stick to the conditioner and do more harm than good.
- Once you’ve cleaned the leather, pour some of the solutions onto a clean cloth and gently apply it to the product’s surface. As aforementioned, start with an inconspicuous spot and see the results before moving on to other areas. When applying the conditioner, try to rub the surface in a circular motion and move from one section of the leather to the next.
- Once you’re done, let it dry for an hour or more. Baby soap conditioner will take longer to dry, so you can place the item under a fan. Repeat the conditioning every quarter or after six months. If you live in a tropical or humid region, conditioning your leather products just once a year should suffice.
Whether you opt for a store-bought product or learn how to make a homemade leather conditioner, the important thing is to ensure you regularly clean and condition your leather products. However, taking the DIY route not only saves money but also makes you more self-sufficient and less dependent on commercial products and solutions. So, whether you own a leather couch or a purse, using any of the recipes above can improve their shine and texture, making them look as good as new.