Leather Care: How to Clean, Condition, & Polish [Guide]

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Whether you own a pair of leather chukka boots or a top grain leather messenger bag, when treated properly, a quality piece of leather should last for several years.

In this guide we will highlight the proper steps to complete leather care – which includes the following:

  • Leather cleaning
  • Leather conditioning
  • Leather polishing & protecting

Beyond the basics of leather care, we also will take a deeper dive into fully understanding the different types of leather that are found in goods, and how to prevent future leather damage from happening. As well, we will hopefully answer any questions you might have when it comes to owning leather goods.

Let’s dive in.

Understanding the Different Types of Leather

Before you begin treating any piece of leather, its important to understand the piece of material a bit more in detail.

It may not only dictate the course of action in getting better results during the leather caring process, but will also help you in selecting the right type of leather goods in the future.

  • The Many Different Types of Leather

As you go through both online and brick-and-mortar stores, you will find leather is generally available in any of the following types:

  • Full Grain – Containing the entire layer of the grain, full grain is the strongest and most durable type of leather that one can own. What makes this type of leather unique from others is that the surface has only been treated a little bit (removal of the hairs), while retaining many of the natural texture and oils found within the hide.  Once tanned, full grain leather develops a nice patina over time – which is associated with fine pieces of leather.
  • Top Grain – After full grain leather, the next and perhaps one of the most popular types of leather, would be top grain leather. Rather than containing the entire cross section of the outermost grain, top grain leather is a deeper cut from the hide that has had the outer blemishes removed.  Unlike full grain that may embrace natural imperfections in the hide, top grain has been sanded down and provides a much more uniform look to the leather.  Top grain leather, like full grain leather, will also develop a nice patina as this texture goes through regular wear.
  • Split Grain – Once the top grain has been removed from the hide, the next layer will be the corium.  The corium contains the makings of a few different types of leather including suede, genuine leather, and bonded leather (more on these in just a minute).  What is unique about split grain leather is, given that it is sourced from such a deeper part of the hide (under the top grain layer), it doesn’t have a natural texture or color.  Therefore, what you will see in this leather type isn’t one that naturally comes from the cow – but is rather artificially or man made.  While not necessarily a bad thing, as a uniform texture and dye can display nicely, there likely won’t be nearly as good of a patina that develops at this level.
  • Suede – Suede is often sourced from younger cows, as the suede found in older cows tends to be coarser. Suede exhibits soft and velvet-like qualities. Caring for this type of leather is completely different from caring for traditional leather goods.  We included a section at the end of this guide if you are looking to learn how to care for suede.
  • Genuine Leather – While companies may lead you to believe that genuine leather is crafted from a quality piece of hide, this type of leather is one of the worst you can buy. Made from the remaining bits in the corium layer of the hide, genuine leather is a mix of leather and a bonding agent in order to keep its form.  This type of leather is expected to only last a few years at most.  Therefore, we would recommend that you don’t waste money and care for this type of leather.  Instead, save what you would have spent on supplies and get quality leather goods made from full or top grain leather instead.
  • Bonded Leather – This type of leather is rarely found in fashion goods.  However, for the sake of completeness we thought it best to at least touch on it briefly.  Like genuine leather, bonded leather is a mix between both leather bits and bonding agents (typically polyurethane).  Based on our understanding, this type of leather has very little regulatory oversight on classification other than disclosure on percent of leather contained (source).  Therefore, if bonded leather is made from very little leather remnants, a label may say 10% leather fibers and 90% non-leather substances.

Leather Cleaning: Common Cleaners to Consider

When cleaning your leather goods, there are many different products that are worth considering.  Here we wanted to take a minute to go over a few of the more popular options and what is contained in them.

Before we jump into looking at a few products, we first want to quickly talk about performance expectations.

As you read above, leather can come in many different varieties.  Therefore, certain leather types (i.e. genuine leather) may not look much better after diligent cleaning – and in fact, may look worse.

The products listed below are designed to work on the following leather varieties:

  • Full Grain Leather
  • Top Grain Leather

Furthermore, leather cleaners, conditioning agents, and protectants will do very little when it comes to attempting to repair damaged leather goods.

In this guide it is assumed that the leather goods you plan on caring for haven’t been abused or neglected.

While the products covered in this guide are intended for moderately worn goods, it is very much a your mileage may vary situation when trying to revive old leather goods.

Saddle Soap: What it Is & How to Use

Here’s a brief look at saddle soap:

  • What Is Saddle Soap?

Originally used on saddles for horses (hence the name), saddle soap has become a staple product for many men looking to clean their leather goods.

Saddle soap often contains a mix of key ingredients which may include the following:

  • Surfactants – Reduces the surface tension making it easier for the dirt or oil pollutants to be lifted from the textured leather surface. Surfactants are the primary chemical compound found in dish soap.  Given that surfactants allow for a deeper cleaning, they are often associated with the release or drying out of natural oils – especially in leather goods (you will see how to counteract this process in just a minute).
  • Natural Moisturizers – Moisturizers such as lanolin (naturally derived from wool), helps to counteract any of the dryness from surfactants. These natural softening ingredients will also bring a more pliable texture to the leather hide itself.
  • Protectants – The last core ingredient you will want to be mindful of when choosing a saddle soap will be protectant properties. While not nearly as effective as a proper leather protectant (more on this in a minute), protectants such as beeswax that are contained within saddle soap will be a great initial base layer that you can build upon in the later steps.

These are just a few standout categories and specific ingredients that you should be mindful of when considering your options for saddle soaps.

Now it is worth noting that not all leather cleaners will contain these ingredients – and that is completely fine.

If critical supporting ingredients such as moisturizers (i.e. typically oils) or protectants (i.e. typically waxes) are missing from the ingredient list – make sure that the leather cleaner is pH balanced.  This will lessen the impact that the surfactants or other cleansing agents may have on the material when you begin cleaning.

  • How Saddle Soap Differs from Traditional Soap

Fundamentally, saddle soap and traditional hand soap are two completely different products.  While hand soaps may contain some moisturizers in order to prevent the drying of your skin, they simply will be much too harsh when cleaning leather.

Attempting to use hand soap on your top or full grain leather apparel will result in a rapid breakdown of the patina.

In addition to damaging the outer layer of the leather, the use of hand soap may cause discoloration.

Proprietary Leather Care Cleaners

While saddle soap is synonymous with leather cleaning, there are other more modern leather cleaners that men are starting to gravitate toward.

The most notable products used for leather cleaning are the following:

  • Lexol Leather Cleaner
  • Chamberlain’s Leather Milk

While both the above are specific brands, they are unlike traditional saddle soap and are often used in combination with other products – for instance, the Lexol leather cleaner is recommended to be used in tandem with their all leather conditioner (often sold together as a bundle).

Rather than relying on surfactants that are typically found in saddle soaps, brands like Chamberlain’s Leather Milk rely on a blend of alcohol, water, and other non-alkaline ingredients (source).

While it may seem counterintuitive based on our understanding of treating leather, the reviews from other men have been overwhelmingly positive.

The key takeaway here is that, yes, saddle soap is an effective cleaner for your leather goods.  However, other brands have demonstrated exceptional capabilities when it comes to providing a deep and careful cleaning of your leather goods.

  • Where Leather Cleaning Wipes Fit In

Whether you have perused the aisles of your local auto parts store, or you simply are looking for a one-time use product, chances are that you have come across leather cleaning wipes.

While they provide considerable convenience when it comes to cleaning leather goods and surfaces – based on our research and understanding, these products are best avoided.

Not because they are necessarily bad in any way, but many have found that they were able to attain much better results when using a liquid or balm-like cleaner paired with a microfiber cloth, given that the cloth has a better texture and thickness.

If you are looking for a product in a pinch, leather cleaning wipes can work, but if you want a better and deeper cleaning of your leather goods, its best to consider traditional leather care products mentioned thus far.

Where to Buy Leather Cleaners

While leather cleaners such as saddle soap or Lexol may seem like old-school products that would be hard to find, these unique cleaners are rather accessible.

When it comes to brick-and-mortar shops, a trip to your local cobbler or fine leather goods store (particularly in larger cities) should have these cleansers on hand.

If you would rather purchase these online, major online retailers regularly stock these.

Beyond the major online stores, boutique stores and heritage brand stores such as the following, also sell leather cleaners:

How to Clean Leather

When it comes down to cleaning leather, the process is straightforward and easy.

Here are the steps necessary to clean leather:

  1. Remove any laces, straps, fixtures, or accessories as it will make it much easier to get around any eyelets or other small areas of the leatherware to be cleaned.
  2. With a damp microfiber cloth – give the leatherware an initial wipe down to remove large areas of dirt and debris.
  3. Rinse cloth and then apply a nickel sized amount of leather cleaner.
  4. Rub the cloth along the leather surface in a small/compact circular motion until the leather cleaner has fully removed any excess dirt or oil.
  5. Continue step #4 until the leather is fully cleaned.
  6. Once completed, rinse the cloth and let the leather dry overnight.
  7. Once the leather has been air-dried, give the surface one last wipe down with a clean cloth as the ingredients from the leather cleaner may have oxidized.
  8. Add/attach the accessories removed in step #1.

The important point to remember here is to try to be uniform and consistent with your cleaning process (i.e. don’t clean one side of your shoe more than the other).

If you are cleaning a valuable piece of leather (perhaps a family heirloom piece or an expensive pair of leather boots), we recommend that you test out the product first in a small unnoticeable area.

Leather Conditioning:

Like leather cleaners, leather conditioning agents come in many different forms.

However, regardless of the ingredients that the leather conditioner is relying upon, they all attempt to deliver the same goal in the overall leather care process – to add back moisture and to strengthen the fabric itself.

Below we are going to look at a few of the most popular types of leather conditioners that are commonly used:

Mink Oil

One of the most popular types of leather conditioners that are used to add moisture back into the leather hide would be mink oil.

Derived from the fat that has been separated from the pelt of the mink, this unique oil plays an important role in nourishing leather goods (source).

Like the sebum found in humans, mink oil displays very similar properties in delivering the essential moisturizing ingredients that help to make a skin or hide feel both soft and flexible.

When used on either top or full grain leather goods, mink oil will bring out a richer color of the leather to the surface and darken the overall tone of the material just a touch.  After being applied diligently, it can make a pair of old tired leather shoes look nearly as good as new.

For proof of its effectiveness, we recommend checking out some of the following before/after pics of mink oil in action:

In addition to bringing out a nice subtle shine to the surface of the leather material, mink oil also provides terrific water-resistant properties.

After being conditioned thoroughly, a mink oil conditioned boot will naturally resist water and other pollutants which will help to prolong the life of the leather.

While not technically considered a protectant (more on these in the next section), mink oil still can help bridge the gap of being both a conditioner and semi-protectant for your leather goods.

Leather Honey

Like Lexol and Leather Milk cleaners, Leather Honey is the name of a product rather than a type of leather conditioner.

Like mink oil, Leather Honey is not only able to provide a rich amount of moisture and conditioning agents to any piece of leather but will also offer some protective properties.

As is common with many leather-based products, Leather Honey doesn’t disclose the ingredients that are contained in the solution – which may understandably be off-putting for some men – especially if you are looking for a leather conditioner to use on a pair of $500 heritage full grain leather boots.

While the ingredients found within Leather Honey are unknown, they do disclose on their site the following:

  • That it is non-toxic
  • Free of animal products (so it doesn’t contain mink or neatsfoot oil)
  • Doesn’t contain silicone
  • Doesn’t contain solvents

We think overall, that if you are looking for a leather conditioner that doesn’t require an animal being slaughtered (although it’s worth remembering that you are using this on leather…), then this is likely the best and one of the few trusted options out there.

Neatsfoot

Like mink oil, neatsfoot (also known as neat’s foot) is another animal derived conditioning agent for leather.

The name of the oil is actually derived from the Old English word for cattle which is “Neat” and is also the same animal from which the oil is sourced (source).

Rather than using the fat from the pelt like mink oil, neatsfoot oil is made from the boiling of cow bones.  Once the bones are boiled, the oil is then skimmed off the top and then further refined.

Able to produce a nice and subtle shine to just about any piece of leather, neatsfoot is the only oil out there that stays true to the same animal from which the leather was derived.

While we are keeping the animal source of the leather and oil the same, there are some unique and questionable preservation properties for neatsfoot oil.

  • Neatsfoot Oil Shouldn’t Be Used on Light Leather

One of the most prominent characteristics when using neatsfoot oil is that it will darken a piece of leather after application.

While this may not be an issue when conditioning a pair of dark leather Chelsea boots, but should you be looking to condition a lighter piece of leather, this is worth noting as it can alter the appearance of the leather that is to be treated.

  • Is Neatsfoot Really Effective?

During our research, we came across this interesting research piece that was published by the Canadian Conservation Institute (CCI).

Within the lengthy document this paragraph caught our attention:

“Many leather dressings are available on the market: British Museum Leather Dressing®, neat’s foot oil, lanolin, etc. Research has since shown that dressings are generally not effective in preserving leather (McCrady and Raphael, 1987). Unless the oil content of the leather is known through chemical analysis to be too low, applied oils from a dressing can cause further stiffening by dehydrating the leather (Stambolov et al., 1984). Furthermore, many oils and fats used in leather dressings lubricate in the short term but oxidize with time, resulting in additional stiffening of the leather. There are many other problems created by applying a leather dressing, including the darkening of the leather’s surface, the staining of surrounding materials and the risk of attracting dust or insects.”

Source: Care of Alum, Vegetable and Mineral-tanned Leather – Canadian Conservation Institute (CCI) Notes 8/2

The takeaway here:

Neatsfoot oil may have the opposite effect and cause further stiffening and dehydration of the leather!

Now, this new finding inevitably begs the question – if neatsfoot oil isn’t good for leather, then why do so many men out there who use this on their leather goods say it’s so great?

Our opinion is this:

Neatsfoot oil isn’t good for preservation, especially when it comes to museum archival purposes for artifacts that are to be on display for eternity.

However, for daily wear and the relatively short time frame of which you will be wearing these leather boots (in the grand scheme of things), neatsfoot oil likely won’t have a measurable impact on performance or consistency of the leather.  Your leather goods are intended to be used and aren’t going to be on display for centuries.

How to Condition Leather

Like cleaning leather, conditioning leather is a straightforward and easy-to-follow process and contains nearly the identical steps:

  1. Remove laces, accessories, etc.
  2. Clean boot with a trusted leather cleaner.
  3. Pour or dab a small (dime-sized) amount of conditioner onto a microfiber cloth.
  4. Rub in a circular motion across the surface of the leather.
  5. Let rest for an extended period (overnight typically).
  6. Wipe any residue that may have oxidized with a clean cloth.

As was the case when cleaning leather, if it’s your first time using a leather conditioner, we recommend that you test the product on a small unnoticeable area before applying to the entire surface.  This is especially important if you are using a leather conditioner that is known to slightly alter the color of the material.

Leather Polish, Protectants, & Waxes:

The last categories to know about when caring for leather is both leather polishes and protectants (sometimes referred to as leather wax).

As we touched on a bit earlier, much of the popular types of leather protectants tend to rely on natural waxes such as beeswax as the primary ingredient to resist natural aging of the hide.

Another common ingredient found in protectants would be lanolin.

When looking at polishes, these subtly differ from protectants or waxes as they will also have dyes added to the product.  This, of course, can help to darken leather goods and to improve or hide the appearance of deep scratches on the surface.

  • Why Should You Use Leather Protectants?

The most important reason why you should consider leather protectants is due to the natural elements.  Given that leather is primarily worn during the colder months (this is especially true for leather boots), rain, snow, and salt can quickly destroy leather.

When using a protectant on your leather goods, the water-resistant properties will be helpful in preventing the buildup of water damage – especially in the seams and creases of a leather good.

How to Protect & Polish Leather

Protecting and polishing leather goods is an easy process.

Done about once every couple of months, you are going to want to first follow the steps outlined in both the leather cleaning and conditioning sections.

  1. Make sure your leather goods have been fully cleaned and conditioned beforehand.
  2. All accessories, laces, etc. have been removed.
  3. Test protectant or polish in a small discrete area.
  4. If everything looks good, rub a moderate amount of the product in a circular motion around the entire boot.
  5. Let air dry and then wipe off any excess residue with a clean cloth.

Given that polishes (particularly cheap ones) tend to transfer the dye to your clothes, the final step of giving your leather goods one more final wipe down will be important.

Also, worth mentioning is the type of goods you plan on polishing.  We only recommend polishing boots as they typically don’t touch other clothes (besides the inside of your pants).  So, don’t polish leather messenger bags, belts, wallets, etc. as they may transfer the dye to your shirt, jacket, pants, etc.

Four Tips on How to Prevent Leather Damage

Leather Care

As the saying goes, the best offence is a good defense.

This couldn’t be more accurate than when it comes to caring for leather goods.

Therefore, we wanted to share with you four quick tips that you should keep in mind when caring for and using leather goods.

1. Don’t Substitute Cleaning, Conditioning, and Protectant Products

While Windex or disinfectant wipes may be great to use on your windows or counter tops, they are much too harsh for a piece of leather.

Household cleaning products are designed for cleaning hard and tough surfaces.  When used on leather or even your skin, they can result in intense dryness and cracking of the surface.

If you have a pair of full grain leather boots or a wallet that has developed a nice patina with age, using any type of harsh cleaner will be a quick way to destroy it.

While it may be tempting to use just a small amount of cleaner, especially if you just got a stain on your leather boots, resist the urge and wait to use a proper leather cleaner, even if that means having to go to the store or ordering one online.

2. Leave Out of Direct Sunlight

If you own a pair of leather boots and plan on wearing them out in the snow during the winter months, they will inevitably get exposed to water and sometimes, salt, depending on where you live.

While a leather protectant can do a great job at resisting much of this moisture, the water may eventually seep through the welt or eyelets and cause your boot to get wet.

While it may be temping to toss your leather boots under a radiator or in direct sunlight, you need to resist this urge.

Doing so will cause the leather to both shrink and stiffen.  Furthermore, direct heat on the leather may cause the surface to begin cracking – which will quickly destroy both its performance and appearance.

Our recommendation is to simply place your leather boots in a well-ventilated and dry area.  While this will be a much slower drying process, it will put much less stress on the leather itself.

3. Avoid Rain

When wearing leather boots or bags outdoors, inevitably, at some point, you’ll get stuck in the rain.  While it has been common knowledge now for decades that you shouldn’t get leather wet, the best we can recommend here is to always carry an umbrella with you.

With some umbrellas now able to be folded up into a small form factor, there is no reason why one can’t be tucked into your favorite daypack, messenger bag or backpack.

4. If Shoes, Use a Boot Tree to Remove Moisture

Several years ago, I thought that boot trees used to be a tool for fancy rich people….

…do you really need to put a pair of rugged boots into some fancy looking piece of cedar wood?!

But as I have wisened up over the years, the benefits of boot trees are quite remarkable – especially if you own a pair of leather boots.

Boot trees serve two critical functions:

  1. Retain the structure and shape of the boot
  2. Remove moisture to prevent rot

Here’s why both are important:

No matter how thick of a cut that leather is (i.e. full grain), it remains both a natural hide and cannot resist the force of gravity.

After several years, the leather will begin to look tired and drab.  A boot tree retains this natural structure indefinitely.  This is especially important given that leather boots are only worn occasionally and are often stored for several months at a time (i.e. over the summer).

Another more important benefit of owning a boot tree is the removal of moisture.

While socks do a terrific job at both wicking moisture away from your skin, much of your natural sweat will transfer to the inside of your boot.

When this happens, the fabric lining and underside of the leather will begin to break down.

Rot is a very common problem, particularly with leather boots, as they tend to trap more of your body heat and moisture given the lack of any vents (such as the mesh found in tennis shoes).

Therefore, wooden boot trees do a terrific job at stopping this slow, yet damaging process.

Quick Note: Unfortunately, some cheaper companies make plastic boot trees.  Avoid these as they will be unable to absorb any moisture from the inside of the fabric.

Leather Care Products to Get You Started

Now that we have all that covered, we wanted to share with you a few recommended products that you should use when cleaning, conditioning, and protecting your leather goods:

Fiebing’s Saddle Soap

Founded in 1895, Fiebing’s has been one of the preferred companies by those looking to both clean and care for leather.

Their flagship saddle soap is one of the most popular products when it comes to leather cleaning.

Available in three different colors:

  • Yellow
  • Black
  • White

You can find the one that will work best with your leather goods (most pick yellow).  Relying on a blend of gentle surfactants, Fiebing’s saddle soap will gently lift dirt and oils that have been stuck onto any leather surface.

Designed to be used on saddlery, boots, shoes, bags, wallets, and other smooth leather goods, the delicate nature of this product shouldn’t cause any discoloration or degradation in the leather itself.

If there was one common complaint many have around this product, it is the lack of a proper ingredient list.  While most saddle soaps are a mix of surfactants, lanolin, and beeswax, we are unable to confirm their inclusions on this saddle soap.

While this makes proper evaluation tough, it is worth noting the many positive reviews and rich history that Fiebing’s brings to the table.

If they were out to make a quick buck, then they would have been out of business years ago.

Many stand by this product and find that it is effective at cleaning their leather goods.

Lexol Leather Cleaner & Conditioner

We spoke a bit about Lexol earlier, so we won’t go too much further in detail here, however we just want to note a few quick points that make it an effective leather cleaner:

  • Rich History – Founded in 1933, it is nearly 100 years old and has been trusted by men for generations.
  • Restores Natural Balance of Oils – In any quality leather (full grain or top grain), natural oils are essential in allowing the material to feel both soft and supple. This unique leather cleaner and conditioner helps to restore those natural oils to their original balance.
  • Two Step System Is Effective – Used both as a cleaner and conditioner, this combo pack covers the first two essential steps in proper leather care. You will only need to buy a protectant for additional defense (although the conditioner here does act as a strong protectant in its own right).
  • Includes Cleaning Sponges – The two included micro-fiber sponges will be effective at cleaning your leather goods gently while also not scratching the delicate leather surface.
  • Protects Against Cracking – The leather cleaner contains non-corrosive ingredients that won’t dry out the hide. The conditioner helps to restore the natural oils in order to prevent surface cracks from occurring for months after treatment.
  • Versatile – Whether you need to care for a leather wallet, boots, messenger bag, or your vehicle, this versatile cleaner and conditioner can work everywhere.

The Lexol leather cleaner and conditioner is a great combo product that can help to clean and restore many different types of leather products.

If you decide to go with this product, you can skip the saddle soap mentioned above as the Lexol cleaner will take its place.

Otter Wax Boot Wax

The best leather protectant should have a blend of both beeswax and lanolin in order to both resist water and allow it to effortlessly roll off the hide.

This boot wax by Otter Wax is a trusted leather protectant that gets the job done.

While categorized as a boot wax, it is versatile and can be easily used on a variety of leather goods.

Furthermore, this wax contains no synthetic or natural dyes that may cause discoloration – a common problem found in many of the other cheap leather protectants on the market.

In order to prevent any slow rot to the surface of the boot itself, this wax doesn’t contain toxins, petroleum, solvents, or silicone.

Able to bring old faded boots back to life, this thick boot wax will help to cover up existing wear and tear marks (particularly on the toe cap), while also preventing future ones from occurring.

Overall, if you want something all natural that will protect a quality full grain leather boot, this boot wax is a sound choice.

This an essential product, which you should have on hand for the last and arguably the most important step of the leather care process.

How to Care for Suede & Nubuck

While suede and nubuck are made from cow hide (specifically the under skin), they take on a much more velvety or softer texture.

When caring for suede and nubuck, none of the products mentioned above should be used.

Instead, you should follow these steps:

1. Brush to Loosen Dirt & Fluff Texture

With a moderately stiff bristled brush, go over the affected area of the suede or nubuck that needs to be treated.

If you are looking to clean or protect an entire piece of suede or nubuck, then simply brush in large sections (i.e. front left of jacket, entire back of jacket, etc.)

2. Use a Suede or Nubuck Cleaner & Eraser

While a bit harder to find at your local fabric or restoration store, online retailers carry specific cleaners and erasers that are gentle enough to be used on suede or nubuck.

Cleaners are used to loosen the dirt or debris while the erasers are used to gently lift any surface stains from the fabric.

However, before you try and remove a stain, we would recommend that you test out the cleaning spray and eraser on an unnoticeable area to make sure that it doesn’t alter the color or texture of the suede.

3. Let the Suede or Nubuck Dry

Once the fabric has been cleaned and the stains removed, you will then want to let it air dry.

Make sure that you don’t place it near a heat source or in direct sunlight as either of these may cause the natural hide to stiffen or crack.

4. Suede and Nubuck Protectors

If the stain you removed was in an area that sees regular staining or discoloration through regular contact, it may be worth investing in a suede protectant.

Protectants, like those used for leather care mentioned earlier, provide a light barrier between the delicate suede or nubuck for added protection.

They are simple to use (just apply a light spray coat) and are often worth the investment – especially if you plan on wearing or using this leatherware regularly.

Final Thoughts on Leather Care

As you have learned in our guide, caring for leather is an involved, but necessary process in order to lengthen the life of your nice leather goods.

When it comes to leather care, you must look at all three steps:

  1. Leather cleaning
  2. Leather conditioning
  3. Leather protecting

Each is a vital part of the process.

While cleaning a pair of leather boots is likely not near the top of anyone’s priority list, doing this chore every now and again will allow a nice pair of full grain leather boots to not only last for a season or two, but rather a decade or two.

We hope that this guide was helpful in getting the most from your leather goods.

About The Author

Shawn Burns

Shawn is the founder and senior editor at Tools of Men, the leading style and grooming source trusted by men in 187 countries. He started this site with the goal of teaching men proper grooming habits and sensible style. He is an expert in all things men's grooming related. His work has been mentioned on countless sites including The Wall Street Journal, NBC, AskMen, Vice, WikiHow, and the New York Times.

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