‘Why does my leather need to be cleaned’, ‘Why should I apply any product when it develops patina with age anyway?’, ‘Why can’t we just use a damp cloth’? 

These are some of the many questions customers have asked us over the years. Of course, they are all myths.  

Below we have tried to bust some of these myths and provide answers which will hopefully make our readers aware of why it is important to clean and maintain leather.

Leather care process

Myth 1 - Leather rarely needs any maintenance at all

For belts, sports shoes or any other goods of low value it may not be necessary to use specialist products. However, when the leather is in constant use, for example in households with pets, busy restaurants, or in cars, it is important to provide regular care and maintenance. Look at it another way, do you want to see a build-up of grease stains from skin contact? What about dye transfer? Are friction damages on car leathers a part of the beauty of the car? Some leathers used to make belts and bags and which are mostly vegetable-tanned will develop a beautiful patina. But about 90% of shoe, furniture and car leather gets dirty and needs to be cleaned, conditioned and protected from sunlight and fading. Only a minority of leathers improve with age.

Myth 2 - Most articles made of leather require no more maintenance than a damp cloth

True but only on brand new leather or a dusty shoe. But what about old brittle stiff leather, suede, faded aniline, nubuck? The meaning of cleaning and caring is to try to conserve the leather and keep it looking “like new” for as long as possible. If this is not the goal, doing nothing and a damp cloth is a good idea. But this would not protect against sunlight if the leather is in direct contact with it.

Myth 3 - My leather looks better each day after decades of zero maintenance

Absolutely true! Just ask any of the celebrities out there! Do they all look perfect because of zero maintenance? It may well be true for a couch in a guest room with no daylight or guests, an airplane in a museum or a car that is never used.

Since leather was invented it’s been protected by colour layers, grease and oils to make it resistant and useable. It’s also been cleaned when dirty, like fabrics, wood and stone. We believe there is no special rule about cleaning. But when leather gets dirty through use and is damaged by friction, dirt, sun and dry air, it should be cleaned, both for hygienic reasons and for protection. Beauty really is in the eye of the beholder. It is entirely up to the individual if he or she wishes to preserve/restore what they have or just to spend money buying a replacement sooner.  

Just like the quality of an aged wine depends on the condition under which it was stored, the quality of an aged leather also depends on where it was stored, how it was preserved and no doubt the quality of the leather itself.