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Protect your leather from Spring showers

Monday, 28 March 2016 17:55:13 Europe/London

Spring is here and so are the usual showers. So, it’s an ideal time for extra leather protection to keep your shoes and garments waterproof. 


Water drop on leather

Most leathers for shoes and garments have already been made hydrophobic in the tannery to make them more resistant to weather conditions. But, in addition to the tannery waterproofing, there are also aerosols available at any department store or shoe shop that can help make the leather more water-resistant. 

Porous leather like suede, nubuck and aniline are especially sensitive to moisture and need that additional water-repellent protection. The waterproofing is usually applied as a spray.

The benefits of keeping moisture away from leather are mainly:

  • Keeping the leather breathable - porous leathers loose their breathability when they get wet
  • Keeping you dry - no one likes having wet feet or wearing a jacket or any other piece of clothing soaking wet against our body
  • Reducing water marks and stains
  • Maintaining the natural suppleness of leather - delicate leather often gets stiffer after drenching

        Water drop sinking in leather   Water drop sinking into leather   Water sunk into leather

It is important to remember that waterproofing never makes leather completely water repellent from surface staining. It protects only conditionally. Therefore, we should still try not to expose sensitive leather to all weather conditions.  

The most effective water-repellent agents are solvent based. These have to be applied several times and dried sufficiently between applications. 

By applying waterproofing, the breathability of the leather is reduced by about 5-10%. Since waterproofing is usually applied to very porous leathers, which are very breathable, this reduction is not very significant.  

The level of water-resistance achieved from spray cans is always better than the alternative products. In particular, water-based products can leave spots. There are also waterproofing products available in pump spray bottles, as foam or as a wash-in liquid product. Wash-in waterproofing is only suitable for leather items that can be washed.  

Water-resistant products are often assumed to be leather care products, but their only function is to increase water resistance. It can be considered leather care in the sense that it helps preserve the good condition of the leather for longer, but the leather will still require other care products in addition to a protection against the absorbency of water. Waterproofing should therefore never be understood as leather care, but only as a protection against moisture. For instance, the Colourlock Aniline Protector is a care product that contains UV-filters, antioxidants and pure synthetic oils that protect against fading and prevent dryness. This protection is important for sensitive leather such as suede, nubuck or aniline that can be seriously damaged by light and/or heat. It also refreshes colours on suede that have begun fading. It also maintains softness. Any water-repellent spray does not. 

On pigmented leathers, waterproofing isn’t necessary since the dye layer on the surface will already have some water-repellent properties. It is therefore sensible to treat dyed leather, depending on the type of leather, with a care cream, a leather oil or leather fat to maintain and waterproof.


                               Water stains on leather shoe     Water marks on aniline leather

Recommended products

Top tips!

  • The obvious one… keep water away from leather as much as possible!
  • Waterproof before you use - by applying a water-repellent to your leather item before using it you can prevent stains that are then difficult to remove.
  • Remember! A product to waterproof leather is not a care product. Your leather will need additional care products, especially if it is suede, nubuck or aniline.
Posted in Info Articles By Ram Iyer

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The secrets of patent leather

Monday, 21 March 2016 19:44:04 Europe/London

Think of patent leather and you’d be forgiven for thinking of eroticism and fetish. That’s because it’s often used to make skin tight clothing, thigh-length boots and other such items. 

But the high-gloss finish makes patent leather a popular choice generally for shoes, handbags, clothing and other accessories. There are also many similar products made from cheap synthetic patent leather. 

To make patent leather, a special coating is applied to the surface or, more commonly, a film is glued on. Garments made from patent leather will not withstand extensive stretching and are certainly not so easy to wear or put on, so they are not worn that often. However, patent leather bags and shoes can be used daily so they can show signs of wear.

                                         Patent leather bag    Patent leather jacket

Cleaning and maintenance of patent leather

We are often asked why patent leather is more sensitive than others. One of the main reasons is that glossy leather has surfaces that make scratches and abrasions immediately visible. The human eye detects differences on glossy surfaces much faster than on matt surfaces. 

Other types of leather are similarly sensitive, but their softness and the matt surface not only prevent damage, but damages are not so clearly visible. 

Light colour patent leather has a special sensitivity to absorb dyes. It should therefore be stored away from other items that might cause colour contamination. Colour dyes penetrate like a tattoo into the leather and cannot be cleaned. Pen strokes and other similar discolorations can only be removed if treated immediately. 

It often happens that old patent leather becomes sticky with time due to decay. Unfortunately there is no solution to this problem. The leather can be cleaned with a mild leather cleaner and wiped with mineral spirits. This might diminish the stickiness temporarily as long as the condition is not too bad.  

Using a classic furniture polish to clean and maintain patent leather works well as these products are good for caring for high gloss surfaces. Nevertheless: always test first on a hidden area to observe changes. This method should not be used if the leather is scratched. Deep scratches can’t be removed from patent leather. 

This material is particularly sensitive to solvents. Solvents contained in some cleaners, leather care products and aerosol products will dull the surface and leave ugly spots. Such stains can rarely be removed. 

Another typical damage to patent leather are scratches that look as if the upper colour layer of the leather has been removed, making a brighter background (usually white) visible. This is simply a loss of dye from the surface. The scratches then look like bright stripes. The colour in these scratches can be removed by Colourlock Leather Cleaning Spirit.


                                   Louie Vuitton damaged patent bag     Damaged patent leather jacket



Top tips

  • Avoid scratching your patent leather goods 
  • For regular cleaning of patent leather just use a damp cloth
  • Traditional leather care products will harm the colour layer on patent leather
  • Do not apply oil or fat. The leather is covered by a layer of paint, so the products won’t sink in because a patent leather is not porous.
Posted in Info Articles By Ram Iyer

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What is Connollising?

Sunday, 13 March 2016 15:01:37 Europe/London

Connollising is synonymous with cleaning, caring and renewing the colour of leather. It is named after Connolly, a famous English tannery, founded in 1878.  

Connolly supplied most of the leather for the British car industry, including Aston Martin, Rolls-Royce, Bentley, Jaguar and Rover, but also non-British makes such as Ferrari, Maserati, Lincoln or Lexus. Usually luxury car producers don’t mention who manufactured the leather inside, but Connolly created such a strong brand that it was promoted by the car producers. Connolly was the star of the era of vegetable tanned leather. Today, no luxury car producer promotes the company making the leather for them.  

Unfortunately Connolly made some wrong decisions when trying to enter the American market and the company had to close in 2002. The best- known brand for luxury car leather completely vanished from the market.

                                  Connolly Leather     Connolly Leather seats


But the name remains because, in addition to the core business of selling leather, Connolly was also successful at selling cleaning and care products for leather (the famous Hide Food) as well as leather colours.   

‘Connollising’ became a byword for cleaning, caring and renewing the leather colour. Some use the expression only for cleaning and caring for the leather, while others apply it to colouring treatment. In fact, any conserving or repair treatment, except replacing the leather, falls under the term ‘Connollising’ and the treated leather is considered to have been ‘Connollised’.  

Since the company closed down, the term ‘Connollising’ is slowly being used less. Only the famous Hide Food care kit is still sold. 

Leather cleaning, leather care and leather repair products have changed in the last 20 years. There was a radical change from the solvent based leather colours of the time of Connolly, to the more sensitive and greener water-based pigment colours of today. Vegetable tanned leather has also been replaced by chrome tanning and synthetic tanning. 

Modern cleaners are solvent-free and pH neutral. Leather care products contain softening oils, UV filters, antioxidants and friction reducers. The repair colours are no longer solvent but water-based. There is a new generation of DIY products like COLOURLOCK Leather Fresh to be applied with a sponge, as well as professional colours to be sprayed on.           


                                                              Connallised Leather Seats

If you are interested in cleaning, caring and repairing your valuable car leather with a modern range of products, please have a look at our information and videos.

Posted in Info Articles By Ram Iyer

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