Conditioning Your Leather Goods

Conditioning replaces tanning oils that are depleted over time through wear, heat, and moisture. Conditioning leather every 6 - 9 months will ensure that it never becomes stiff, dry, or cracked. But don’t hesitate to do it more often if you feel the leather getting dry. If you can’t tell, use the rule of thumb to condition every 15-25 uses.

The best conditioners are based on animal fat oils. These try to mimic the fats used after the tanning process that make stiff hides more supple. This is exactly what also happens to your shoes or bag after exposure to rain, snow, and sun. Try to avoid those that are overly greasy. Sapphire’s Renovateur is a highly regarded shoe conditioner that should also work well on many leather products, including bags.

When shopping for leather conditioners, it is best to avoid products containing the following:

  • Mink oil is not as effective as Animal Fat based products and can rot the stitching.
  • Neatsfoot oil like mink oil, can weaken the stitching and may blacken the leather and ultimately contribute to rotting.
  • Mineral oil can rot leather over time. We suggest avoiding these all together. 
  • Silicone creates an impenetrable barrier that does not allow the leather to breathe.