We love leather, but it is not always a low-maintenance relationship. In order to maintain the appearance and durability of your leather items, we recommend that you read and follow these instructions for caring for your leather purchase. Leather is prone to color changes and will often darken or change color when you treat it with any type of cleaner or conditioner, so always apply in an out-of-the-way spot to ensure you are pleased with the color and results
Conditioning (not recommended for suede)
Leather is a natural product and can be damaged more by dry air and loss of oils than by water. Wind, warm air, dust, chemicals, mid and normal body movement all increase the rate of oil loss in leathers. Dry fibers scuff easily, causing them to get brittle and break prematurely and leading to cracks and tears.
It is important to keep your leather properly conditioned. The frequency with which your leather must be treated varies, so it is important to check your items regularly for dryness and scuffing, especially on the arms and elbows. If your leather is going to get wet, it’s best to oil it ahead of time.
We recommend conditioning your Hare+Hart products with a natural conditioner such as Obenauf’s Leather Oil.
To apply Obenauf’s Leather Oil, simply rub it into the leather with the applicator (included with the bottle), using circular motions, or for larger items use a clean, soft cloth (like a cotton washcloth). Never apply the oil directly to the leather. Make sure you work out from one corner and gradually cover the entire piece with an equal amount of oil. Test carefully in a small, discrete area when beginning this process to make sure you are pleased with the effect. In addition, you will want to ensure you don’t oversaturate the leather — the only way to determine the correct amount is to work carefully since each leather will vary considerably due to dryness, texture, and other factors.
The recommended approach is to apply one treatment, wait a reasonable amount of time for it to set (2-3 hours), then test for dryness by applying a bit more oil. If it still absorbs easily, you can apply another coat. If you do over-apply, don’t panic! You can remove excess oil by blotting with clean dry cloths and buffing until the excess is gone. When you are finished with your treatment, let the item set overnight, then buff to remove any excess oil. Buffing will restore the leather to a soft finish and also remove any tackiness that you might notice from the treatment.
Cleaning (not recommended for suede)
Cleaning leather can be a tricky since the very act of cleaning it may damage the leather. This is especially true of some cleaners that use harsh chemicals. In mild cases, we recommend using Obenauf’s Leather Oil to act as a solvent on the grime. Use the liquid oil to loosen the dirt and blot away the excess oil. This will ensure that you do not damage the leather. If the leather is extremely grimy, we recommend Obenauf’s Leather Cleaner.
As with conditioning, always test a small portion on a discrete area. Cleaning your leather will dry out the leather, so it is very important to re-condition the leather after cleaning.
Stain Removal (not recommended for suede)
Unfortunately, in many cases there is not much you can do about stained leather. If you are dealing with a fresh stain you need to act aggressively and quickly to prevent it from setting. Simply use a damp cloth and wipe it up as quickly as possible. Stains from greasy or oily substances can often be lifted out by sprinkling powdered chalk on the area and letting it set overnight. Use a light brush or cloth to remove the powder after it has had enough time to remove the stain. Don’t rub the powder in — it won’t help. Lighter stains can often be “hidden” by treating the article with oil since it will darken the overall color of your leather item upon application. Again, always be certain to test for colorfastness and textural effects on a discrete area to make sure you are pleased with the results. Serious stains that appear to be set in deeply may be irreparable. In this case, your best bet is to consult a local leather expert who may be able to offer some suggestions about professional cleaning options.
Caring for Suede
While suede and nubuck have a great soft texture, they are also difficult to clean and protect. Your best treatment for cleaning suede and soft textured leathers is a suede brush which will have short, bristled, fine wire teeth.
Brush carefully and only when the leather is dry so you don’t affect the nap of the leather. Stains are a challenge since you can’t use any liquid cleaners without affecting the texture and possibly “matting” the finish. Try rubbing some cornmeal gently into the stain to absorb it and use your suede brush to remove it.
Leather conditioners are not appropriate for these textured leathers since any oil-type treatment is going to affect the texture adversely. You can use a waterproofing agent (we recommend Obenauf’s Watershield since it is a natural product and will not harm your leather) although there is no safe method for restoring the natural oils of the leather. Your best approach to extend the life of suede is to use your suede items gently and store them carefully to ensure years of use. Suede spray conditioners are available, but they are comprised of unnatural chemicals and we have not tested how they will affect the suede used in Hare+Hart products.
Be sure to store you leather items in an airy, cool, dry area that is not too hot or cold and certainly not damp. The storage area should be darkened to avoid direct sunlight as well since it will dry and fade the leather. If you hang your leather items, be sure to use padded hangers to help preserve the shape. Storing your item in the Hare+Hart cotton dust bag will allow it to breath while protecting it from mars and scratches. Do not enclose it for long periods of time in plastic since that would dry the item out.
Conditioning your leather item with oil will provide some resistance to water. If you want to waterproof your item further, we recommend using Obenauf’s Waterproofing Agent as it is a natural water-based silicone and does not contain chemical propellants. This product can be sprayed directly onto the leather.
Although some of the distressed leathers look better when aged with wrinkles, you may also choose to iron your leather products. It is important that you do so with a hot, dry iron and always place a sheet between the iron and the leather.
If your leather becomes wet, allow it to dry in an area away from direct sunlight and heat before conditioning it.
Obenauf’s Leather Products
We choose to use Obenauf’s leather care products because they do not contain any harmful chemical additives and were created so that a little goes a long way. You can learn more about each individual product and purchase Obenauf’s leather care products on our website here.