How Does Leather Moisturizer Work?

  • A leather moisturizer can help restore the beauty to dry, stiff leather products. Most leather products, if they have not been chemically sealed during the manufacturing process, tend to become dry and brittle as they age. A moisturizer applied to the leather can prevent the leather from cracking or splitting. When leather is cleaned, a moisturizer should be used to protect the leather.

Types of Moisturizers

  • The use of Neat's Foot Oil is the traditional way to keep leather soft and supple. Once the leather has been gently cleaned with a product such as Saddle Soap, the oil is applied and rubbed into the leather with a soft cloth. Many soaps are available that contain lanolin, which also acts as a moisturizer. Lotions and creams are offered by many manufactures of leather goods specifically for the products they make.

How They Work

  • Moisturizers work in the same way oils or lotions work on dry or chapped skin. They fill the pores of the leather with needed fluids to bring the leather back to a soft, pliable state. When the leather is cleaned, the soap or solution used can strip the moisture from the leather. This can cause the leather to dry and form cracks or become stiff. Like skin, age can cause moisture loss in leather, giving the hide a brittle, dull look. In this case, the moisturizer serves to restore the leather to its previous beauty.

Applying the Moisturizer

  • Most products are applied to the leather in the same way. A soft, clean cloth is saturated with the moisturizer and then rubbed into the leather. When the leather has absorbed the oil, lotion or cream, the excess is then wiped away with a second clean, dry cloth. If the leather is extremely dry, it is often recommended that the moisturizer be allowed to stay on the hide overnight in order to absorb deeply into the leather.

When to Moisturize

  • Leather goods should be moisturized any time they are cleaned or otherwise show signs of dryness. By catching the problem early, a moisturizer will prevent the leather from cracking or dulling in appearance. Leather moisturizers can be found at most shoe or leather goods stores and are applied by the consumer. Most dry cleaners also offer leather moisturizing services for their customers.

Things to Consider

  • Not all leather needs to be moisturized. The consumer should ask the salesman if the manufacturer of the product recommends the use of a moisturizer, and for recommendations on how the product should be cleaned. For leather products such as shoes, boots, coats and purses, the consumer should consider the use of water and stain repellent, which is also available in most shoe and leather goods stores. The repellent will help prevent staining of the leather, making cleaning and moisturizing less frequent.

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