Cowhide is the material that makes up leather, which is the treated and cured skin of a cow. Many people enjoy its look and feel, often wearing leather as a jacket or using it as a decoration rug. Regardless of the style of cowhide or leather, there are several tips you can follow for storing and caring for the cowhide that prevents premature wear.
Dying and Cleaning
As a general note, leather requires frequent conditioning. If you store your cowhide product for an extended period of time--a month or more--make sure that you use a leather conditioner to rub into the material. Conditioner prevents the cowhide from cracking and drying. Additionally, conditioning prevents excess moisture from causing the material to swell and stretch. Do not worry if you notice dye fading from the leather; that is typical of cowhide.
Hanging and Storing
When first purchasing leather or cowhide, treat it with a wax or water sealant to protect it from stains. Sealant protects the cowhide when you decide to store it. Prior to storing or hanging the leather, inspect the material for any stains or scratches. Immediately treat stains with a leather stain remover. If you are storing a leather jacket, always use a padded hanger. BikeWeekLeathers.com recommends that you use a “shoe tree” for leather boots and shoes. Fill handbags or cases with stuffing material to retain the bag’s shape.
Avoid storing leather products in any plastic bags or nonporous bags. Because leather is “skin,” it needs to breathe and requires proper ventilation. Always avoid any heat sources when storing the leather; follow this principle if you notice that your cowhide may be moist or damp. Do not use a heat source to dry the leather prior to storage.
Most cowhide or leather products exist as a jacket or overcoat. In turn, you expose your jacket to winter and inclement weather. During the winter, remove any salt that accumulated on the leather with a damp sponge. Do the same for your shoes or boots, which will accumulate the most salt or dirt. Make sure to remove salt deposits and allow the cowhide products to dry completely before storing; otherwise, the products swell during storage. If you live in a drier environment, maintain the leather’s supple feel by adequately moisturizing the cowhide. The dry weather causes the leather to crack if not proper conditioned. Adequately moisturize the cowhide prior to storing it.