Protecting Leather

While stuck at home due to Hurricane Sandy, I thought to myself, “With all of this rain, how could I protect my leather investments?” Granted even the best waterproofing product couldn’t protect my loafers or bomber jacket from a Tropical Storm, but on a regular rainy day, what would be the best option? Leather is a very durable material that can take a real beating, and if you purchase the right type of leather, it can last you a lifetime if taken care of properly.

As durable as it is, water is leather’s sworn enemy. Water weakens the flexibility from the skin and strips out the natural fibers, which later causes staining, stretching and cracking if not properly restored.

A few products on the market can help you protect your bag, jacket or shoes. Understand, no matter how much of a “waterproofing” product you use, it will never be 100% waterproof. Waterproof means an item can be under water for an extensive period and the interior of the item remains unharmed. Whereas water resistant means an item is designed to resist but not entirely prevent the penetration of water.

These are the two items I’ve recently purchased to protect my leather investments:

  • Obenauf’s Leather Oil is created with a gentle blend of natural oils, waxes, Obenauf Leather Oil restores dried leather to a soft and supple condition, repels water, and resists cracking, scuffing.

  • Taking a page from the classic, Swims modern galosh is designed to be easily slipped on and off. With its high-grip sole and water resistant quality rubber, this is both a lightweight and stylish shoe.

Here are a few steps to follow when apply a waterproofer:

  1. Make sure area is cleaned before applying the protector.
  2. Let it dry fully and then start applying your waterproofer.
  3. Test a small area before treating the entire garment, bag or shoe.
  4. Pick a discreet spot and apply a small amount of the protector to see how the leather reacts to it.
  5. Take your time and let the protector fully absorb into the leather before you decide to treat the entire piece.