How to Care for Leather
HOW TO CARE FOR YOUR VALUABLE TACK, BOOTS & LEATHER ITEMS
Saddles, boots, bridles and other leather items are valuable investments and we want to get the most of our treasured equipment. You’ll want to keep your new boots and saddles wonderful your our older, well-worn-in treasured favorites good-looking and functional for a long time.
With the right care, we can keep them beautiful and functional. Here some tips:
1. Clean off loose dirt and dust before applying any product. Use a rag on smooth surfaces and a small, firm brush for crevices and hard to reach places or stubborn, caked-on dry dirt.
2. Apply leather cleaning product. Effax Cream Soap: Apply a small amount to a lightly damp small sponge and clean leather in circular motion. Effax Leather Combi: Squirt a few squirts on a lightly damp sponge larger sponge and thoroughly wipe item all over.
3. Wipe off dirt and product with a lightly damp rag and let sit to dry off a bit, but not completely. Let the item air dry, but not in the sun or direct heat! (Do not use a blow dryer, do not place in front of radiator, etc.…)
4. Condition: Effax Leather Oil (twice per year): Apply a thin coat with the included brush all over the item. Let sit for half an hour, then dab any excess oil away with a clean soft rag. Let completely dry and polish (I like to wait until the next day). Effax Conditioning Leather Balm (every couple of months): Either use a clean brush to apply to the leather item or – better yet – apply a generous amount to your hands and massage the product into the leather and use a brush to get into nooks and crannies. Let dry and polish (I like to wait until the next day).
STORAGE TIP: Keeping your leather items covered or tucked away in a cubby will help keep them dust-free and low-maintenance. Wipe off sweat and dirt with a little squirt of Effax Leather Combi after every heavy use or if items are sweaty (bridles, breast plates). Use breathable, not water-proof covers to keep away mildew that thrives in moist conditions. (Sometimes, an old sheet will do the trick!)
CONDITIONING TIP: Oiling and conditioning with Effax products has a lasting effect! There will be no need to constantly oil or condition your leather items. Heavily used items can be conditioned once a month. It is more important to keep the items in a clean and protected environment than constantly oiling them, which can make the leather too soft if overdone.
CLEANING TIP: Clean both sides of the leather! For thorough cleaning, take the saddle or bridle completely apart and clean all nooks and crannies. Reassemble after conditioning and drying.
CAUTION: Never apply oil or conditioner to a dirty leather item. Do not overoil your tack! Do not place your saddle in an overly humid or overly dry (near radiators, etc.) environment!
Thanks for reading, be well and enjoy your horse!
For those, who are serious about leather care or have a passion for restoration and maintenance, here a wonderful resource with comprehensive instructions and many images. Just love this book! Leather Care Compendium: For Shoes, Clothing, and Furniture
Here a video from Effax, showing some of the above steps:
Here a handy infographic from King Ranch Saddle Shop about boot care outlines some basic steps to keeping your Western or other shoe ware nice.