Exotic leather is more than just a fashion statement. It is a status symbol.
Very wealthy and influential people spend years on waiting lists for alligator skin handbags and other rare exotic leather goods. Some hundreds of thousands on just one handbag or jacket to skip the line a bit by buying them at auction. So, it’s only natural to want to protect exotic leather to keep it looking like new for as long a possible.
A key way to protect leather goods from harm is to use specialized leather conditioners to prevent cracking, fading, and peeling of an exotic leather.
However, it’s all too easy to make a mistake when using leather conditioner on exotic leather goods. These mistakes can actually ruin the appearance of the leather, doing the very harm the conditioner was supposed to prevent!
With this in mind, here are some best practices you can follow for using leather conditioner on exotic hides.
1: Make Sure Your Conditioner is Formulated for the Type of Hide You’re Using it on!
The most basic, and frequent mistake we’ve seen people make when using leather conditioner is that they’ll grab the wrong bottle by accident and start slathering it on their exotic leather goods.
This is a major issue because different hides and finishes will react differently to certain chemicals. If the conditioner you’re using isn’t formulated for that specific finish/skin type, then there could be consequences.
Common risks include:
- Stripping of the finish
- Cracking in the hide as it dries out
This is why it’s vital to make sure that the conditioner you use is made for the type of skin and finish that you’re using it on. If you’re unsure of what product to use, try contacting the tannery that made the hides, as they’ll usually know what the best treatments are for each of the hides they produce.
2: Test Any New Conditioner on a Small, Out-of-the-Way Spot First
Whenever you open up a new bottle of conditioner for the first time, DON’T just immediately put it to use on your exotic leather product. Instead, find a small, out of the way spot of the leather to test a small amount of the conditioner on first. For boots, this could be a spot on the inside of the tongue of the boot. In handbags, this could be a spot on the inside near the zipper/button.
Apply a small spot of the conditioner according to the manufacturer’s directions, and let it sit for a few hours or overnight. By checking this spot later, you can see how the conditioner may affect the rest of the product’s appearance.
This helps you verify if the conditioner is safe for use on the rest of the hide.
3: Pre-Clean the Leather Prior to Applying Conditioner
Before you apply any kind of leather conditioner to a product, it’s important to make sure that any excess dust or other contaminants have been removed from the leather first. So, with a dry or slightly damp towel, carefully wipe off the surface of your leather prior to treatment. When finished, there should be no excess moisture remaining on the surface to be conditioned.
If some moisture remains, gently wipe it off with a dry cloth or towel. Removing contaminants from the product prior to conditioning helps keep your exotic leather goods looking like new for longer—enhancing their appeal and useful life.
Need more help with exotic leather? We’re here to answer your questions and help you find the right exotic leather for your next project!