American alligator skin is a rare and highly precious material. Given the value and rarity of alligator skin leather goods, it’s important to take excellent care of them to keep them looking like new for as long as possible.
With this in mind, here are a few routine care tips for handling alligator skin products. Please note that these are general tips, and some specific alligator skin finishes might require additional handling and care:
Cleaning American Alligator Leather
Cleaning alligator leather products can be tricky, as excessive moisture or strong chemicals can strip away the finish of a hide and ruin its appearance.
When cleaning alligator leather, be sure to avoid using water and untested chemical compounds on the hide. If the leather has excess moisture on it, be sure to gently rub the affected area with a soft, dry towel or cloth to soak up the water. Afterwards, hang-dry the item in a well-ventilated, cool area to finish.
During the drying process, be sure to keep the alligator leather well away from any heat sources, including direct sunlight. Heat stress can damage the finish and discolor the hide.
Once the leather is dry, consider applying a specially-formulated alligator leather conditioner to protect the finish from dust, dirt, and further exposure to moisture. The retailer selling the leather should be able to tell you where you can order the right conditioner for your alligator hide.
When first applying a new conditioner to any exotic leather product, be sure to test it on a small, inconspicuous area of the product first and let it sit for an hour. Spots such as the back of a boot’s tongue are ideal for this testing. This should let you see if the conditioner will alter the look of your alligator leather at all.
To remove dirt and dust, carefully wipe the alligator hide clean with a dry cloth. For finer particulates, dabbing the affected area with a damp cloth can be effective, but you’ll want to dry and retreat the hide afterwards to avoid damaging the finish.
Storing Alligator Leather
Alligator leather items should be stored in a cool, dry environment. Any storage space should be temperature-regulated to prevent prolonged exposure to any extreme conditions.
Although alligator leather is very flexible, it’s important to store any leather goods in a way that prevents severe creasing. For example, alligator leather boots should be stored with boot shapers to help keep the shaft of the boot leg from collapsing during storage.
Alligator leather handbags should be filled with light paper stuffing when not in use to keep the bags from sagging and forming crease marks. If hanging alligator skin products, use hangers that have broad, rounded contact surfaces to maximize surface contact area and reduce stress on the hide rather than thin metal wires.
Following these tips for cleaning and storing alligator leather can add years to the useful life of your leather goods, preserving the appearance and value of your exotic leather investment.