How does leather lose its oils?

Elvis Elvis

Why is cleaning and care so important for leather?

The key to leather cleaning and care is to keep the pores of the leather free from dust and to maintain the balance of oils it had when it was new. These oils ‘dry out’ over time and need to be replaced so that the leather can regain it’s suppleness.

How does leather lose its oils?

  • This can happen if the leather gets wet too often
  • If it hasn’t been tanned to accept moisture.
  • Or if it is exposed to direct sunlight regularly
  • and definitely if it gets dusty and dirty and can’t breathe.

    Remember leather was once a skin so it has pores which allow it to breathe. (This is one of the reasons it’s used for shoes. moisturebreathes out through the uppers and your feet stay cool!)

    Here’s a checklist of Care Do’s and Don’ts


  • Dry it under a radiator
  • Store it under plastic covers. This this will cause it to dry out because it can’t breathe
  • Use silicone as it suffocates the leather and will reduce it’s life. Yes I know it’s easy when you have forgotten to polish your shoes properly in the morning and you have an important meeting – but don’t do it it’s bad for them

How does leather lose its oils?


  • Allow wet leather to dry naturally
  • Clean salt off shoes or clothing quickly with clear water
  • Give all leather products a weekly dusting and a quick once over with a damp cloth.

    Conditioning Leather is different. What you are doing here is replacing some of the oils which have dried out over time. Leather should be conditioned using proprietary leather care products at least every 3 months and more regularly if the leather is in an environment where it is likely to suffer from extremes of humidity or heat.