October 05, 2021 6 min read
Whether winter brings icy roads, snowstorms, or extra rainfall, there’s no season more important for weatherproofing your leather. Not only are we more likely to whip out our leather products during this time, but the weather conditions of winter make it more likely to cause water damage to your favorite leather products.
To help you avoid this, it’s important to weatherproof your leather. We are here to help you understand why it’s important, which materials help you accomplish this, and what the process for weatherproofing is.
Here’s a complete guide from us on weatherproofing your leather this winter:
Leather has been produced worldwide for millennia and remains one of the most popular materials for shoes, bags, and accessories. But some of its characteristics make taking care of leather a must.
Here are some of the reasons why it’s such a special material:
When we saywaterproof, we mean that no water gets in and no water gets out. This is a nice quality for metal objects (like your car) to have, but full-grain leather is a little different than that. Because of its natural porosity, it will never be 100% waterproof.
Instead, we want it to beweatherproof, which means that the leather is water-repellent. This will protect it from moisture while keeping it a breathable material.
We might have mentioned this before: Leather is a porous material. This means that water can getin, and when it does, the natural oil that leather contains starts to bind to the water molecules.
Eventually, the water molecules will begin to evaporate, and they will take those oil molecules right along with them, leaving the once-smooth leather dry and cracked. This can do some serious damage to the look and feel of your leather goods.
For this reason, you have to make sure that your leather is covered with a finish that makes it resistant to water. This means that if you accidentally spill some liquid on your leather accessories, the liquid will turn into droplets on top of the leather, which you can quickly wipe away.
Of course, this won’t work if you submerge your leather in water, but for those real-life situations, weatherproofing your accessories can make them last you for ages.
Hopefully, you see the importance of weatherproofing your leather goods and accessories. Now we can get down to the next steps: the best ways to waterproof your leather.
Before we get intohow, let’s look at thewhat. In other words, what are the best ingredients for weatherproofing leather?
Here are our top picks:
Although most noted for its use in making candles and cosmetics, beeswax makes an excellent material for weatherproofing leather. It’s 100% natural and is considered a food-grade wax.
Plus, it contains at least 280 different compounds. It has a pretty high melting point, which means that you’ll need to heat it up—preferably in a hot water bath—before applying it to leather.
This is one household ingredient that should be available to almost everyone with a kitchen. You could use soybean, canola, olive, or whichever oil you might have on hand (being careful to avoid anything infused with garlic or onion).
Because they’re liquid at room temperature, oils don’t need to be warmed up or melted before use.
If you ever learned about the ancient soap-making process, you’ll remember that tallow—an animal fat—was an essential ingredient. These days, not much has changed. Indeed, soap is still made by mixing fats and oils.
And when mixed with other household ingredients, a dissolved bar of soap can make for a pretty decent weatherproofing soak for leather goods and accessories.
This is an oily substance derived from sheep’s wool. If this being eco-friendly is important to you, lanolin is natural and sustainable. Plus, it’s pretty simple to use, requiring no preparation beforehand.
Petroleum jelly is a mixture of mineral oils and waxes which takes on a jelly-like consistency. Although definitely not our top pick, it is a very economical option for weatherproofing lather. Plus, we’re betting that, unlike beeswax, you’re more likely to have a jar of it on hand.
We definitely think that these are all great ingredients that you might already have at home. But in the case that you prefer a professional product made just for the purpose of weatherproofing leather, we got your back.
Using a blend of natural ingredients and packaged in a ready-to-use container, our leather cream won’t send you rummaging through your cupboards to care for your leather.
Now that we have a pretty good idea of which ingredients are best for taking care of your leather, let’s look at what the weatherproofing process entails.
Of course, the steps will vary depending on which ingredients you use. To keep things simple, let’s take a look at how this process works with our favorite ingredients: beeswax combined with mineral oils.
To make sure your leather looks and feels great for ages, there are a few more things you can do to take care of it.
Weatherproofing is by far the most important, but here are a few other tips for caring for your leather.
While leather will never be 100% waterproof, there’s a lot you can do to protect it from water damage. With the right leather cream—and maybe even a ritual to go along with it—you’ll be well on your way to keeping your leather in top shape for years to come.
Our Sources:Champagne, Vivaldi and Cleaning Your Shoes | The Wall Street Journal