Every other year or so, I clean my leather bags when I see them start to crack or get a little dry.
Like with your skin, you need to moisturize your leather products to avoid leather cracking or wrinkling and to keep them supple and in good shape.
The Leather Cleaning Products & Procedure:
- Soft-Bristled Horsehair Brush or suede brush, or suede/nubuck eraser
- Leather Cleaner/Moisturizer/Conditioner
- Leather polish
- Leather Spray or Suede Waterproofing Spray
What I do to Smooth Leather Items
- Brush down all my leather items to remove dust, dirt, etc
- Clean my leather with an actual leather cleaner, just a quick wipe through
- Moisturize the leather with a conditioner
- Polish the leather in the matching colour in any spots where the leather seems to have rubbed off down to a greyish area, to re-colour them again, if you will
- Finish with a clear smooth leather waterproofing spray
What I do to Suede/Nubuck Leather Items
You can’t use liquids, creams, or polishes on suede. You will ruin it. Only sprays are fine.
You can only brush or clean the items with tools and then waterproof them with a spray, that’s it.
This is what I do:
- Use a suede eraser to remove any marks on my suede items, to “erase” them off
- Instead of a leather cleaner on suede (you cannot use liquid) – I then use a suede brush – there is a soft and hard bristled version to brush back the nap on the suede (the ‘hairs’ that flatten out need to be brushed back up for that nice, soft fuzzy look
- Cannot moisturize suede, so I skip all that and finish with a suede waterproofing spray to help repel dirt, dust, etc. You have to spray this outside and let it dry – works great
Your cobbler is your best shoe friend
I take in my boots to be professionally cleaned every other year or so – mostly my shearling ones because it is difficult to really properly clean them, and my cobbler does a great job.
I find that I tend to slip and slide often in heels so, I use these cheapie rubber peel and stick bottoms, but on very VERY nice shoes, I take them into the cobbler to get Vibram soles put on them ($40 per shoe).
If I don’t think they are forever shoes to keep re-soling over the years, I don’t bother investing.
I also check for heel tips to make sure they haven’t cracked (you can hurt yourself!).