Medieval Collectibles offers a wide selection of leather armour. Just like any other piece of gear, it is important for you to know how to take care of your leather armour.
When caring for your leather armour, make sure that you handle it with clean hands. The natural oils on your hands can transfer onto the leather. These natural oils do not have a pH that works well with leather and can damage it over time. Regularly wipe down your leather armour with a damp cloth to get rid of surface dirt and dust. When you put your leather armour away after your battle or LARP event, make sure that you store it away from sunlight and heat. Artificial heat sources can cause your leather to dry and crack or even shrink. Cracking damages your leather and shortens its life. Also, ensure that you store your leather in a breathable material. It needs to breathe. If it is prevented from doing so, mold or mildew may result.
When Your Leather Gets Wet and Waterproofing:
If your leather gets wet, let it dry naturally. As mentioned above, artificial heat sources can cause drying and cracking. Thus, do not try using a blow-dryer or any other heat tool to speed up the drying process. Once dry, you can choose to add a waterproofing solution or wax to the leather. This is not required but may make your life easier, especially if you expect your leather to deal with water frequently. In this case, you can add products that are designed to waterproof leather, such as Bee Natural Rain & Snow. You can rub it onto your leather with a micro-fiber cloth. Also, there are products that may have waterproofing materials like beeswax as a part of their composition. Beeswax is a natural water-repellent that can help keep your leather protected from water, rain, and snow.
Cleaning and Conditioning:
When it comes to cleaning and conditioning your leather armour, especially with chemicals, it is best to test a small, out-of-the-way area first. Some cleaning materials may interact unfavorably with the leather. This can cause issues such as discoloration for example. You may wish to wait a few hours to check for discoloration or other issues before using the product on the entire piece of leather.
When cleaning, try to avoid stripping the leather of its natural oils as this also can help to cause or speed up drying and cracking. There are specific cleaners out there designed for cleaning without stripping oils. One such product that we offer is Bee Natural Saddle Soap.
Whether you choose to clean your leather this way or not, you should make sure to keep your leather conditioned. Again, keeping it conditioned helps to stave off drying and cracking and helps to prolong the life of your leather armour. The more you condition it, usually the more supple it becomes. You should conditioner your leather every few months. This can be anywhere from every 3 months to every 6 or 12 months, depending on the item and your personal preference. There are a variety of products out there that can help condition your leather such as Fiebing’s Aussie Leather Conditioner.
Whether you use this product or others, make sure that you stick to a neutral conditioner or one that matches the color of the leather. For example, if you have a brown or red piece of leather, avoid using a black tinted conditioner. Using tinted conditioners that do not match your leather or are darker in color can discolor the leather.
Notes on Suede:
Suede requires slightly different treatment than regular leather due to its composition and the way it’s made. When getting rid of dirt and dust, use a small wire brush or get a suede-specific brush. Pay attention to the nap or direction of the suede when brushing. Suede is even more susceptible to water issues than leather. Try to keep it dry as much as possible. You can choose to add a waterproofing layer of the top. A product like Snow Proof Silicone Water & Stain Repellent Spray will help. In addition, suede is also more prone to staining than leather. If you have a grease stain, applying some cornstarch to the stain, waiting 15 minutes, and then brushing away the cornstarch may help.
Notes on Products with Multiple Materials:
When it comes to armour, we offer many products that have more than one material. Armour that has both steel and leather sections is the most common. When it comes to having multiple materials in the same product, try to ensure that you do not mix cleaners as they may cause issues with the other material. For example, cleaners that work great on steel armour or chainmail may react poorly with leather. You can try to keep them separate by working in small sections and as carefully as possible. This is especially helpful when it comes to working with steel armour that has leather sections or straps. For more information on taking care of steel armour, you can check out our article on the Do’s and Don’ts of Taking Care of Steel Armour.
In summary, leather armour if not taken care of properly can dry and crack causing damage that shortens the life of your armour. Ensure that you regularly take care of your armour by removing dirt and dust as well as keeping it conditioned. We offer a variety of products to help you keep your leather armour and gear in good shape. Medieval Collectibles is proud to provide you with some tips on how to take care of your leather armour.