It’s only natural to want your boots to look good. The key to this is caring for your boots properly, and learning how to use saddle soap in conjunction with the best conditioners. Leather, like all materials, requires regular maintenance to preserve its original appearance and characteristics. Failure to do so could result in degradation and subsequent shortening of the lifespan of your boots. While there are dozens of ways to clean and care for leather, one of the best all-around solutions is to use saddle soap.
First things first. Make sure you clean the table or other area you will work on and place everything you need within arm’s reach. This is an important first step since your damp leather is likely to pick up any dust and small particles from the surfaces around it.
Here is what you are going to need:
Once you are prepared, its time to get to work.
Clean The Surface
Before applying any soap or conditioner to your leather, you need to make sure it is clean enough to absorb it. Take a clean cloth, add just enough water to make it damp but not soaked, and rub it across the surface of the leather product. The general idea is to remove any lingering dust or debris, which could otherwise affect the outcome of your saddle soap application.
Make sure to pay special attention to areas with seams, where leather layers overlap, as this is where dirt is most likely to collect. You can use an old toothbrush to clean those hard to reach places, such as the area where the leather connects to the sole of the boot. Once clean, you can then proceed to apply the saddle soap.
Applying the Soap
You can apply saddle soap to most types of leather by dabbing it on to the surface with a clean cloth or a sponge. Apply a small amount of saddle soap to a cleaning cloth, and then gently rub the cloth across the surface of your leather. Much like applying wax to a car, the saddle soap should disappear as you rub it into the leather.
Make clockwise rubbing motions until the saddle soap is no longer visible. Continue doing this until you’ve covered the entire surface. Once you are satisfied, use a dry clean cloth to wipe off any access soap from the surface.
Applying Leather Conditioners
After cleaning your leather boot, it is a good idea to apply some form of additional conditioning. You want to go with high-quality conditioners or oils, to make sure the leather stays soft and flexible and to prevent cracking and other damage caused by exposure to the elements, as well as general wear and tear.
Leave the Leather to Dry
After cleaning and conditioning your boots, it is important to give it enough time to dry fully and absorb the conditioner you applied before it’s ready for use. This period of time can range from a couple of hours to a whole day.
It’s best to leave the leather to dry naturally in a shade and avoid keeping it near any heat source, as tempting as it may be, since this can cause severe damage and undo all your work.
How Often Should I Use Saddle Soap?
It’s important to note that saddle soap should be applied to leather products on a regular basis, but also not too often. A good rule of thumb is to apply saddle soap and similar conditioning products to leather once every few months for maximum protection and durability. Doing so will help protect your leather from different types of damage, including drying out and cracking, and will likely increase the lifespan of your boots.
However, keep in mind that applying saddle soap too frequently could actually do more harm than good, which is why it’s not recommended to clean leather with saddle soap more than once in few months. After all, saddle soap is intended as a product for deep cleaning, not everyday maintenance.
What Type of Saddle Soap Should I Use?
Generally speaking, saddle soap can be used on all types of genuine leather. However, there are countless different saddle soaps in the market, and not all of them are of equal quality, nor is a single product the best for all your leather garments.
First of all, you want to opt for a soap made of all-natural ingredients and avoid any chemicals and artificial substitutes.
Second, you want to consider the color of the leather product you want to clean and condition. Saddle soaps come in two colors: white and yellow. White saddle soap is best suited for light-colored leather, while the yellow variant is best used to condition black, dark brown and other dark-colored leather.
This distinction can be important since it will allow you to avoid even the slightest discoloration of your lighter leather products if such a change would bother you.
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