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Can Leather Get Wet?

Can Leather Get Wet?

Can leather get wet and what should I do about it?

It’s a Monday, and you hurriedly get ready for work! You put on your shoes, hurriedly grabbed your leather bag, and other belongings. You are halfway to your office, when suddenly… it rained! Then you ask yourself, “Can leather get wet?” Well, of course, YES and you won’t like it when you let the water stay on it for too long without doing anything about it!

Can Leather get wet?
Photographer: Nathan Dumlao | Source: Unsplash

Leather is a material that could easily be permeated by water. Leather contains oils that make the material durable and flexible. When leather absorbs water, the oils muddle with the water molecules. Is this a bad thing? YES. This is because as the material dries, the oils evaporate with the water molecules. Consequently, leather loses its natural oils, become brittle, and possibly cause irreparable damage. You don’t want that to happen, right? Well, don’t worry! Our leather experts here at Steel Horse Leather will help you.

Before we proceed to the steps in dealing with the wet leather situation, let us first identify what kind of leather it is.

What kind of leather do I have?

The kind of leather that you own plays a role in how to deal with a wet leather situation. There are two kinds of leather, water-based leather and oil-based leather. Water-based leathers, such as vegetable-tanned leather Crazy Horse Leather, are easier to repair from water damage. Our products, like the Felman Backpack, are made of high-quality vegetable-tanned Crazy Horse Leather. On the other hand, oil-based leather is harder to repair from such damage because oil-based leather does not like water. Excessive water damage may lead to irreparable damage.

It is important to know what kind of leather you own so that you’d be able to buy the right products and follow the correct instructions in handling your wet leather. Ask your manufacturer if you are not familiar.

Can Leather get wet?
The Felman Backpack | Handcrafter Leather Backpack

After knowing what kind of leather you own, let’s proceed to the steps on what do to when leather gets wet.

What to do when leather gets wet?

Stop right there. Don’t panic! Read what our leather experts have to say, they will surely help you out.

1. Wipe off the excess water gently.

Get a dry cloth, preferably a microfibre towel, and gently wipe off the excess moisture and debris. You could also gently soak the water away from the material first before gently wiping it. Do not rub the leather vigorously, otherwise, it would leave scratches. Another important reminder is to let the leather dry NATURALLY. Do not use artificial heat such as a blow dryer, because it could damage the leather. Just air-dry it. Your goal is to change the leather from wet to damp.

For a leather jacket, elevate it by hanging it on a hanger. For wallets, make sure to dry it in a closed position; otherwise, you will have difficulty in closing it if it hardens during the drying process. For leather shoes, bags, and other leather accessories, you could also elevate it and stuff it with crumpled papers. This will help the leather retain its shape, and at the same time absorb the moisture from the inside.

The Pathfinder Bifold Wallet | Genuine Leather Pocket Book
The Pathfinder Bifold Wallet | Genuine Leather Pocket Book

2. Condition it.

After wiping off the excess water, lather the material with a thick coat of leather conditioner. A leather conditioner contains nourishing ingredients that are easily absorbed by the leather. Applying conditioner onto the leather, nourishes its fibers, and restores its suppleness and flexibility. It penetrates into every nook and cranny of the material and replenishes the lost moisture that was stripped away from water evaporation. A good quality leather conditioner helps prevent the leather from cracking and other damages.

After conditioning it, let the conditioner penetrate into the leather and leave it overnight. If there are still dry patches on your leather apparel, apply extra conditioner.

3. Buff it.

Once the conditioner has dried, carefully buff the entire surface of the product.

There you go! You have successfully managed the “wet leather situation”. BUT, it should not stop there. Our leather experts suggest that to make your leather apparel and products last longer, you have to take extra steps to prevent it from getting wet and from damaging it easily. So we are faced with the question, how do you prevent leather from getting wet?

Can Leather get wet?
The Welch Briefcase | Vintage Leather Messenger Bag

How to prevent leather from getting wet?

Well, aside from not forgetting to bring your umbrella, there are extra measures you could take to prevent your favorite leather shoes, bags, and other leather apparel from getting soaked. And that is to make your leather water-resistant to prevent it from getting wet in the first place. Our leather experts here at Steel Horse Leather recommends putting another layer of product such as the following:

Good quality leather conditioner. Some good quality conditioners already contain ingredients that do not only restore leather to its suppleness but also protect it from water penetrating the material. A good quality leather conditioner that is not only effective and versatile but also cost-efficient!

Beeswax Cream. For extra protection, you could also apply Beeswax to your leather apparel after you have applied conditioner. Beeswax cream contains properties that are dense and capable of repelling water. However, you have to remember to test a small patch before applying it to the entire surface. This is because beeswax tends to cause a darkening effect that could possibly change the appearance of your leather. Here’s how you can do it:

  1. Make sure that the surface of the item is clean; otherwise, it could affect the wax’s effectiveness.
  2. Put a small amount of the wax onto a clean and dry cloth, and then apply it to the item. You can repeat this step if necessary. Leave the product on for about an hour. Reminder: Do not use artificial heat.
  3. Once the wax has totally dried, buff it with a dry cloth.
  4. You’re done!

We hope this helped you take care of your wet leather situation. So the next time you get yourself in such a problem, you know what to do!