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What is "Waxed Leather"? An in-depth guide to Waxed Leather

Leather has been used for thousands of years. There are numerous types, and each of them has a unique look and feel. Wax leather has a rich, dark look that many people like. This type of leather is made from the leather of a cow or other animal that has been tanned. The tanning process creates a leather that is water resistant and can be easily cleaned. The wax in waxed leather helps to enhance its appearance.

Waxed Leather Bag
The Dagny Weekender | Large Leather Duffle Bag

What is waxed leather?

Waxed leather is simply leather that has been waxed. Waxing a leather bag is a process that provides several benefits, including making the leather more water-resistant and longer lasting. While the wax itself comes in a variety of colors, the color of the wax is only a secondary benefit. The waxed bag will still show scratches, and not all colors are created equal, so the color of the wax is not a primary consideration.

How to recognize waxy leather?

It's not uncommon to mistake a new pair of leather shoes for a knock-off, or to think your old leather jacket is faux, because of how shiny the leather feels. If some of your leather goods are feeling a little slippery, don't fret: This is just due to high-quality, waxy leather. Over time, leather naturally conditions to become softer, more supple and more resistant to wear and tear. Some leather goods are made with waxes and oils that make the leather feel more slippery than it normally would—so much so, in fact, that people often mistake it for a fake version of the real thing.

The Wainwright Weekender | Round Vintage Leather Weekender

How to preserve waxy leather?

The term "waxed leather" is actually a bit of a misnomer. Waxed leather isn't actually leather that has been waxed—it's leather that has been impregnated with wax, or any other waterproofing material. There are numerous ways to do this, but the most common way is to soak the leather in a solution of beeswax and oil. Beeswax helps the leather keep its shape, while the oil makes it resistant to water and dirt.

How to spot a wax leather bag?

The best way to spot a waxed leather bag is by touch. Real leather feels and smells like leather. Remember this smell and feel if you are shopping for a new leather bag, as it is likely to have been produced with wax or with a similar material. You should feel any seams of the bag, as it will likely be machine-made. Check for coloring, as real leather has a consistent color throughout the bag. Waxed leather should be uniform in color, but it may have an overall shiny appearance.

How to clean and care for pull-up leather, greased leather, waxed leather or oiled leather

We asked professional leather cleaner and conditioner, Dan, for his best tips on how to care for and clean leather bags. Here’s what he had to say: “Cleaning real leather is not as scary as you might think. The key is in the preparation. If you’re going to clean your leather bag, make sure you have all of the necessary supplies. Also, be sure to protect the rest of your leather products from any cleaner that you’re using. The leather needs to be clean to help it dry faster.”

Cleaning and caring for waxed leather is a difficult task. The wax is applied to the surface of the leather as a means of protection. If the wax is not clean, it will not do its job. If you clean your item with the wrong cleaner, the wax can be damaged and will need to be reapplied. When cleaning your item, the first step is to have the wax removed. This can be done by simply wiping the item with a cloth or using a soft brush and a leather cleaner. In addition to cleaning your item, you should learn how to care for your leather item properly.

To clean oiled leather, start by taking out all the seams, stitching, and hardware on the leather item. This will allow you to take the leather item apart and clean it more easily. You can use a slightly damp cloth to wipe away any dirt or stains on the leather, but be careful not to get the leather too wet. The oils in the leather will cause it to stretch when it’s damp, which will cause it to break down over time. Allow the leather to dry completely before putting it back together.

Waxed Leather Backpack
The Vernon Backpack | Genuine Vintage Leather Minimalist Backpack

Pros of waxed or oiled leather

While most bags are created from leather, not all leather bags are created equal. For example, while quality leather is a must for an attractive bag, this is just the beginning of the process. In addition to high quality leather, you will also want to choose a bag that is created with a material that will protect your belongings. While many bags are created from leather, some bags are created from other materials, such as plastic, that can scratch and scuff your belongings. This type of leather has a deep, natural, varied color. Scratches and worn areas can be restored by an application of wax or oil. Waxed or oiled leather does take more care than other leathers to maintain its appearance.

Cons of waxed or oiled leather

Many people think that a waxed or oiled leather is the best for durability, but in some cases, it can be too good. Waxed or oiled leathers come in different colors and variations. Some are better than others. Some of the things that you should consider before buying oiled or waxed leather are:

Pets with nails – or even your favorite pair of jeans – can make one of these pieces of furniture look pretty rough in just a few weeks.

To own waxed or oiled leather, you have to like furniture with a natural, varied, worn look because that's what you're going to have.

Pull Up & Oiled Leather

Since the beginning, Steel Horse Leather has been a company focused on making the finest leather bags, backpacks, and other leather goods. However, we also know that a well-made leather bag is only as good as the leather used to make it, and that's why we use Full Grain Crazy Horse Leather.

Oiled leather is a type of leather that has been buffed and treated with oils during the tanning process. Oiling the leather helps to protect the hides and aid in their longevity. Oiled leather is so named because it's coated with a thin layer of oil, usually linseed oil, to help keep the leather supple.

The Endre Weekender | Vintage Leather Duffle Bag

What is Oil Waxed Leather?

An oily wax is applied to smoothed-out full grain leather to create this form of leather. This oil softens, supplifies, and protects the leather from moisture. It's perfect for creating an antique-looking patina that tells the tale of where the leather has traveled with you. The applied wax is often tinted, resulting in very richly colored leather product.

If you're a fan of fine leather bags, you've probably heard of the term “waxed and oiled” leather. But have you given it much thought? Here's what you need to know: Waxed and oiled leather gets its name from the materials used to finish it. “Waxing” refers to the application of a substance that helps preserve the leather, while “oiling” refers to the application of a substance that helps soften the leather and make it more flexible. Both have been used in the production of leather goods for centuries, and both are used to create the supple, long-lasting leather that you love.

Oiled Pull-Up Leather

Oiled pull-up leather is a process in which the leather is colored and then stretched to allow the hide to soak up the color evenly. The oil in the leather is what allows the leather to stretch and allows the color to sink into the pores and be evenly distributed.

Pull-up leather is a type of leather created through an oiling process that simulates wear and tear. It is characterized by fine, natural grains and a soft, brushed finish. The oiled leather's surface provides a protective barrier that wards off everyday wear and tear. This process results in a leather type that is remarkably soft and supple.

The Asta Weekender | Handcrafted Leather Duffle Bag

Confusion with "pull-up" and "PU leather"

So you usually know leather from horse hides, but have you ever heard the term pull-up leather? Yes, it comes from the same animal, and the process is nothing special – it’s simply the way the hide is tanned. But the leather that is produced by this process is like nothing you have ever seen before.

PU leather is a synthetic material that is commonly used to make clothing and accessories. It is commonly referred to as faux leather, or pleather, but it is not actually related to leather at all. PU, or polyurethane, is a plastic material that has been treated to look like leather. It will not stretch or have a similar breathability like actual leather, and it is much less durable. In many cases, PU leather is used to make clothing and accessories that are labeled as leather. That's because it is not legally required for manufacturers to label their products as faux or fake leather.

Aniline Leather

Aniline leather is a high-quality material. Aniline simply refers to the dyes used in the finished product after the hide has been tanned. It is a unique treatment method used on fine Napa hides. This process distinguishes it from other types of leather. This form of leather has an intact surface that displays the natural colour and markings of the hide, also known as full-grain leather. Because aniline leather cannot be cheated, only the smoothest hides are used.

Saddle Leather

Saddle Leather is a one-of-a-kind material that can be used for a variety of upholstery applications. It is heavier and thicker than most upholstery leathers. Although its thickness can be intimidating to others, it does not restrict its use. On the contrary, it is highly adaptable. Saddle leather is usually tanned with vegetable tannins and is made from cowhide. It is mainly used in saddlery.

Nubuck Leather

Nubuck has a similar feel and style to suede, but it is more durable because it is derived from the top grain of the fur. It has a nice look and feel to it and is used for a wide range of leather items. It combines some of the finest qualities found in different types of leather.

FAQs

How do you maintain waxed leather?

The majority of new oiled and waxed leather is porous. Water, wine, coffee, and other fluids can enter the leather and create stains that will be difficult to remove with standard cleaning. A simple test will tell you how porous your leather is. Check to see whether water penetrates the surface by rubbing or dripping a drop of water in a secret place. If it's Pull Up leather, you'll find that it pierces the surface.

With a soft cloth or a feather duster, dust off waxed and oiled leather. It can also be cleaned with a damp cloth. Don't get the fabric too wet, and don't rub too hard, as you don't want to stain the surface or lose any color.

Can you polish waxed leather?

Waxed leather is leather that has been waxed to increase its resistance to moisture, scratches, and cracking. Waxed leather is a favorite among leather craftsmen and leather enthusiasts due to the rugged durability and natural appearance the wax gives the leather. However, waxed leather is a bit more delicate than leather that hasn't been waxed, and the wax can cause color changes and other damage if not treated correctly.

Waxed Leather Messenger Bag
The Welch Briefcase | Vintage Leather Messenger Bag

How do you wax leathers?

Waxing is a method of finishing leather which involves applying a thin coating of a paste-like mixture of dyes or pigments and a natural or synthetic material to change the color and create a higher shine. There are two main types of waxing: 1) hot waxing, and 2) cold waxing. Hot waxing is sometimes used on soft, light weight leathers. The wax is applied to the leather, the excess is removed, and the leather is allowed to dry. Cold waxing is the most common type of waxing for leather bags, jackets, and other items. The wax is applied to the leather and then buffed to a high shine.

Is waxy leather real leather?

Yes. Oiled, waxed leather is a solid, smooth leather with a greasy - oily - waxy finish. Because these waxes, oils, or fats are often dyed, such leathers have a small chance of dye transfer.

How do you treat waxed leather?

A great bag is an investment. People who buy quality goods want to keep them around for as long as possible—after all, a good bag can last decades if it’s taken care of properly. A natural part of that care is leather care. How do you treat waxed leather? Wax is the protective finish that gives leather bags and shoes their shine, but too much wax can make cleaning more difficult. In fact, excessive wax buildup can ruin a bag entirely. We’ll break down the best way to clean waxed leather.

What is waxed full grain leather?

The best way to start looking at leather is to not start looking at leather. And that means understanding that leather is just a byproduct of the meat industry. The outermost grain of a hide is the strongest, and the least likely to be damaged by animal movement or rough treatment. It's the easiest to work with, and the most expensive, so you're not going to find it, or full grain leather, on any cheap leather bags.

The Felman Backpack | Handcrafted Leather Backpack

Is waxed leather good?

Leather is the most versatile material in the world because it is both durable and flexible. It's also easy to clean and maintain. Waxed leather is a type of leather that has a wax coating, which has been used for centuries to make leather more water resistant. Because of this, many people think that waxed leather is the best leather; however, this is not the case. It is not as durable as other types of leather, and it can be harder to clean than other leather types.

Is oil wax leather real leather?

Yes, oil wax leather is real genuine leather. When people think about leather, they often think about the classic, smooth leather look. But there is another type of leather out there that people tend not to notice: oil wax leather. The leather is more pliable and has a glossy surface that makes it look like it's covered in oil, hence the name. The benefit to oil wax leather is that it requires less upkeep than vintage leather.

What is leather waxed canvas?

The term "waxed canvas" is a bit of a misnomer, since the wax used in the process does not contain any beeswax. Its purpose is to seal the leather to make it water resistant. The wax can be applied to the leather for a number of reasons, such as to add a waterproof coating to a previously waterproofed leather. The waxed leather protector can also help prevent the leather from drying out, and it can be used to help disguise scratches on the leather, if you do not want to keep the leather looking new.

Is waxed canvas or leather better?

The question of waxed canvas vs leather is one that plagues the minds of many a man who is looking to make a decision on what to use for his next bag. With so many options, it can be daunting to try and distinguish between them, and for good reason. There are many factors to consider when trying to figure out what the right material is for you, and it can be difficult to figure them all out. Both materials have their own advantages and disadvantages.

The Asmund Backpack | Genuine Leather Rucksack

Can leather be waxed?

Can leather be waxed? Sounds like a simple question, but the answer depends on what kind of leather you're working with. Since leather is a natural product, every hide is unique, and how it reacts to a specific treatment is dependent on the animal's diet, the climate where it was raised, how it was tanned, and even how it was cared for from the moment it was harvested until the day it made its way to your favorite leather goods shop.

Is oiled leather waterproof?

Oiled leather is a type of leather that has had oils and other preservatives added to it, typically prior to the tanning process. This helps to waterproof a leather item so it can be used to make a bag, or other item that will be used outdoors or in wet conditions. Leather is a natural material made from animal hides, and as such, it is very susceptible to moisture and damage from the elements.

What is greasy leather?

If a leather bag has been well taken care of, it will never become greasy looking. However, leather bags that are used frequently can start to develop a greasy appearance if not cleaned regularly. This happens when the oil and sweat from your skin is absorbed by the leather over a long period of time and then is trapped within the leather bag without the ability to be released.

What is washed leather?

Although the name "washed leather" sounds like an oxymoron, many leather products are treated with a process called "waxing" to make them more supple and easy to work with. This is done by immersing the finished product into large vats of hot, paraffin-based wax, which penetrates the leather's fibers and makes it more pliable.

The Dagny Weekender | Large Leather Duffle Bag

What is Horsehide Leather?

Every year, millions of people around the world choose leather bags to carry all their things. And at Steel Horse Leather, we're proud to offer the full range of leathers, from premium to standard and everything in between. So, what is horsehide leather? It's made from the outer layer of an animal's skin, and it's stronger and more durable than cowhide, which is made from the inner layer of skin. In fact, the process of tanning horsehide is similar to the process of tanning cowhide, but it takes longer to master.

What is Lambskin Leather?

As one of the world’s most recognizable leathers, lambskin is the traditional leather used for high-quality clothing, footwear, and accessories. Lambskin is particularly well-known for its softness, which is the result of a fine, downy undercoat. The softness and thickness of lambskin leather make it suitable for use in clothing, especially in the lining of jackets where it can add an extra layer of warmth.

What is oil waxed PU leather?

“Oil waxed” means that the leather has been “vat dyed” with oil, which creates a slight sheen to the leather. This in turn allows the leather to take a chemical treatment wax, which further protects it, and also gives the leather a great finish. “Vat dye” is the standard way of dyeing leather, so if a company is vat dyeing their leather it is generally a good sign the leather is high quality.

What is Leather Fur?

Know what is leather fur? It's the new leather material that is the latest rage in the fashion world, and is sure to be a huge success this winter. Best of all, this new leather is made from the finest natural hides, so it's as high quality as it is fashionable. It's perfect for creating those next-to-the-skin accessories, and many are already snapping it up to make custom jackets, boots, and other fashion items.

What is synthetic suede?

Synthetic suede is a man-made fabric used to imitate suede. The imitation is intended to be indistinguishable from real suede, but is more abrasion resistant and more durable. Synthetic suede is a fabric that closely resembles the properties of animal skins. Imitation suede can be a great replacement for genuine suede; it is made from superfine denier chemical fiber as the raw material and then napped, sanded, and dyed.

What is the strongest type of leather?

Full grain leather is usually the finest. It has not been sanded or buffed to remove flaws. The grain has finer fibers that are closely packed. As a result, the surface is solid, robust, and able to withstand heavy use.