Style Advice for Men - Taking Care of Your Leather Accessories
A great number of men really like leather accessories - they can definitely add style and substance to an outfit.
Leather belts, leather shoes, and leather bags (such as laptop bags) are all quite common.
However, when you get some leather gear, it is absolutely essential that you take care of it. Nothing looks worse than dry, cracked, old-and-not-taken-care-of leather accessories.
Here are some great tips on how to take care of your leather gear:
1. Right after you buy a new leather product (or right after someone gives you one as a gift) apply a high-quality leather cream/conditioner. These can be found at any leather goods store or search online. Reapply about two or three times per year to maintain the leather and to help provide water resistance.
The way to apply cream/conditioner is to use a gentle, lint-free cloth. Apply a very small amount of the cream/conditioner to the cloth and then rub onto the leather product in small circles (remember that Karate Kid movie and how he had to "wax on, wax off"?). You need to use a very small amount and then rub and buff it in as gently as possible. If you use too much, the leather will not absorb it, so simply wipe off any excess.
2. If any leather product gets wet, allow it to air-dry naturally, away from any source of heat. Do not lay your leather gloves on a radiator to speed the drying; do not use a hair dryer to accelerate the drying of your leather shoes. When the leather is almost dry, apply a bit of leather cream/conditioner to restore flexibility.
3. Never use mink oil or other animal fats on your leather, despite what anyone else tells you-this will darken your leather. Besides that, it can turn your leather rancid, making the stitching and the leather rot.
4. Leather bags should be stored empty, but stuffed with tissue paper. This will help them to retain their shape.
5. Leather shoes and boots should be stored with the use of shoe trees. If you don't have shoe trees, stuff tissue paper inside to maintain the shape of the shoes or boots.
6. To clean smooth leather surfaces, use a soft, damp sponge or cloth. Do not use anything containing alcohol. If your leather product is too dirty for just water, try Neutrogena Facial Soap (yes, the same type found in the facial care aisle at the drugstore-not the exfoliating type, though). This is very mild on the face; therefore, many leather aficionados recommend it for use with leather.
It is important to know that the cream/conditioner that you use with your leather goods as well as any shoe polish or other leather products can be toxic. Use them in a well-ventilated area and keep them out of the reach of children. Do not allow your children to assist you with these parts of leather care.
Follow these, and your leather accessories will be looking great for many years!
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