A majority of questions that I receive are about how to maintain leather wallets, shoes, or boots. I most often suggest simply wearing your product and giving it a quick brush with a horsehair brush every week or two.
Brushing leather has two simple but important functions. First, brushing will remove the surface dirt from your leather and the color will start to look less dull. Secondly, by brushing the leather you invigorate the natural oils, waxes, and greases that were tanned into the leather. Activating these natural oils gives the leather an improved luster. I call this “putting a face” on the leather.
I wanted to be able to show the difference in how brushing works so I took my natural shell cordovan Viberg boots and made a time lapse video of fifteen minutes of good brushing. I noticed that after 5 minutes I already had a dramatic improvement. It seems like the longer you brush the more improvement you get but this does not appear to be a linear improvement. The longer I brushed the smaller the difference. My suggestion is to brush for five minutes every week or so to keep the appearance looking clean and bright.
Brushing isn’t all you will need. Sometimes scuffs and scratches develop on the leather that need to be filled in. On shell cordovan I find that Saphir cordovan cream has a great fill to improve scratches and scuffs but also gives the leather a subtle bright luster. With the Saphir cordovan cream (or any leather polish) you can always add more product. Start with a small amount, about the size of a pea, and add more if needed. If you use too much product the polish will fully saturate the leather and then start to sit up on the surface which will cause a dull, hazy look that you probably do not want.
If your leather is very dirty I suggest washing it with a mild soap and water. Let it dry overnight then apply our Tanner’s Blend conditioner to nourish the fibers of the leather. After that you can apply your favorite neutral colored leather polish and brush. On shell cordovan leather I suggest Saphir cordovan cream. On most other leathers I like Venetian Cream.
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