What I use to condition my leather



That’s right. I don’t put anything on my leather to oil, moisturize, treat or clean it. Not handbags, shoes, jackets, binders or boots. In fact, when I buy something pre-loved I usually specify if I am not sure that I do not want one that has been treated with anything.

I have found that handling the items means that the oils from my hands transfer onto the item and it never needs moisturizing. My book artist has said that leather can generally look after itself and doesn’t need much care. In fact his exact words when I asked how I should look after my hand bound book collection were:

You shouldn’t have to do much to it. Tropical climates are dangerous (high heat, high humidity) but short of that it shouldn’t need anything special. Every once in a while I would rub it down with a mild leather cleaner, but you should be careful with that. It needs to be a good one, NOT a leather cleaner for shoes and things.

If I do treat leather (for example very old binders that have been in storage for decades), I use a dash of beeswax. I would never use anything that could go rancid, like coconut oil.



Author: Janet Carr

Fashion, beauty and animal loving language consultant from South Africa living in Stockholm, Sweden.

6 thoughts

  1. I’m wondering about treating binders I store for periods of time. I live in a semi tropical climate (winters are 20-25°C and summers are 35-40°C). I use binders for 6 months to a year before switching over (And have more than I would care to admit). Most didn’t come boxed, so what are your tips on leather care for these? I feel like my least-used Malden in particular is not as smooth as my most-used Malden. My brain days i should destash but my heart days no 🙂

    1. If they are not dry, I would leave them be. But if you do decide to care for them, see what your local leather specialist (dry cleaner, shoe or handbag store etc) recommends and avoid anything that can go rancid in the heat.

      1. Thanks so much 🙂 I’ll be sure to look out for a quality product.

  2. I am the same. I never ever treat my leather stuff apart from shoes, boots and belts.I was once advised by a shoe maker to treat and protect their leather now and again to keep their leather well hydrated.
    Also l rarely buy cheap shoes but rather expensive ones (Jimmy Choo, Fairmount, Weston… and the must have pair of Louboutin) which l want to keep for a couple of years.

    I agree with you Janet, the oils on our hands should be enouth for our planners leather. We touch and manipulate all day long so they shouldn’t need any other conditioner. It is also the case for handbags.
    However we don’t normaly touch our shoes or boots more than twice a day (well not me at least!) And they get exposed to water, rain, snow, dirt, heat… So yes, a little extra care can be a good option.

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