Leather Care and Cleaning
How to clean your elk leather product
Leather is a porous material; it can collect dirt and lose its shine. Always hand clean leather rather than placing it in a washing machine. It is a good idea to clean and condition new leather as well as used leather. Please note that the first time you clean and condition your leather you will change its look, but do not let the likelihood of a slight color change prevent you from taking good care of your leather. Remember, do not put leather in the dryer!!
Be sure to use cleaners made for the type of leather you are cleaning. Read labels carefully, often cleaners are for either smooth leather or suede, but not both. Check the shoe department or a specialty shoe store for leather cleaners or an Ag supply store such as Agway or Tractor Supply.
Make sure the leather is warm before working on it. Use a soft nylon brush to remove any loose dirt. Then use a leather cleaner to remove surface dirt, I find a good quality saddle soap works well. Use a circular motion to clean and make sure you have worked up a nice foam on the sponge or soft cloth. Regularly, stop and blot with a clean, damp cloth to take off the dirt. While still damp, apply a good quality conditioner. I use mink oil. Apply carefully around decorations and be sure to wipe off excess immediately. Leather that is conditioned will keep out water and dirt on its own. When the leather is dry give it a few gentle stretches in different directions to restore suppleness.
When cleaning suede, regularly use a suede brush to keep the nap from going flat. Brushing off dirt before it has time to work into the leather will extend the life of the leather.
For the shearling lining in moccasins, wash carefully with a non-detergent soap. Dry in a warm place, but not in direct sunlight and then condition the leather.