How to Care for Leather

close up of a black saddle with girth

How to Care For Your Valuable Tack, Boots & Leather Items

Saddles, boots, bridles and other leather items are valuable investments and we want to get the most of our treasured equipment. You'll want to keep your new boots and saddles wonderful your our older, well-worn-in treasured favorites good-looking and functional for a long time.

With the right care, we can keep them beautiful and functional.

Here some tips:

1. Prepare

Clean off loose dirt and dust before applying any product. Use a rag on smooth surfaces and a small, firm brush for crevices and hard to reach places or stubborn, caked-on dry dirt.

2. Apply Cleaning Product

effax leather creme soap

For extra conditioning: Use Effax Cream Soap and apply a small amount to a lightly damp small sponge and clean leather in circular motion. 

For routine cleaning: Use Effax Leather Combi: Squirt a few squirts on a lightly damp sponge larger sponge and thoroughly wipe item all over.

For very dirty items, wet the item carefully first with a wet sponge, then apply the cleaning product. For bridles, halters, stirrup leathers, breastplates etc., you can also quickly shower the item with clean water.

3. Remove Cleaning Product & Dirt!

Wipe off dirt and product with a lightly damp rag. Repeat until the rag looks clean. Then let sit to dry off. Let the item air dry, but not in the sun or direct heat! (Do not use a blow dryer, do not place in front of radiator, etc.…)

TIP: If you needed to use a lot of cleaning product that got into nooks and crannies, quickly rinse the item off under a spray nozzle, dry off immediately with a towel, then go into nooks and crannies with a tooth brush. Use a soft tooth brush for soft specialty leathers used for sticky seats on some saddles.

4. Apply Leather Conditioner

Condition - twice per year:
Use Effax Leather Oil (twice per year, I find spring and fall a great routine) on the dry leather item: Apply a thin coat with the included brush all over the item. Let sit for half an hour, then dab any excess oil away with a clean soft rag. Let completely dry and polish (I like to wait until the next day).
Condition - every few weeks: 
Use Effax Conditioning Leather Balm (once a month or so) on the dry leather item: Either use a clean brush to apply to the leather item or – better yet – apply a generous amount to your hands and massage the product into the leather and use a brush to get into nooks and crannies. Let dry and polish (I like to wait until the next day).
STORAGE TIP: Keeping your leather items covered or tucked away in a cubby will help keep them dust-free and low-maintenance. Wipe off sweat and dirt with a little squirt of Effax Leather Combi after every heavy use or if items are sweaty (bridles, breast plates). Use breathable, not water-proof covers to keep away mildew that thrives in moist conditions. (Sometimes, an old sheet will do the trick!)
CONDITIONING TIP: Oiling and conditioning with Effax products has a lasting effect! There will be no need to constantly oil or condition your leather items. Heavily used items can be conditioned once a month. It is more important to keep the items in a clean and protected environment than constantly oiling them, which can make the leather too soft if overdone.
CLEANING TIP: Clean both sides of the leather! For thorough cleaning, take the saddle or bridle completely apart and clean all nooks and crannies. Reassemble after conditioning and drying.
CAUTION:
  1. Never apply oil or conditioner to a dirty leather item.
  2. Do not overoil your tack!
  3. Do not place your tack in an overly humid or overly dry (near radiators, etc.) environment!
Thanks for reading, be well and enjoy your horse!
dark bay horse with halter and woman
Stefanie Reinhold
RESOURCES:
For those, who are serious about leather care or have a passion for restoration and maintenance, the wonderful book "The Leather Care Compendium" has comprehensive instructions and many images. 
Just love this book! 
Everything you need to keep your leather clean and conditioned can be found in our leather care department
Here a video from Effax, showing some of the above steps:

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