The Secrets Of Conditioning Leather Like An Expert

February 02, 2022 5 min read

The Secrets Of Conditioning Leather Like An Expert

Finding the perfect leather purse is one thing, but keeping it in its best shape for years to come is a whole other ordeal. When buying their first leather bag, many don't realize that conditioning leather is crucial, and really the key, to making their bag look brand new even after many years of use.

Conditioning and cleaning your leather bags and wallets are the only way to keep them in pristine condition without having to go out and buy a new one. (If you need a guide on how to keep your leather bag clean, take a look at our linked blog post above. It has all you need!)

Why is conditioning your leather so important? Could it just be another time-consuming task that needs to be added to our ever-growing to-do lists?

Does Leather Conditioner Do Anything?

Yes, leather conditioner does a lot for reinvigorating your leather! A leather conditioner keeps leather protected by moisturizing the leather's fibers, which reduces friction and prevents drying out. It also helps to keep your leather soft and protect the surface from stains.


Leather has pores just like our skin does. Within these pores of the leather, dirt or grease can accumulate, and these pores can become dry, ultimately leading to stains, discoloration, and cracking.

When you use a conditioner, you help restore the oils that leather has lost over time and nourish it. Additionally, if your bag is already stained, leather conditioner can help too! The conditioner can often remove light stains by restoring the oils of the leather.

By conditioning your bags and wallets regularly, you can prevent deep stains from penetrating the pores of your leather.


Conditioning a leather wallet or leather handbag


Our bags are constantly and frequently being exposed to different substances that cause wear and tear. This wear and tear is why it's essential for us to condition your leather bags regularly. 

Lighter colors on your bag will be more prone to show dirt than darker colors, but all colors fade with time and use. Keeping it clean as possible and conditioned is the only way to keep those lighter colors looking good as new.

So, does leather conditioner do anything? It sure does!

Let's get to the nitty-gritty. How do you condition your leather like an expert? 

Well, we (who love to consider ourselves experts in the leather world) have those secrets below!

What Can I Use To Condition Leather?

You can use three main things to condition leather: leather oils, creams, and waxes.

Since handbags and wallets are made from thinner leather than, let's say, heavy-duty work boots, we don't need a heavy-duty conditioner.

Leather creams tend to have a thinner or lighter consistency than oils, making them a wonderful choice for regular conditioning of your MAYKO leather accessories. If you find that your leather is really struggling and needs lots of help in the hydration department (maybe you haven't conditioned as often as you would have liked), oil would be a good choice then.

Leather wax, however, is a little different. It's used more as a conditioning addition since wax doesn't penetrate deep into the pores and fibers of the leather. Instead, the wax gives superficial protection. This can provide a measure of water resistance, helping to avoid water stains and damage.


Conditioning leather

Now, what you've been waiting for! Here are a few of our secrets for conditioning leather like an expert:

  1. When it comes to your leather backpacks, leather clutch bags, handmade wallets, and more, condition gently and lightly! Less is more!

If you use too much conditioning cream or oil, you can actually do more harm than good. Using a lighter conditioner allows for more of an even penetration to the fibers of the leather, preventing discoloration.

  1. Choose a gentle conditioner, preferably one that has more natural ingredients.

Conditioners that are petroleum-based and contain chemicals may work effectively initially, but in the long term, they can weaken the fibers in the leather, which can end up causing the exact thing you're trying to avoid from conditioning your leather.

  1. Re-condition your leather after it has been exposed to water.

Did you get caught in the rain with your bag? After you've allowed your bag to dry, re-condition using a lighter conditioner. This will recover and restore the fibers of the leather.

  1. Condition your leather during dry months. 

Because leather is a skin, it's prone to drying out during the summer and winter months. In winter months, the air inside our homes can be very dry from running heaters which causes us to lose natural moisture from our skin and any leather goods we carry with us throughout the day.

So the same way you lotion up regularly during these months, don't neglect your leather goods!

Leather Conditioner Alternatives

Most leather conditioner alternatives you'll find involve oils, which, as we mentioned above, could quickly become a little too heavy for your leather purse. But, who doesn't love a DIY alternative these days? If you're looking for an alternative and need a conditioning agent at the drop of a dime, try coconut oil!

A little goes a long way, but coconut oil's properties supply adequate hydration to the fibers in the leather and can be used as an effective conditioning alternative.

How To Condition Leather At Home

To condition leather at home, you first need to do some spot cleaning. You can refer to our blog about how to clean leather to learn how to do this effectively.

Once you've cleaned your bag, grab a lint-free cloth and apply your leather conditioner to the cloth. Use a circular motion to work the conditioner onto the entire surface of the leather. 

Remember to apply only a thin layer! Less is more.

You can apply a second layer after the first one completely dries if you feel your bag needs the extra moisture. However, if you apply it too thickly, you can clog the leather's pores, leaving an unappealing greasy feeling on your bag.

Allow the first layer of your conditioner to dry overnight if possible. This will truly give you the look and feel of how your purse or wallet will be after a first layer.

Also, don't forget those straps and handles! Those are the places we often touch and hold the most and get the most wear and tear, yet they're ironically the places we forget the most when it comes to conditioning.

Lastly, always start with a little inconspicuous test area on your bag with the conditioner. Just in case it seems to make your bag a shade darker than you like, or it's too tacky and thick for your bag, you're not stuck applying it all over.

In Summary

All in all, we know you love your MAYKO handbags and handmade leather wallets just as much as we love creating and designing them for you! So give your goods some regular TLC twice a year to keep them looking their finest.

Whether you choose to use a conditioning oil, cream, and/or wax, you'll find that with every condition, your leather handbags and wallets become softer, more durable, and look refreshed.

Using our expert tips, you'll be conditioning leather like the pros, and your leather will never look better!

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