It's best to think of leather as skin even though it is detached from its host body. Leather needs to be cleaned so that the pores can "breath" and it also needs to be conditioned so that it does not dry out. In this demo, I am cleaning a leash but the same techniques can be used on saddles, coats, leather furniture and more. As long as it is finished leather (smooth surface) and not suede or unfinished leather.
Note- Cleaning and conditioning leather will inevitably darken the color over time. If you have a very light leather and want it to stay that way, there are specific products available. Check with your local shoe shop or tack store.
Step 1: Gather tools
You will need:
Glycerin soap or a mild, moisturizing soap such as Dove
Oil for conditioning, see note below*
Rags and/or sponge
A soft bristle brush if the leather has a lot of dirt/debris on it
*Note-The oil you use can be linseed oil, 3-in-1 oil, olive oil or a prepared leather conditioner. The 3-in-1 oil I use in the demo is petroleum based. Never use a petroleum based product on leather that has been stitched as it can degrade the thread. Instead, use a vegetable-based oil. This leash has no stitching so it is safe to use in this case.