Instructables
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.
 
Remove these adsRemove these ads by Signing Up

Step 1: Gather tools

You will need:
Glycerin soap or a mild, moisturizing soap such as Dove
Oil for conditioning, see note below*
Water
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.

Step 3: Clean leather

Picture of Clean leather
Now we focus on really cleaning the leather. This may take a bit of time and elbow grease. Wet a rag and add a small amount of soap. Work on one section of the leather at a time, rubbing the soap into the leather until it lathers. Our goal is to remove any dirt from within the pores of the leather.

Wipe the lather off with a damp rag or sponge. Repeat this process until the lather no longer turns grey and continue on to another portion of the leather.
PadronasMae7 months ago

Yay I have alot more leather to clean than you do.(I have horses so there is ALOT)

3366carlos4 years ago
Thanks for the info.  I put all my leather coats through the regular washing machine and let them hang dry.  They get the nice worn out look and there is no damage.  Do this at your own risk, from my experience there are no problems.
mossytoes5 years ago
hi, thanks for the info, is it the same for suede leather?
beastbunny (author)  mossytoes5 years ago
No, suede is completely different. If at all possible, you should refrain from wetting suede or using soaps. It is best to get t the stain while it's still wet and hasn't soaked in. Wet stains should be soaked up using dry towels to absorb the moisture. Some dry stains can be brushed off with a toothbrush or rubbed out with a pencil eraser.
kellimaier6 years ago
Hey thanks! I pay about a hundred dollars a year to have my coat cleaned.
fegundez16 years ago
the best cleaner is glycerin soap,a bar will last years!!.also you should use olive oil to oil your leather .after oiling set the leather in the sun to absorb otherwise you will find oil on other things in your closet!I had to care for the tack in a racehorse barn some of witch was over 80 years old but looked new due to proper care.
WastedOne6 years ago
Excellent guide. I have been planning to clean my coat for a while. It is a rather large brown trench coat, about 5 foot long. It shall take longer than a leash I imagine!