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How to Treat Untreated Leather

Updated April 17, 2017

Treating untreated leather will prolong the lifespan of your leather and maintain the soft, supple quality and original colour. Treating untreated leather is paramount before it incurs any marks or stains, and once treated, regular further treatment will keep it in excellent condition. Treating leather will depend on the type and original quality. Treating leather can protect from water damage or general wear and tear and popular items that will require treating and regular maintenance include shoes, bags and equestrian tack.

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  1. Wipe over leather with a slightly damp cloth to remove any dust. This also allows the leather to become supple and porous to the subsequent treatment. Untreated leather is very susceptible to spotting and staining so be careful to wipe quickly and smoothly over the surface to cover it evenly with the cloth.

  2. Use a small amount of leather soap, available to purchase from good shoe shops, DIY stores and online, and wipe again over the surface of the leather to clean it. The soap will remove any oil and grease. Do not over wet the leather as it may stain and take a long time to dry out.

  3. Pat the leather dry gently with a clean cloth to remove any soap or water residue.

  4. Treat the leather with leather wax, again purchased from good shoe shops and DIY stores. The leather wax seals the surface of the leather protecting it from being porous to wet or spillages and providing a protective layer in the occurrence of scratches and nicks.

  5. Spray the leather with a waterproof silicone protective spray. This provides one final layer of protection specifically against water, so is particularly essential for footwear. The silicone spray is prone to darkening the leather so care should be taken especially on light coloured leather items. Leather should be sprayed regularly to maintain protection from water.

  6. Tip

    Storing leather in a cool, dry place and preferably under a protective cover will reduce significantly the time required to treat and maintain it. Suede leather can be brush cleaned effectively with a small, hard bristled brush.


    When treating leather with sprays, do so in a wide, well ventilated space. Sprays often contain strong chemicals which can cause irritation to the skin.

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Things You'll Need

  • Leather
  • Treatment spray
  • Treatment wax or soap
  • Old but clean cloth

About the Author

Scarlett Fields began writing professionally in 2007. She has worked for a TV shopping channel in England producing advertising and promotional copy for clients such as Sony and Virgin. Fields also has copywriting experience and has written for a craft-based magazine, contributing articles detailing how to accomplish craft projects. Fields received a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from Bournemouth University.

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