Leather Care Tips: 3 Non-toxic Ways to Clean & Protect
To maximize the life of your product here are some non-toxic ways to clean, protect, and restore your piece of Pingree or any leather goods:
Your Pingree product is made from car seat and steering wheel leather so it's designed to be durable, dependable, and will get a natural patina overtime. When it gets dirty, ("The mustard from my hot dog stained my bag--HELP") --which was an actual email subject line :)...... we have some simple and proven ideas to clean and keep your Piece of Pingree (or other leather goods) looking great and performing as it intended for decades.
Stains happen - as do dirt - here are a couple tips from our Pingree Team to address dirt and stains (like rogue hot dogs attacking your favorite Pingree tote with mustard) without the need for anything toxic. As soon as a stain happens - we encourage trying to clean the area with cold water on a cloth and blotting the area where the stain is. If you have soda water while out and about - even better. When you get home- a solution with 50/50 vinegar and water is quite effective for removing stains. Use a cloth towel and blot the stain gently—the gentler your cleaning method, the better. Then cover the stain with baby powder and let it sit for 12 hours- we encourage using a baby powder that doesn't have Talcum in it because that ingredient can cause health issues if inhaled.
If the stain is very stubborn - we encourage elevating your cleaning regiment to using a gentle soap like Murphy's oil soap or dawn - with warm water. Same method as above- but add in rubbing the leather in a circular motion to lift the dirt out of the natural fibers. After this kind of leather cleaning - we encourage conditioning the leather - see below.
Hand sanitizer and peroxide can also take stains out - but the alcohol in it is very powerful and can damage the leather, and strip away surface coating- so use very sparingly and cautiously. We suggest trying it on a part of your product not visible- before using it on the area that is stained.
(Pictured here is our Willow Run Wallet in Chestnut Brown - a new one on the left next to one with a natural patina on the right - in the same color leather after annual conditioning and 2.5 years older.) Ages well - right? All 4 of the Willow Run colors get a patina like this.
Whether it's due to weather, using soap to remove stains, or father time, left untreated, leather can, over periods of time, become dry and brittle.
The solution? leather oil. By penetrating and hydrating the leather fibers, oil replenishes your piece of Pingree, making it smoother and more supple. It can also rejuvenate physical appearance, gloss over blemishes and scuffs, and inject color back into aged leather. Lastly, certain oils help to fortify against the elements, offering a degree of resistance to water and stains.
To protect and restore leather - we recommend conditioning it after every cleaning or at least once every 8-12 months. Wait 18-24 hours after cleaning before conditioning the leather.
We like Leather Honey - that's been around since the 60's and is non-toxic - and often use this and after buffing the leather finish with a thin coat of mink oil or neatsfoot oil after resoling sneakers or fixing a bag that's been loved on for years. We've also personally used grapeseed oil, coconut oil, and non-toxic shoe polish cream however some of these will darken the color of the leather so try it on a small area to see if you like the new color before applying to all of your product.
We do not recommend mineral oil or olive oil. They can stain your goods and leave blotchy marks.
If you all would find value in us doing a video demonstration of our co-owner and footwear division manager Nate showing you how he conditions and polishes a pair of Mayors sneakers - a skill he learned in the Air Force - please let us know!
Thanks for investing in a Piece of Pingree and being part of our story as we reiamgine a world that works for us all.