Save Your Leather – And Save the Environment

In the years of our grandparents, when something was broken, you fixed it yourself or had it fixed. In the 1980s we reached the years of throwing things away. Something was old, something was broken, or you just didn’t like it anymore – TOSS! Into the trash. I was raised in a family that tried to take care of their items. Pants are missing a button? You sew a new one on. Simple. Yet, few people even know how to take care of their items anymore, let alone, fix them.

Now, for you leather loving people, I have a few tips. If you own leather, whether it is treated or not, it gets to certain point where is need some serious TLC. Leather is a natural material, its literally an animal hide. Even though its now a purse it needs to be moisturized. If you do this, your leather will last for decades and not a few years.

Now, you may think you are doing the world some good by buying fake leather and saving some animals. Unfortunately, the reality is that your shoes are a petroleum product for one and that those products might last a year of heavy use. So, whats better to buy?

I pulled a section of the article Is Fake Leather Really More Eco-Friendly Than Real? from

  • Pete Lankford, design director for Earthkeepers and Timberland Boot company, notes that while there are plenty of things to be concerned about in the leather-making process, from the resources that go into raising the cows to the industrial processes at tanneries, the products stand the test of time. “Leather wins hands down over anything you can think of,” says Lankford. If you can buy a pair of boots that last twice as long as a synthetic alternative, you’ll end up with half the environmental impact in the long run, he notes.




Use saddle soap. Its works on most leathers and can be found in a grocery store with all the other shoe supplies. To use, first brush off the chucks of dirt. I recommend a horse hair brush. Take it and get as much of the coating of dirt off as possible. Now, you take your saddle soap and a rag or a small horsehair brush and you rub the bristles in the soap a few times. Brush the soap on in a circular motion on the leather.

I like to add a little water after I add the soap, but you could just dampen the brush or rag. After you do this to the entire piece your cleaning, simply wipe off the soap well with a damp cloth. Depending on how dry the leather was, its possible that it needs to be oiled right after it dries. Clean brush after use.


Leather needs moisture. Would you go a long time without lotion? Probably not. To keep leather functioning and look beautiful, it needs its moisture. For regular leathers that are not super shiny like dress shoes, a mink oil works for all colors. You can buy special oils, for shoes in particular, that have dye in them but that can get pricey and I only recommend that for shoes that have become faded or get a lot of use that takes the dye away.

To oil its a lot like applying the soap. You take your dry, clean brush and rub it around in the can of oil a few times. Start applying it to the leather in small circular motions. If your get a little excess, you can wipe off with a rag. If the leather is very dry sometimes its good to leave a little excess on for a few hours and then wipe it off. When your done let the boots dry over night. This keeps your boots from cracking and just looking terrible.


They were once beautiful and shiny and now they’re dull and you have a job interview tomorrow. They need shine. With shine you have to buy the appropriate color. Black is the most common and is easy to find at the grocery store. Otherwise you might have to special order your color or get one for any color.

To put shine back in your shoes you need a soft cloth. Rub the cloth in the shine and apply it to the shoe. Rub gently in circles. When leather is covered take clean dry towel and rub side to side on the shoe. NOT in circles.


If the boots are very old or very brittle, these tips might not work. Either way, if you chance it you must be very gentle when washing or applying oil.


Use these tips and save your shoes. By doing this you save the cows and the environment on pair at a time. 

I once owned a pair of fake leather boots. They got a through a year and looked terrible. I have had leather boots ever since and some of them I’ve had for a few years so far with some heavy use. I oil all my boots once a year to keep them soft, shiny, and just plain nice.


Hope this Helped

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