Protecting and prolonging the life of your leather investment

Mother Nature isn’t always kind to your leather goods. Dirt, salt, dry air and other harsh winter elements can damage leather if they’re left to set in for months on end. Summer days mean more exposure to damaging UV rays, so it’s important to protect all leather, including car seats, from the harsh rays of the summer sun. Leather items are assumed to be durable and thus overlooked during spring cleaning, but without proper care, leather can become faded, cracked or dried out and even too stiff to wear.

There are four steps to taking care of your leather: cleaning, conditioning, polishing and protection. Done correctly you can not only keep your leather products looking great, they’ll last much longer as well.

1. Cleaning: before you start, dust the surface with a soft or micro-fiber cloth and check for any manufacturer cleaning recommendations. Always test any cleaner you use on an out-of-the-way spot first.

2. Conditioning: this helps keep your leather flexible and resistant to stains, and lengthens the life of the leather so try to condition your leather products at least twice a year (or with the frequency recommended by the product manufacturer).

3. Polishing: To restore shine, buff leather surfaces with a soft cloth. If you apply a polish, let the leather item rest for several hours before performing a final polish by buffing the object again with a clean, dry rag.

4. Protecting: Leather must be protected from UV rays, just like human skin, so use products that contain sunscreen to prevent fading, drying and cracking.

Leather is an investment, so conditioning and protection from dust, dirt, snow, rain and even sun always makes sense. Winter items like leather boots and coats should be properly cleaned and protected before they’re put away for the warmer months. Protection is also crucial when preparing leather items for spring use. There are a variety of products on the market to make sure you’re caring for your leather properly.

A leather cleaner with built-in UV Protection, like Zep Commercial Leather Cleaner and Conditioner, is a favorite of professionals and investment-conscious consumers. This product combines cleaning, conditioning, polishing, and protection, the four stages of leather care, into one easy product. It helps protect your investment by removing dirt and other impurities while restoring natural oils to leather. This cleaner is great for cars, couches, handbags and more. It leaves all types of leather feeling soft and smooth with no sticky residue and contains moisturizers to soften and lengthen the life of the material.

Remember to follow the care instructions on the leather products label that you buy. Proper cleaning and conditioning is essential to ensure years of lasting beauty for your leather.

Armed with these tips and some effective products, you can keep your leather looking and feeling great for years to come.  Zep Commercial Leather Cleaner and Conditioner is available at Home Depot, as well as independent hardware stores nationwide. For more tips and product information, visit