FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Please, before Contacting Us read the information we have provided here.
Experiment & Experience:
Our information is based on experience (over 30 years) with various types of leather and items made from leather. We have had assistance, guidance, and done testing with tanneries, boot companies, the Leather Research Laboratory, sportsman’s groups (field tests), and literally thousands of customers comparing our products in various elements and conditions around the world.
We can only share and advise according to our experiences.
We make no guarantees as there are so many variables and few constants, which you will understand as you read further. Whatever you have could be different or show different results. Experiment and experience are our best teachers.
Basic information about leather and its care:
Leather is a skin that can be from a variety of animals, from reptile to bird to animal. The most common is from a steer, called cowhide, and it varies a great deal within itself.
As a rule, cheaper leather is lower in quality. Belly leather is thinner, weaker, scarred and consequently cheaper. Leather items made from the back and sides of an animal are stronger and more durable than the belly leather. For more information on leather, click to read All About Leather.
Leather is tanned by one of many different processes and each produces different results and characteristics of the finished leather. Common tanning processes include chrome, vegetable, and silicone. Also, boots are either oil tanned or dry tanned. Most uniform and dress boots are coated with a polymer, so they can be polished to shine. These are sealed off, meaning no liquid (including oil) will penetrate their surface.
1) Are Obenauf's products considered leather conditioners?
Answer: Our leather preservative, Heavy Duty LP and Leather Oil, are leather conditioners. True leather conditioners are formulated to penetrate leather and keep it moisturized, providing protection from water and dirt. If leather loses moisture, it loses its flexibility and will crack.
Water Shield is a waterproofing spray but does not provide conditioning oils that penetrate leather, so it is not considered a leather conditioner.
2) Will Heavy Duty LP or Leather Oil darken my leather?
Yes, almost anything that restores the natural oils will darken it. Often this is a reaction with the bleaching or dying (coloring) processes used when the leather was colored for its specific use. As natural oils migrate through the fibers they change the ratio of oil to dye that were mixed to give it its original color. This intensifies the dye and alters the color. If your leather has been bleached blonde or dyed a light color, this darkening will be more significant. However, it usually enhances the appearance as it draws out the grain and gives it a richer natural albeit slightly different darker color. Many eventually consider this to be an improvement that gives leather real natural character. If darkening is a concern, test in an inconspicuous location. In some quality leather it takes 7 days for complete fiber migration and true color to show. Another option is to avoid deep color change by simply spraying and protecting with Obenauf’s Water Shield. This will repel water and most stains but will not do anything necessary to actually preserve your leather.
3) Can I use leather preservative on suede?
Suede does not require oils for protection. Apply Water Shield to waterproof and protect against stains.
4) How often should I apply Heavy Duty LP or Oil?
Frequency depends on many factors, like thickness, quality, tanning process, animal it’s from, and age of leather. Our recommendation: Get familiar with the look of your leather like you look at your skin. If it looks dry it is, restore it with natural oils. For temperate climates, every six months may suffice. Leather in hot/dry climates may require conditioning every three months. If it is subjected to hard daily use, wet or dry, it should be restored at least once per month.
5) How much conditioner should I apply?
A: Amount will depend on thickness, age, and type of leather as well as the article itself and conditions to which it is exposed. Experience is the best teacher. Until you’ve learned what works best for your particular article and its exposure, begin with a light application to avoid over doing with LP or saturation with Oil. Multiple lighter applications are better than one heavy application. However, for thicker leather and high quality footwear subjected to severe conditions, a second application of Heavy Duty LP can be applied soon after the first one has penetrated. This double application process will impregnate the leather to protect longer and better against extremely wet conditions. Warm leather in the sun for a few minutes or with a PEET boot dryer. Wipe or buff off excess. Use caution when doing a second application, until you're familiar.
6) What kind of oils or what is in your products that cause them to be rated superior?
A: Both of our preservatives contain a blend of Natural Oils, Propolis, and Beeswax.
Leather Oil: a liquid version with the same ingredients but, a different ratio of beeswax and Propolis to oil.
Heavy Duty LP: is in a cream form that is a time release formula wherein the natural oils are suspended in the wax and Propolis and gradually seep out over a long period. If the leather gets warmed or flexed the oils get released faster so leather is protected against parching and premature cracking due to flexing while dehydrated.
7) What is the best way to get rid of salt and body acids that corrode leather?
Water Shield: is a simple non-aerosol, water based silicone emulsion spray that was developed as a waterproofing spray for fabric. It has no solvents or propellants. It’s basically water and silicone, with a higher concentration of silicone than aerosols.
A: Mix 1 tablespoon of baking soda in a cup of water, pour inside your boot and slosh around. Repeat with the other boot then dump out. Do not rinse. Allow to dry completely before restoring oils. This will neutralize body acids and salts. Occasionally applying Heavy Duty LP lightly to the inside leather will help resist bacteria build up. (This recommendation is for leather boots that don't have thermal or waterproof linings.)