Well Worn and Well Loved: How to Care for Leather Goods

Here at KMM & Co., we believe that the most beautiful leather goods are the ones that have been carried, used, and loved for years. Leather can last a lifetime -- but only if you care for it properly. Here's what we recommend. 

1. Carry it often

Our number one recommendation for helping your leather tote bag, wallet, or clutch wear in beautifully? Carry it often. That's how the leather will acquire a natural and beautiful patina.

We make heirloom-quality leather goods, so they can stand up to daily wear and will only look better with use. The first scratch or ding is always the most painful, but great leather always looks more gorgeous the more frequently you use it.

2. Condition it not-so-often

We recommend applying a leather conditioner when it feels like the leather needs it. (Can't quite tell? Leather in need of conditioning might feel dry to the touch, or a little less supple than it used to feel.)

Our favorite leather conditioners are Fiebing's 4-Way Leather Care and Angelus's Leather Balm. But any reputable leather conditioner will work just fine. Conditioner may darken the leather, so you can test it in an inconspicuous spot if you're worried about how conditioner might affect the look of the leather.

3. Let it acquire a patina

Here's the deal: There are plenty of leather goods brands that make accessories that look the same on day 100 as they did on day 1. But KMM & Co. isn't one of them.

We use full-grain leather that will show wear and scratches. On some leathers, like those from our bestselling Kodiak collection, scratches will be relatively easy to buff out. But glossy leathers, on the other hand, will often experience some finish loss at points of friction. Each piece of leather will acquire a patina that's unique to you and the way you carry your accessories. Don't fight the patina! Let it happen.

4. Waterproof it correctly

If you live in a particularly rainy area (or if you just know yourself and are realistic about your likelihood of getting caught in a thunderstorm), you might want to apply a waterproofing spray for some extra protection.

We recommend Fiebing's Water Protector, which you can spray on for an even application. And if you've already gotten stuck in the rain with your bag, don't panic! Hang it up to dry by its handles, and don't apply heat. Once it's dry again, we'd recommend an application of Fiebing's Leather Sheen. 

5. Clean it gently

Does your tote or wallet need a little cleaning? We recommend cleaning your leather goods very gently. (No household cleaners or disinfecting wipes here!) Full-grain leather will last a lifetime, but keeping it in good shape means only cleaning it with products that are specifically formulated for leather.

Our favorite leather cleaners are the Easy Cleaner from Angelus or good old Saddle Soap from Fiebing's. They can get you out of just about any sticky situation with your leather goods — especially when there's something sticky involved, now that we think of it.

6. Don't use harsh products, ever

Accidents happen, but we never recommend using harsh products or household cleaners on a leather bag. Please keep in mind that there are some unfortunate stains – like ink, wine, oil, and red sauces – that are going to be difficult to remove without the help of a professional. 

Spills happen even to the best of us. But using a cleaning product that's not especially formulated for full-grain leather is likely to damage the leather further. If you need recommendations for a particularly tough spill or stain, just drop us a line at hello@kmmco.com and we'd be happy to help.

Curious about where our leather comes from? Get all of the details on how we source our materials. And reach out to hello@kmmco.com anytime if you have questions for us!

November 05, 2019 — Jess Bolluyt