Cleaning & Caring for your Vanson Leather

It’s really pretty simple…take good care of your Vanson and it will take good care of you. To clean the road grime from a Vanson cowhide jacket, we recommend using a soft terry washcloth and cool tap water – that’s it. For more deeply penetrated oily grime, use a very small amount of mild dishwashing liquid. The goal is to lift dirt and road grime off the leather, not to drive it further in. Avoid commercial leather cleaners because they often contain solvents that can damage the finish of the leather and emulsify the surface dirt allowing it to penetrate more deeply into the fibers. 

Vanson Balm for cleaning and caring for your leather itemsThen, while your jacket is still damp, is the ideal time to apply some Vanson Leather Balm. (AC-BALM) Pre-dampening the leather helps draw the Leather Balm nutrients deep into the fibers of the leather. Vanson Leather Balm is an all-natural product made from selected vegetable oils designed to mimic some of the fats and waxes used in the tanning process. Vanson Leather Balm works great on finished leather; obviously, don’t use it on suede.  Also, if your jacket is made from one of the Naked Deer Tanned leathers, please know that the Leather Balm will darken the leather. In this case we suggest trying a small application on an inside area first to see how your leather reacts, before you go on to the whole garment. Multiple light applications of  Vanson Leather Balm are better than one heavy one. Any excess wax left on the surface after drying should be gently buffed off with a dry terry cloth.

Also, stay away from waterproofers, silicones and other heavily-oiled products since any of these will fill the pores of the leather and keep it from breathing. Products like these can over-lubricate the fibers in the hide, which may cause the fibers to slip past one another and result in the leather stretching out of shape and potentially weakening the hide.

Vanson Leather Balm has been specially formulated to make your top grain or cowhide garment water-resistant…but your leather will not be harmed even if soaked through – unless you dry it with heat or in direct sunlight. Instead, simply hang it on a chair or garment hanger and let it air dry at room temperature. Repeated soaking will, however, start to leach out the fats and oils used in the tanning process…and that’s when you should give it a good treatment with Vanson Leather Balm. On the other hand, if your leather jacket never gets wet, you should still treat it with our Balm at least three times a year to keep the leather nourished and pliable.

For older garments that might need a more thorough rejuvenation, Vanson also offers our in-house reconditioning service. In this case, the entire garment is soaked in a warm water bath for several hours. All the oils and waxes used in the original tanning process are fully re-impregnated into the leather on both sides. Then, the entire garment is carefully dried using temperature- and humidity-controlled forced air from the inside. See Wash + Reconditioning Service.