Anyone who uses leather products frequently, whether it’s armor, clothing or shoes, will eventually notice that leather wears away over time; if not properly cared for. For some Larp characters it can be the desired effect, such as orcs weathering their leather armor intentionally to look well worn. But even well-kept leather will only become better with age, if regularly maintained..
Here are a few tips on how to care for leather properly, so that it is durable for a longer and remains resistant, as well as mistakes that should be avoided when handling leather. These mainly relate to care of our Andracor Armour Leather and Andracor Suede, but many aspects are applicable to leather products in general.
But enough with the introduction, let’s jump right in!
Which materials are Andracor leather products made of?
In order to care for your leather properly, you need to know what kind of leather it is. Two types of leather are used for our Leather Armour, Leather Garments and other Leather Products.
Armour Leather: This type of leather is also called full cowhide leather. It is a genuine natural leather with a thickness of approx. 3 – 4 mm. This leather is firm, very robust and surface dyed as well as water-repellent, but not waterproof. It is a smooth leather in which the grain is still clearly visible.
Suede: Suede leather is roughened natural leather with a thickness of approx. 1.6 – 1.8 millimetres. It is softer and more pliable in comparison to the leather used for our Armour. It does not shine and is soft to the touch. Be aware that the dye in products made of suede leather can leak (see warning information). This type of leather is also water-repellent, but not waterproof.
Do I have to ‚break in‘ new leather armour?
New leather armour, made from the thicker armour leather, must be ‚broken in‘ – similar to leather shoes. The first time you put it on, the armor may feel a little stiff. However, with use the leather becomes smoother and adapts to your body shape.
To speed up this process, you can slightly moisten your armour with water (e.g. using a water spray bottle for plants) before wearing it for the first time, which imitates the same effect as moisture from sweat. The armour can then be ‚kneaded‘, which helps to press the leather into the right shape. ‚Kneading‘ also works without water, but requires strength and more patience until the leather keeps its shape.
The outside should always be well and carefully greased (for example with leather grease) before first use. Please follow the care instructions for greasing (our leather products are usually pre-greased).
Suede Armour, for the most part, does not need to be ‚broken in‘. It is more comfortable and adapts smoothly to your body shape, but it will also change its shape over time and fit even better..
What should be considered when cleaning leather products?
All products made of our armour leather are best cleaned with a damp cloth. It is however important that the leather doesn’t become soaked through! Please only use plain water, without additives such as rinsing or cleaning agents. After drying they should be re-greased it a little.
To remove dirt and mud from suede products, first let the stains dry, otherwise the dirt rubs in. Usually a strong shake of the suede is enough, alternatively you can use a shoe brush and brush off the dirt. There are also special sponges or erasers for suede leather (which are also used for shoe cleaning). However, we recommend first testing them on a small, inconspicuous area.
What’s the best way to care for and store leather?
Once or twice per year, products made from our armour leather should be re-greased, as this maintains the quality and extends the life of your leather products. Our leather grease, for example, is very suitable for greasing. We recommend greasing with your fingers – instead of with a cloth, as body heat opens the leather pores allowing the grease to penetrate the leather better. You can also use a hair dryer (lowest level!) to warm the leather.
Please note: as a result of greasing; the leather will become darker each time! You can also use other leather care products (which are normally used for shoes or bags), but these should be colourless. If you want to use water-proofing spray, first test it on a small, inconspicuous area of the armour, as it can react with the leather causing it to peel or change colour. All leather armour and accessories made of armour leather are supplied pre-greased.
Suede, however, should not be greased, as it would lose its softness and becomes greasy.
Store all leather products in a cool, dry, sun-protected place so that the colour does not fade.
They should be stored completely dry and preferably stored in a garment bag and hung on a hanger, so they retain their shape and are safe from dust.
What should be avoided when caring for leather?
As a rule, never let leather products become soaked through. If you store leather wet, it can go mouldy!
If your leather does get very wet, it should never be dried on a radiator or in direct sunlight as this makes it brittle. Keep it somewhere dry and knead from time to time so that it does not become too rigid.
Oil and grease stains are difficult to get out once absorbed, so must be promptly dealt with. Soak up the stain with dry kitchen roll and then lightly rub the stained area with wool detergent, before drying again with kitchen roll. This also works with chalk instead of kitchen roll, as chalk binds to fat. It’s still best to avoid grease stains altogether, so don’t eat like an orc if you’re wearing leather!
Leather is an animal skin, so treat it with care. Any products that would be harmful to your own skin, are most likely also harmful to leather.
Tips when wearing leather
Be aware that the dye in black suede can leak and stain when wet.
Coloured leather (particularly green dyed leather) may brighten when exposed to direct sunlight over a longer period of time.
Avoid getting leather soaked, as permanent water stains may appear.
Always wear clothing under leather armour, as it can cause chafing. The rivets on the inside of the armour may also rust when lying against bare skin.
Leather armour has no protective effect! Neither in combat nor when riding a motorbike! Despite robust craftsmanship as well as our premium Andracor leather, all of our products are purely decorative, only use for combat reenactment and exhibition purposes.
If you have any questions about our leather products, feel free to contact us via our support hotline or via Facebook.
Your Andracor team