Guys, I am sorry to break this down to you, but leather jewelry is really not water resistant!
Do you want to have your leather jewelry forever? Do you want to pass it on to future generations?
Than you have to put some work into it. But you say: “I love it so much, I don’t want to take it off! I want to shower with it, wash dishes with it (some of you might actually wash a dish or two…), swim with it, work out with it…”
Let’s face it – leather is like fabric. Every shirt you wear, it gets dirty, it gets sweaty…The difference is – you can put that shirt in the washing machine and have it cleaned BUT you can not do that with leather. Actually, you can clean it, but the more you do, the more essential oils you are stripping off it.
Think about it a little more – you wash and wash your shirt and ultimately it deteriorates. Wholes start popping out, colors get washed out…Do you really want to do this to your leather bracelet?? It is not that hard to take it off and spare it another wash. The less you soak (ultimately never) that leather bracelet, the longer it will stay with you!
And YES, there are products out there that you can apply to your leather jewelry that will make it water resistant BUT they are going to make it water resistant for a short period of time. Eventually, my friend, you will have to constantly re-apply that product over and over again. Did I mention that is not easy to apply a protective coat on a leather jewelry piece.
There are three other steps that you need to go through before you even get to applying the protective coating. Ok, I get it. You want to know them. May be, explaining them will help me prove my point:
First, you have to clean the leather with leather cleaner that is gentle enough to not strip the oils of the leather. Also, don’t use something with any type of grease in it because that can cause the leather to actually fall apart and break the strings holding it all together. This also can cause bacteria to grow in and around the leather (nice!). To add to that, you should clean the leather in a well ventilated area, which immediately should ring the bell that you will be working with harsh chemicals.
Second, conditioning…When conditioning a leather bracelet you should use a conditioner with fats and natural oils. Stay away from conditioners that have petroleum products (this is obvious, but just to throw it out there). Conditioning is something that should only be done occasionally because as the leather ages, it will break down the bracelet.
Third, polishing. Polishing should only be done if you want to achieve some shine for a more elegant look. Before adding the polish to the entire area of the leather bracelet, you should test it to a small area and make sure that the polish isn’t going to clog the leather pores and isn’t going to come off of the leather onto your clothing.
After all this struggle, you are ready for the application of the water protecting coating.
I hope that by explaining all the nuts and bolts on how to clean, condition, polish, and protect your leather jewelry, you will do me a favor and try to TAKE it OFF before starting all your lovely water routines.