Leather Care: Grain Cow Hide First and foremost remember this, Leather is a “skin” that is tanned and preserved until it becomes a product at which time it is oiled and sometimes dyed. Next a finish coat is applied to leave a lustrous finished look making a beautiful product come to life (yet not sealing it).
Dirt, salts, and water can destroy leather. Dirt works into the pores of leather. Salts from sweat, and sun removes the oils as it dries, also (watch for) as leather gets damp or wet each time and becomes harder than the last time. Also water can push dirt and grime further into the leather and makes a deep dark spot.
The best results in cleaning Grain or Rough out cowhide, such as saddles and products of Neutral cowhide is to first make sure you can wet leather. See if you can wet a small spot, if so very good. If not, you may have a sealant surface coat on leather which needs to be addressed or removed before the saddle may be saddle soaped properly and oiled.
Note, also depending on how dry your leather item is will also sometimes require you to oil them before saddle soaping it. This is true in really old and dry leather. When you wet your leather, use Fiebings saddle soap mixed with water. I use the liquid saddle soap mixed with water. I use the Fiebings Saddle liquid soap with Glycerin which also comes in a soap bar. The choice is yours! Also you will need a soft sponge, but be careful not to rub the grain too hard. You can damage the leather grain (even their original shape. Then as leather dries, it will retain the form you have molded it to. Also, leather has a memory.
When the leather item or saddle is dry, you may oil the leather item by using a soft sponge to apply the oil. Application should be applied evenly with fast movements in covering the desired area. In oiling evenly, time is required. Sometimes the newer the saddle or item, there will be longer periods of time between oiling. If oil stands on an area too long, chances are the leather has received enough oil and you can actually even oiling color out by not re-oiling an area where oil is no longer needed. So watch for oil to stand for some time and not penetrate then wipe off and move to another area needing oil. After oiling a saddle, I like to wait at least 24 hours. Then if I need to touch up a dryer looking spot, I do so and wait an hour or so to see results on the touch up. Upon completing oiling of your saddle or leather item, remember to wait a day even two days in drying.
At this time, I apply My Leather Conditioner, a cream, and apply it like you would on your hands evenly. I use a damp soft sponge while applying the Oak Brand Leather Conditioner in even circular motions until the leather feels supple. You can also feel the difference the Oak Brand Conditioner makes in the touch. The feel is quite amazing!
Now, after conditioning, I wait over night, check then for spots, if none, then I buff surface with a soft terry cloth and there you will see what so many call a quality look. If there is a lighter or gray Salty Spot to the leather area, add Conditioner until the difference is gone then buff with a soft cloth.