Categorías
Leather Care Newsletter Steven Ferry

The Modern Butlers’ Journal, December 2021, Care of Leather Goods

Steven Ferry Care of Leather Goods, Part 14

by Steven Ferry

Leather Furniture

Leather furniture either has a protective layer or is unfinished: Unfinished (aniline) leather is full grain leather that has been dyed the whole way through and does not have a protective coating on it, so while on the plus side it ages well, developing a patina, it can stain more easily.

This is simple enough to manage: Apply saddle soap with a damp cloth to any lighter stains; heavier ones, such as ballpoint marks, can sometimes be removed with a Q tip dipped in rubbing alcohol and applied only to the stain. Some aniline leather is injected with oils and waxes and some is nubuck leather that has been buffed to create a velvety feel.

To minimize staining by liquids, tamp immediately with paper towels; oil-based stains that absorb into the leather can be removed, sometimes with multiple applications, using a leather degreaser.

Leathers with protective coatings that sport a uniform look can simply be dusted with a dry cloth (a vacuum cleaner can be used with a soft-brush or thin attachment where crumbs and dust warrant it) and wiped down with a dampened cloth when needed.

Apply a leather conditioner or cream from time to time with a soft cloth to moisturize and soften full grain leather.

As with any leather, do not let furniture sit in direct sunlight, or next to a fire, radiator, or even HVAC vent, all of which will dry and crack the leather over time. One other caveat is to train pets from using leather furniture as a scratching post or chew toy, and even from sitting on it, as their claws can leave random scratches that go beyond an appealing patina.

The Institute is dedicated to raising service standards by broadly disseminating the mindset and superior service expertise of that time-honored, quintessential service provider, the British Butler, updated with modern people skills, and adapted to the needs of modern employers and guests in staffed homes, luxury hotels, resorts, spas, retirement communities, jets, yachts & cruise ships around the world.

Categorías
Leather Care Newsletter Steven Ferry

The Modern Butlers’ Journal, November 2021, Care of Leather Goods

Steven Ferry Care of Leather Goods, Part 12

by Steven Ferry

Suede

While leather is the outside of an animal’s hide, suede is the inside of the hide and thus porous, so one does not use any polishes on it. Instead, use a rubber/eraser or even fingernail file to rub down any oil or stain and try to reveal the fabric again.

To remove dust and dirt, you need to raise the nap/surface of the fabric, the direction of the fibers, either by applying steam from about 10 inches away or by using a suede copper wire brush or similar, moving in a direction against the nap;

Then spray with suede spray [photo] to clean and also waterproof/protect from stains; do this in the open air, as the spray is highly toxic;

Finish by brushing in the direction of the nap so the material returns to its normal look.

If the suede becomes overly wet, soak up any excess moisture with paper towels and then follow the same procedure as used for leather in order to dry gently.

The Institute is dedicated to raising service standards by broadly disseminating the mindset and superior service expertise of that time-honored, quintessential service provider, the British Butler, updated with modern people skills, and adapted to the needs of modern employers and guests in staffed homes, luxury hotels, resorts, spas, retirement communities, jets, yachts & cruise ships around the world.

Categorías
Leather Care Newsletter Steven Ferry

The Modern Butlers’ Journal, October 2021, Care of Leather Goods

Steven Ferry Care of Leather Goods, Part 12

by Steven Ferry

Exceptions & Hacks on Cleaning & Polishing

For patent (high gloss) leather, apply the white cream designed for patent leather with a cloth and wipe off—do not use a brush or regular shoe polish cream or wax;

If multi-colored shoes, such as in the case of some ladies shoes or golf shoes, use a neutral-colored polish;

Shoes made of snake, alligator, ostrich, etc. skins need to be handled delicately with gentle motions using soft cloth—as their surface can be harmed by brushing/rough brushing. Also, they may require their own polish.

Remove salt stains by rubbing with a 50/50 mix of white vinegar and water;

Use rubbing alcohol to remove deep scuff marks (or one can try toothpaste rubbed in with a damp cloth).

The Institute is dedicated to raising service standards by broadly disseminating the mindset and superior service expertise of that time-honored, quintessential service provider, the British Butler, updated with modern people skills, and adapted to the needs of modern employers and guests in staffed homes, luxury hotels, resorts, spas, retirement communities, jets, yachts & cruise ships around the world.

Categorías
Leather Care Newsletter Steven Ferry

The Modern Butlers’ Journal, September 2021, Care of Leather Goods

Steven Ferry Care of Leather Goods, Part 11

by Steven Ferry

How to Polish Shoes

Lay a cloth or newspaper on a surface to prevent dirtying the surface with dust or polish. Remove any laces and use a slightly stiffer brush to brush away dust and grime; then a small round «on» brush to apply a small amount of polish to each section of shoe, including the mid-sole (unless it is made of rubber or plastic), as well as the tongue.

For a better shine, apply the polish with a drop of water or even a damp sponge, which will also keep the polish soft so it can be worked into the leather more effectively.

Use an old toothbrush to apply the polish into crevices or small holes, such as in brogues/wingtips.

Repeat for the other shoe.

Then use a large soft brush to buff the shoes to a shine, starting with the first shoe; use a rapid and light “flick” over the leather to bring up the shine.

Use a chamoise or lamb’s wool for an extra shine and to remove any remaining polish that may otherwise come off on trouser cuffs or long dresses.

Replace any laces in the same configuration they were in before, replacing any that may be broken or frayed;

For creams, use a soft cloth to apply the polish instead of a brush. In both cases, work in the polish briefly in a circular motion until the leather has a dull coating and then move to the next section.

Finish with a «heel & edge» stick to bring a shine to the sides of the heel and sole. They usually come only in black or dark brown and are very liquid, so apply sparingly.

The Institute is dedicated to raising service standards by broadly disseminating the mindset and superior service expertise of that time-honored, quintessential service provider, the British Butler, updated with modern people skills, and adapted to the needs of modern employers and guests in staffed homes, luxury hotels, resorts, spas, retirement communities, jets, yachts & cruise ships around the world.

Categorías
Leather Care Newsletter Steven Ferry

The Modern Butlers’ Journal, August 2021, Care of Leather Goods

Steven Ferry Care of Leather Goods, Part 10

by Steven Ferry

General Care of Leather, Part 2

After each use, wipe leather products with a cloth dampened with water (soap often contains chemicals that degrade leather) to remove abrasive particles such as dust that are a leading cause of wear and tear.

While shoes can be returned to their proper shape by the use of shoe trees, the same cannot be said of other leather products, such as bags and jackets. So for clothing, hang the item after wearing and let it fall naturally by doing up any zippers or buttons. For bags, wallets, etc., when in use, do not overstuff them in a way that stretches them and loses their natural shape. One could try stuffing bags with newspaper or cloth to emulate the same function as a shoe tree in the hope that the leather may regain its normal shape.

As well as storing leather in cloth bags, away from heat, humidity, sunlight, and dust, air them occasionally to prevent the growth of mold. Similarly, do not leave leather in direct sunlight, otherwise the color will fade and, as the leather dries, it will crack.

The Institute is dedicated to raising service standards by broadly disseminating the mindset and superior service expertise of that time-honored, quintessential service provider, the British Butler, updated with modern people skills, and adapted to the needs of modern employers and guests in staffed homes, luxury hotels, resorts, spas, retirement communities, jets, yachts & cruise ships around the world.

Categorías
Leather Care Newsletter Steven Ferry

The Modern Butlers’ Journal, July 2021, Care of Leather Goods

Steven Ferry Care of Leather Goods, Part 9

by Steven Ferry

General Care of Leather Part 1

Leather is alive and needs to breathe, meaning it should not be stored in bags or containers that do not allow access to air. Cloth bags for shoes or handbags work fine. When leather is exposed to the human body, particularly with shoes, the heat and moisture transfer from the person to the leather. This moisture should be allowed to evaporate before placing in any enclosed space to avoid mold or mildew from developing.

As soon as a shoe is removed, a shoe tree (cedar is best) should be inserted so that the leather can be straightened while it is still warm and moist and thus supple. Inserting a shoe tree after the shoe has cooled will force the leather to straighten and increase the development of cracks.

On the other side of the moisture scale, avoid drying leather that has become saturated by using a significant heat source, as it will crack and even shrink the leather. Best is to blot the item gently and then (for bags and shoes) stuff with newspaper and leave to airdry in a room with lower humidity for a couple of days until dry. Then condition as needed, as covered earlier.

The Institute is dedicated to raising service standards by broadly disseminating the mindset and superior service expertise of that time-honored, quintessential service provider, the British Butler, updated with modern people skills, and adapted to the needs of modern employers and guests in staffed homes, luxury hotels, resorts, spas, retirement communities, jets, yachts & cruise ships around the world.

Categorías
Leather Care Newsletter Steven Ferry

The Modern Butlers’ Journal June 2021, Care of Leather Goods

Steven Ferry Care of Leather Goods, Part 8

by Steven Ferry

WATERPROOFING LEATHER

Waterproofing over and above the use of wax polishes is generally not needed, as most leathers are already waterproofed. However, where the leather is often exposed to significant levels of moisture—rain, bodies of water, snow—then waterproofing can be applied to prevent the leather from becoming saturated.

This Mink oil shown is a good waterproofing agent; so is beeswax. Best to test the product in a less-visible area to see if it darkens the leather appreciably. It is quite likely to do so and this cannot be avoided except by testing another product that may darken less.

Lanolin is an ingredient in leather care products that can be used where a soft, supple leather is desired, such as for jackets or handbags. Avoid using lanolin-based products where a stiff feel is preferred, such as for some shoes or boots.

The Institute is dedicated to raising service standards by broadly disseminating the mindset and superior service expertise of that time-honored, quintessential service provider, the British Butler, updated with modern people skills, and adapted to the needs of modern employers and guests in staffed homes, luxury hotels, resorts, spas, retirement communities, jets, yachts & cruise ships around the world.

Categorías
Leather Care Newsletter Steven Ferry

The Modern Butlers’ Journal May 2021, Care of Leather Goods

Steven Ferry Care of Leather Goods, Part 7

by Steven Ferry

Conditioning Leather

Leather should be conditioned occasionally (depending on how dry the climate is) to
maintain its suppleness; or as a remedial action when the leather starts to dry out and crack; and certainly when the item has been neglected for a while. This is a two-step process that involves dusting the item first and then cleaning it with a gentle and natural cleaner without harsh chemicals. Next, apply a conditioner made of natural oils (to soften, moisturize, and shine), butters (to condition), and waxes (to protect). Use a cloth or soft sponge to apply and a dry cloth to remove any excess. The oils will soak into the leather fibers, enhance the shine, protect the surface from stains, mitigate cracks, and restore colour, while helping develop the patina.

Photo credit: Alf van Beem

Saddle Soap combines cleaner and conditioner for leather saddles and any other leathers that need to be cleaned as well as conditioned, waterproofed, and preserved.

Lanolin is an ingredient in leather care products that can be used where a soft, supple leather is desired, such as jackets or handbags. Avoid using lanolin-based products where a stiff feel is preferred, such as for some shoes or boots.

The Institute is dedicated to raising service standards by broadly disseminating the mindset and superior service expertise of that time-honored, quintessential service provider, the British Butler, updated with modern people skills, and adapted to the needs of modern employers and guests in staffed homes, luxury hotels, resorts, spas, retirement communities, jets, yachts & cruise ships around the world.

Categorías
Leather Care Newsletter Steven Ferry

The Modern Butlers’ Journal, April 2021, Care of Leather Goods

Steven Ferry Care of Leather Goods, Part 6

by Steven Ferry

LEATHER PRODUCTS TO AVOID

Avoid leather-care products made in China as they generally use inferior ingredients and harsh chemicals or smelly animal fats as opposed to natural butters or oils.

Avoid spray products, such as waterproofing sprays, which likewise use ingredients that are not necessarily good for leathers and which are too imprecise in application, hitting other areas than the intended leather. Suede spray products are an exception but must be used in very well-ventilated areas as they are toxic.

Avoid quick-application liquid polishes, as these likewise contain other ingredients that are unacceptable, usually leaving an added sheen that looks like petroleum floating on water.

The Institute is dedicated to raising service standards by broadly disseminating the mindset and superior service expertise of that time-honored, quintessential service provider, the British Butler, updated with modern people skills, and adapted to the needs of modern employers and guests in staffed homes, luxury hotels, resorts, spas, retirement communities, jets, yachts & cruise ships around the world.

Categorías
Leather Care Newsletter Steven Ferry

The Modern Butlers’ Journal, March 2021, Care of Leather Goods

Steven Ferry Care of Leather Goods, Part 5

by Steven Ferry

Different Kinds of Polishes

Wax is the most common polish for shoes and allows a shine to be created while adding layers that increase the leather’s water resistance; it also adds a small amount of moisture that helps keep the leather supple and free from cracks to some extent.

To ensure the leather is conditioned with sufficient moisture, especially in dry climates or where leathers are used often, apply creams (i.e. Meltonian, Kelley’s, Moneysworth & Best) as the leather starts to become dry, so it is not damaged by becoming brittle but does develop character with a burnished patina of scratches and scuff marks while retaining its suppleness—as demonstrated by the author’s 25 years of wear and care of his Johnston & Murphy shoes.

As a note, creams do not provide much shine nor water resistance, so they are not substitutes for wax polish. However, as waxes only come in half-a-dozen common colors and creams come in about two dozen colors and can be combined with other colors, just like an artist combines paint hues, in order to exactly emulate unusual-colored leathers, there will be some leathers on which one can only apply creams. In this case, a shine can be approached by applying the cream and buffing, and repeating a few times.

As a further note, the less glossy leather is, the more it is liable to change color, even when applying a neutral polish, as the leather absorbs the polish and can then darken. So particularly in the case of matching items like belt and shoes or handbag, test a polish or conditioner on a small segment of the leather, preferably where it is less visible, and let it dry for a day to see if the polish changes or darkens the color. It is always possible, of course, you will prefer the new hue, but best not to commit yourself until you have made an informed decision.

The Institute is dedicated to raising service standards by broadly disseminating the mindset and superior service expertise of that time-honored, quintessential service provider, the British Butler, updated with modern people skills, and adapted to the needs of modern employers and guests in staffed homes, luxury hotels, resorts, spas, retirement communities, jets, yachts & cruise ships around the world.