We here at love in leather, love leather, I mean, it’s in the name. And if you know our origin story, you know we have been working with it for over a century, so believe us when we say, leather isn’t just a material. It is an element of the earth, and it needs some care to thrive and survive. If you look after your leather correctly, it’ll last you, well, until the cows come home.

The type of leather you have will determine how you should take care of it. What we refer to as flat leather is actually called finished or treated leather, because it is “finished” or “treated” with a protective coating. Although flat leather has its own self-care routine, it is generally more durable than suede. Suede leather is untreated, meaning it has no protective coating and that makes it prone to stains.

When it comes to BDSM and kink, it is especially important to note that leather is a porous material, meaning it will soak up whatever it comes into contact with. On top of that, it is impossible to completely disinfect. Due to the nature of BDSM and kink products, it is expected that your item is going to encounter some kind of fluid, oil or lubricant, but you should be mindful of hygiene when using leather goods during play or a scene and take extra care when cleaning it afterwards, especially if you intend to use the item with different play partners.

Blood and fluids like urine and squirt should be wiped off leather as soon as possible to prevent odours and damage to the leather. We do not recommend the use of leather goods during scat play.

Suede Leather

Before you do anything else, you need to treat your suede with a waterproofing spray. Despite the name, waterproofing spray will not make your item water resistant, but it will help avoid the chances of staining if your item gets wet. The second thing you’ll want to keep your suede in tip top condition is a suede brush. Brushing your suede will remove any dust or debris and restore the suedes nap, it can even remove stains!

If your suede gets wet, you should remove as much of the moisture as possible by blot drying with a towel, then let it air dry completely. NEVER use heaters or hair dryers to speed up the process! For tougher stains, we found the old wives tales work best. Try using a clean white eraser, very lightly, over the stain, if that doesn’t work, it’s time to head to the pantry. Pour out a small amount of white vinegar and use a cotton bud to dampen the stain. Let it dry then give it a brush.

If the stain is oily by nature, massage oil or lubricant, you should cover the stain completely with corn starch. Corn starch works by soaking the oil up and out of the suede. You should let it sit for a good couple of hours, then remove the excess corn starch and give your item a good brush with your suede brush. The oil should be gone but if there is still a mark, try the vinegar.

If you want to give your suede a deeper clean, try a suede shampoo. Waterproofing sprays, suede brushes and shampoos are available in most shoe shops, department stores and grocery stores.

Flat leather

To clean your leather, use a cloth, warm water and a mild soap. Some people use baby shampoo as it is gentle and doesn’t leave a residue, if the soap you use leaves a residue, wipe away with a damp cloth and use a different soap next time. Never use washing detergent or harsh chemicals on your leather.

Disinfectant wipes can be useful to quickly wipe any bodily fluids or oils off of your gear, especially if you are in the middle of a scene. When using wipes, make sure they are non-alcoholic as alcohol and acetone can dry, stain and/or damage the leather.

Once you have cleaned your item, you need to let it air dry completely in the shade. This is important for two reasons. 1. Prolonged exposure to sunlight and heat will cause leather to dry out and become brittle. Once it is brittle it will begin to crack and deteriorate! 2. Even if they are clean, storing your leather goods while they are still wet is an invitation for mould and mildew to grow. Never leave your leather in the sun, no heaters, no hair dryers.

Conditioning your leather will help to keep it as soft, supple, bright, and shiny for as long as possible but make sure you read the instructions before you clean your items. Some conditioners need to be applied while the item is still damp, others require the item to be completely dry before use.

Leather shampoos, conditioners and moisturisers are available in most shoe shops, department stores and grocery stores.

Storing your leather

How you store your goods will greatly impact its quality and longevity. Leathers greatest enemies are heat and moisture so direct sunlight and plastic bags should be avoided at all costs! Store in a cool dry place to avoid issues with mould and mildew. If you’re worried about your goods being scratched or getting too much light, you can wrap them in a protective paper. Garments should be hung on a wide hanger (no wire) and if they can’t be hung, try rolling, opposed to folding.

If you’re having trouble wrapping your head around all the instructions, just remember this – leather is skin. Skin needs oxygen, moisturiser and limited time in the sun to be healthy.

Leather is an incredible material. It has been used for millennia to create anything from shelters to sheaths to books to bondage. It has the ability to make you feel all powerful or completely powerless. It can be an investment but with the proper care, it can last a lifetime.

Written by Jordan Hill in collaboration with Sex Talk With Jordan.

This post is in no way a warranty or specific instructional care guide for any particular product. You should not rely upon the materials as a substitute for your products instructions or warranties. Love in Leather Pty Ltd will not be liable if damage occurs to any goods using information from this post nor will they be liable if any warranties are void from using information from this post. Any reliance you place on such materials is strictly at your own risk.