Can you Wear a Leather Bracelet or Necklace in the Shower?

It is such a great feeling to own an accessory that you can wear all the time in remembrance of someone special or occasion. Leather bracelets are not made of the conventional metals, plastics, threads or twines that can be worn even when showering or swimming.

It goes without saying that the right caution is taken in order to protect our most treasured accessories.

So, can you wear a leather bracelet or necklace in the shower? No, leather bracelets or necklaces shouldn’t be worn in the shower because shower products and water can damage the general appearance of the leather item causing it not to last long.

Leather has unique characteristics that makes it look classy, and all that beauty can be eroded by it constantly getting wet.

Just to make sure you do not destroy your cherished leather bracelet or necklace in the shower or while swimming, I have gone deeper into the cons of it and offer some suggestions on how to waterproof your leather bracelets or necklaces. Read on to find out!

Why You Shouldn’t Wear Your Leather Bracelet or Necklace in the Shower

1. Leather will lose its natural oil

Leather in itself as a material is very durable and encounters a lot of water in its preparation stages. It is soaked and washed for days before it becomes the versatile material most people enjoy.

Leather after the tanning process will have special natural oils in it that makes it flexible and supple. So leather items require a certain amount of care and maintenance for its upkeep. Such care and maintenance is a once or twice a year cleaning and conditioning activity that you can totally do yourself.

The cleaning removes accumulated dirt while the conditioning quickly replaces the oils lost during the cleaning process.

Getting your leather bracelet or neckless soaking wet by wearing it in the shower or while swimming can strip the rich oils from the leather’s surface and pores.

The absence of the oils will cause your leather bracelet to stiffen and will lead it to it having ugly cracks and peels.

While your leather bracelets and necklaces can be super cool accessories for parties, dinners, school or work ceremonies, the bathroom probably shouldn’t be one of them.

2. Discoloration

Yes! your bracelets or necklaces will discolor if worn to the shower. Another important reason you wouldn’t want to wear your leather bracelets or necklace to shower is discoloration.

The truth is, we often buy things and in addition to all other qualities we also buy them for their colors and hope the color of the item stays the same or at least looks close to when we first bought them.

Leather obtains color in two basic ways. The first is by dyeing. When leather is dyed, the pigment applied to it is soluble and the dye is able to go deep within the pores of the leather.

The second way leather gets it’s color is by painting which is basically applying water or oil-based pigment on the surface of the leather and unlike leather dyes, the paint sits just on the surface of the leather.

With constant showering or swimming with your leather bracelet or necklaces, the color on it will peel off (in terms of paint) or quickly fade away (in terms of dyes).

3. Leather can irritate your skin when wet

Even if you shower at least once a day, it is enough for the leather bracelet to release dimethyl fumarate (DMF) which is used in the leather during the tanning process.

DMF is used for its antifungal properties and has been known to cause many skin reactions which is a major form of leather allergy.

It may cause symptoms such as itchy skin, burning skin, dark or red rash, rough or dry skin, and peeling skin.

It is one of the biggest major causes of concern when showering with a leather bracelet or necklace.

4. Shrinkage

Your Leather bracelet or necklace will Shrink if you shower with it. Generally, when leather gets wet deliberately on not, it shrinks and must go through some processes to get it back to normal.

Processes to restore a shrunk leather items are mostly by stretching and in the case of a leather bracelet or necklace, it might be a problem because it is may either be too narrow or too small.

Shrunk leather can be quite ugly and out of form compared to how it was originally designed to be.

5. Odors

Leather when wet can have a foul smell. Leather when wet looses its fresh natural musky leather smell. Leather pores are less likely to develop bad odors when dry.

In times past leather was tanned mostly using vegetable tanning and the tanning agents, fats and oils gave leather special nice smell. Today some of the odoriferous substances used to give leather its unique smell are prohibited.

Most leathers today are chrome tanned and while this tanning process is less odor intensive, it is highly susceptible to unusual smells compared to the good old vegetable-tanned leather smell.

So taking a shower today with a leather bracelet or necklace will result in a really bad odor due to a large amount of chrome-tanned leather on the market being used for most leather articles.

6. Mold and Mildew

Leather can grow mold and mildew when wet.

We are familiar with the mold that grows on things around our homes such as bread, fruits, and other types of food. When mold grows on these things, we often discard them.

When mold begins to grow on leather items, it is a different story as you wouldn’t want to discard precious leather items.

Leather items are less likely to grow mold and mildew when it is kept dry and as such isn’t a great idea you shower with it.

How to Waterproof Your Leather Bracelet or Necklace

If you are bent on never taking off a treasured leather bracelet or necklace or after learning quite a few things from this article about the effects when leather gets wet, you would want to make your leather items more resilient from getting wet, here’s what helps.

You can get beeswax from any supermarket near you and use to waterproof your leather bracelets or necklaces.

To waterproof, apply a thin layer of the beeswax using a clean cloth on the surface of the leather necklace or bracelet.

Continue by warming up the bracelet or necklace with a dryer for a minute. You can do the warming up in an enclosed container to prevent the leather bracelet or necklace from flying or moving around. Also, make sure the blow dryer is substantially far from the necklace as you blow-dry.

The warming up process is to ensure the thing layer of beeswax applied, melts and dry into the membrane of the leather and to deeply fill up the pores of the leather skin with the beeswax material.

After warming up the bracelet, apply another layer of beeswax, wait for it to naturally dry for a while and warm it up again for another minute.

You can repeat the process once or twice and thrice or four times on the parts of the leather bracelet or necklace that touch your skin directly because of sweats. After the last warming up, make sure to let the leather necklace or bracelet air dry and cool down.

The downside to waterproofing leather bracelets or necklaces is that the leather item will become darker in color. It will eventually return to the original color of the leather necklace just like it was first purchased or gifted. So, don’t worry, it is absolutely normal.

When this is done properly, it will always cause water to splash off the leather item and be highly resistant to sweats and liquids in general. The waterproofing will also be able to make your leather item season adjusted and your leather item can be worn in all the season of the world.

The waterproofing process does not, however, warrant the use of the leather bracelet when swimming or showering.

Related Questions:

How long do leather bracelets last?

How long a leather bracelet may last depends on how often you wear it and how regular you leave it to dry after wearing. A good combination of wearing it and drying it can cause your leather bracelet to last more than 3 years.

Do guys wear bracelets on the left or right?

Guys can either wear it on the right or left and is subject to your personal preference. Just like wristwatches, some men prefer wearing bracelets on the right while others do so on the left. This is entirely up to the individuals’ style and comfort. It can also be influenced mainly by some men being left-handed or right-handed.


Hi! I’m Kwabena, the owner and founder of Favored Leather. I’m a huge Leathercraft enthusiast and I’ve been that for almost 13 years now. I'm excited to share my experiences and all the new stuff I learn each day about leather craft, leather cleaning & care, and everything in-between!

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