Are you curious about what happens to leather over time? Then you’re in the right place! In this article, I’ll take a closer look at how leather ages and what effects this process has on the material.
I will also share some tips that can help prevent certain types of damage and keep your leather goods looking their best for as long as possible.
To summarize, over time, leather will naturally start to show signs of wear and tear. This is due to a process called “patina” which refers to the build-up of oils, sweat, and dirt on the leather surface. This can cause the leather to darken in color and develop a soft, shiny appearance.
Stick around as I share with you the details of all that happens to leather over time.
Details of What Happens To Leather Over Time
There are a lot of things that can happen to leather over time, but the most common changes that occur are:
1. Leather Gradually Darkens In Color
Leather is a natural material that will undergo changes over time. The most common change is that it will gradually darken in color.
This is usually common with vegetable-tanned leather but can still happen with other types of leather.
The main reason why this happens is due to the process of “patina” which I will talk about in more detail later on.
2. Leather Becomes Softer
Over time, leather will gradually become softer. This can be a result of a few different things.
The first is that as the leather ages, the fibers start to break down, making it more flexible.
The second reason is that as the leather gets used more, the oils from your skin help to soften and condition the material.
All of this and more can make your leather goods, such as jackets, bags, and even boots, become very soft and comfortable over time.
3. Leather Develops a Shine
Another common change that happens to leather over time is that it develops a shine. This is caused by the build-up of oils and sweat on the surface of the leather.
Also, it can come from friction as you use and handle your leather goods.
The shine is usually more pronounced on areas that get the most use, such as the handles of a bag or the cuffs of a jacket.
4. Leather Can Become Faded
Leather can also fade over time, especially if it’s exposed to direct sunlight for long periods.
The UV rays from the sun can cause the leather to dry out and the color to fade.
This is more common with lighter colors but can also happen in dark colors. The good news is that this can be easily remedied using a leather conditioner or dye.
5. Leather Can Crack
Another common change that happens to leather over time is that it can start to crack.
This is caused by the loss of moisture in the leather, which makes it become dry and brittle.
The cracking is usually more pronounced on thinner pieces of leather, such as belts, and can be easily prevented by regularly moisturizing the material.
6. Leather Can Become Stiff
Leather can also become stiff over time, especially if it’s not used often.
This is because the fibers in the leather harden and become less flexible.
The good news is that this can be easily remedied using a leather conditioner or oil.
7. Leather Loses Its Luxurious Smell
Leather also loses its luxurious smell over time. Instead of leather’s signature smell, leather tends to adapt to new smells, usually the user’s smell.
This is because the leather absorbs sweat and oils from your skin, which changes its scent.
This adds to the character of the leather and is something that many people love about it.
8. Leather Can Develop Mold
Leather can also develop mold over time, especially if it’s stored in a humid environment.
Mold usually appears as small black dots on the surface of the leather and can be easily removed using a damp cloth.
However, it’s important to note that mold can permanently damage the leather, so it’s best to keep an eye on it and take preventive measures to avoid it.
9. Leather Can Stretch
Another common occurrence with leather is that it can stretch over time. This can happen with use or if the leather gets wet often.
The stretching is usually more pronounced on thinner leather materials.
It’s important to note that once leather stretches, it’s very difficult to return it to its original shape.
So, if you don’t want your leather goods to become loose and saggy, it’s best to take preventive measures, such as using a leather conditioner or avoiding getting the material wet.
10. The Leather Will Get Wrinkly
Last but not least, over time, the leather will get wrinkly. This is usually caused by use or the leather is folded or creased for long periods of time.
The wrinkles are usually more pronounced in areas that have more tension, such as the corners of a bag or the elbows of a jacket.
While wrinkles can add character to the leather, some people prefer to avoid them.
If you’re one of those people, it’s best to take preventive measures, such as using a leather conditioner or avoiding folding or creasing the material.
Tips On How To Care For Leather
Now that you know what happens to leather over time, here are some tips on how to care for it:
1. Store your leather goods in a cool, dry place.
2. Avoid exposing your leather to direct sunlight or heat sources.
3. Keep your leather away from humid environments.
4. Regularly clean and condition your leather.
5. Avoid getting your leather wet if possible.
6. Don’t overstuff your leather bags or wallets.
7. Be careful not to scratch or damage your leather goods.
8. Repair any damages to your leather as soon as possible.
9. If you’re not using your leather goods, store them in a breathable bag.
10. Avoid using harsh chemicals or cleaning products on your leather.
11. Get your leather goods professionally cleaned and conditioned if needed.
12. Re-dye your leather goods if the color starts to fade.
13. Don’t hesitate to ask for help when caring for your leather goods.
Caring for leather can seem like a daunting task, but it doesn’t have to be. By following these simple tips, you can keep your leather goods looking and smelling amazing for years to come.