Leather Care Is Important For Fine Leather Products – Such As Gun Belts
A bit of leather care goes a long way toward maintaining a quality leather product.
Imagine the day your new gun belt arrives. The first thing you notice is that new leather smell. Just like new car smell, you want your new gun belt to look, feel, and possibly smell brand new forever. With a little proper care and maintenance, you can ensure that all those things happen and your gun belt will provide years of faithful service.
There are many leather care products on the market, both natural and synthetic, and if you ask ten people what products they use on their leather, you would get ten different answers. Here are five popular leather care products that you can use to keep your gun belt in top condition for years to come.
One general rule to keep in mind about applying any leather care product is “a little is good, more is not.” Your gun belt will thank you for it.
Neatsfoot Oil is a very popular product for conditioning leather gun belts. It has been used to treat leather saddles and tack since the 1800s which speaks to its usefulness in caring for a variety of leather products. It can purchased in “Pure Neatsfoot Oil” form, or “Neatsfoot Oil Compound”, the difference being that the compound has mineral oil or some other petroleum-based material added to it.
It is produced when the feet and lower leg bones (including the skin, excluding the hooves), of slaughtered cattle are boiled. The boiling process creates a yellow colored oily substance that is skimmed off and filtered.
Once Neatsfoot Oil is applied, it soaks into leather fibers softening the leather’s structure making it smoother and more pliable. This makes it a very good product for restoring suppleness to old leather. Care must be taken to apply the oil in small increments as it can darken the lighter color tan gun belts. Applying too much at one time also attracts dirt and dust.
Mink oil is a thick waxy oil produced from the fat of mink pelts that are destined to become expensive coats. Long ago, fur trappers discovered that the oil found in mink pelts was very good at keeping their boots flexible and waterproof.
Mink oil is applied in much the same way as neatsfoot oil. Simply take a soft cloth and rub a small amount onto the entire surface of your gun belt, making sure to wipe any excess oil from the leather. Let the oil dry, and buff with a clean soft cloth.
Both mink and neatsfoot oil will darken the color of your belt. If your belt is black in color, you won’t have a problem unless you apply too much at one time.
Once applied and the oil has dried, buff out your gun belt. The mink oil will prevent your gun belt’s leather from drying out and will keep it relatively waterproof.
Saddle soap is a mild soap compound containing ingredients like glycerin or lanolin that clean and condition your leather gun belt. Some brands of Saddle Soap also add a quantity of beeswax into the product to provide more protection for your leather. It’s a very popular product for maintaining horse tack, so a belt made of rich bridle leather can certainly benefit from an application of it.
Although saddle soap can be used as a primary product to maintain your gun belt, many leather-smiths recommend that it be used to clean your belt before you apply another product like neatsfoot oil for leather protection and conditioning. This will make for a little more work for you, but the effort will pay off in the long-run.
It is imperative that you thoroughly rinse all the saddle soap off your gun belt before adding another conditioning product. You should also make sure your leather gun belt is completely dry before adding more treatment.
Yes, olive oil – the stuff you cook with. It’s used by leather crafters to oil leather saddles and tack, including gun belt. Extra virgin olive oil, as it happens, not only is rich in good fats (good for cooking!) but also has a PH balance that is very good for leather care.
There are a few olive oil haters out there that say olive oil makes their gun belts smell like salad dressing. That may be true if you drown your leather in the stuff, but rubbing olive oil evenly into the gun belt in small amounts at a time should eliminate any odor problems.
Synthetic Leather Cleaner
Synthetic leather or faux leather gun belts are just that – fake leather. Though this type of leather gun belt is cheaper than genuine leather, you’re better served if you stuck with genuine leather in the long run.
Having said that, synthetic leather gun belts are usually made from petroleum based plastics or polymers making them less expensive. They don’t tend to last as long as their leather brothers, but with proper care and cleaning they can be serviceable.
Cleaning is best done with dish soap and water. They should completely air dry before applying any ccw belt conditioning products. Any of the 4 products mentioned above should suffice, but only use them in small amounts.
With a regular routine of cleaning and conditioning, your leather gun belt will last for years and years. No matter which method or product you decide to use, the important thing to do is to just do it. Anything worth having is worth taking care of. This is exceptionally true for your leather gun belt.
About The Author
Filled with Aloha, Michael Cambron has lived in the Newman Lake area with his wife and 2 golden retrievers for the past 16 years. He graduated Cum Lauda from Gonzaga University in 2014 with a degree in Public Relations and Promotions. When he’s not writing, he can be found in the gym, on the golf course, kayaking on the lake, or at the gun store.