Leather is a wonderfully versatile fabric to use and wear which has been adopted by virtually all cultures throughout countless centuries. Leather also has the wonderful appeal of appearing rich and luxurious and all the while being a good long term investment for the owner if he/she knows how to take care of leather properly.
The great thing about leather is that with some very cheap household items, you can clean and condition your leather goods so they always appear brand new. The homemade recipe below applies only to protected leather and not aniline or semi aniline leather. How can you tell the difference? Protected leather has a shine to it due to the protective coating while aniline and semi aniline leather do not. Aniline and semi aniline leather (while very supple) are very prone to absorbing liquids which creates permanent stains. These types of leather products should only be cleaned by leather professionals.
To concoct your own leather cleaning recipe for protected leather, mix 1 part white vinegar with 2 parts linseed oil. When you try any new cleaning product on leather, you should always perform a patch test first. This means testing the cleaning solution on a small corner of the item so it won't be noticeable. If the color doesn't run or the fabric doesn't absorb the solution, you're good to go. Apply the cleaning solution with a lint free cleaning cloth and gently clean the leather surface in circular motions. Not only will this solution clean the leather, but condition it as well.
When cleaning leather, one should always remember that this was once the hide of an animal and the material is meant to breath. Therefore, treat your leather products with care and avoid putting the leather under harsh weather conditions. Just as you wouldn't subject your skin to sun, rain, sleet and snow, neither should you submit your leather products to prolonged exposure to these elements either. By cleaning and conditioning your leather goods regularly, you will be able to enjoy your favorite leather items for a long time to come.