How To Take Care Of Your Leather Armor?

You've got it! You've finally purchased your first suit of leather armor! As with any item of clothing or equipment made from leather, to maximize its lifespan it's essential to maintain it regularly, because yes, leather wears out over time!

Don't worry, there's nothing too difficult about it, but it can be tricky to know where to start when you've never had to deal with it before!

Thanks to this article, you'll become an expert in maintaining your leather armor! We'll show you the mistakes to avoid, but also our tips for keeping your leather gear in good condition for years to come!

Let's get started!

Storage

Let's start with storage! This is where your armor will spend most of its time, so choose your storage location carefully!

First of all, keep your leather armor in a dust-free, damp and well-ventilated place. Indeed, humidity will degrade the leather and encourage the appearance of mold (but don't panic, we've got a section to help you get rid of it if you're faced with this situation 😉 ).

Also, remember not to store your armor in an unheated cabin during the winter, or in a sealed plastic bag - you'll regret it soon enough!

Finally, make sure you don't leave it exposed to the sun for too long, for example by hanging it in your window or letting it lie outside. This will damage the dye and alter your equipment. You can of course wear it during your larp events, but don't let it sunbathe if you don't have to! In general, remember that extreme temperatures are not leather's best friend.

General maintenance

Avoid exposure to water

As you know, leather is a material made from animal hide, which means it is not waterproof. Exposure to water will cause the leather to dry out as the water evaporates. This will make it even less waterproof, and if this process is repeated too often, it will eventually crack. You should therefore avoid exposing your armor to water as much as possible.

One possible solution, if you plan to expose your armor to water, is waterproofing! To do this, apply the product you've selected (there are several, but we recommend Bee Natural Rain & Snow) with a microfiber cloth.

Keep in mind that what someone likes is not necessarily what you will like, and if you're not sure about getting into a LARP where combat is present, why not attend a few games as a non-playable character to learn about the world of LARP and the systems that make it up?

You now know more about the combat systems present in LARP. If you'd like to learn more, you'll find additional resources at the end of this article!

Cleaning

After the effort, the cleaning! To avoid damage to your armor, it's essential to clean it!

First of all, always keep your hands clean when cleaning your armor. Leather is a very sensitive material, and oils from your hands can transfer to it and damage it. To remove surface dust and dirt, a simple wipe with a cloth will do the trick.

For a more thorough cleaning, there are two ways to clean your leather armor:

  • Use a damp cloth soaked in clear water without additives (washing-up liquid or cleaning products). Use chemical products Use a damp cloth soaked in clear water without additives (washing-up liquid or cleaning products). 
  • Use chemical products

There are a few precautions to be taken if you decide to use this second method. First and foremost, check that the product you've purchased won't damage the leather by discoloring it, for example. To be sure, first try it out on a small surface, then wait a few hours to check that it's all right.

Avoid stripping the leather of its natural oils when cleaning. This will accelerate the drying process and the appearance of cracks.

Finally, select neutral cleaning products, or those that match the color of your leather. Using darker cleaning products can discolor the leather.

Once cleaned, allow your armor to dry indoors at room temperature until it is no longer damp, then store it carefully in its original location.

Repair

Sometimes, despite our best efforts, our leather armor can deteriorate. This can manifest itself in mildew, tears, cracks or rips. However, this doesn't mean that your armor is finished. Here are a few tips for solving these problems.

Dried-out armor

You've just come back from your larp, exhausted, forget to take your armor out of the car and leave it in the sun for several days!
As a result, your leather will be dry and cracked, giving the impression that the slightest attempt to bend it will cause it to break! Rest assured, this can be repaired, even if there's a good chance your cracks won't disappear.

To remedy this problem, you'll need to use a stronger-than-usual leather conditioner like Neatsfoot Oil. These are softeners and moisturizers designed for intensively used leather equipment. With these, you should be able to correct the problem in no time!

Eliminating mold

Yes, as mentioned at the beginning of this article, sometimes leather does get moldy. Rest assured, this does not mean that your armor is damaged and should be thrown away. To know what to do, you need to identify the type of mold you're dealing with. Mould can be divided into two categories:

  • Superficial (or surface) molds 
  • Severe mold

Surface mold is very easy to remove. Simply wipe them off with a cloth and soapy water, then leave to dry before reapplying grease.

Severe mold, on the other hand, will require more effort! As you'd expect, a thorough cleaning is essential! To do this, you'll need:

  • A clean container 
  • Fresh water 
  • Rubbing alcohol 
  • A clean cloth 
  • A soft brush 
  • Dubbin grease

And all you have to do is follow these simple steps:

  • Mix equal parts cool water and rubbing alcohol in a clean container. 
  • Using your soft brush, scrub all the leather surfaces of your armor 
  • Soak your cloth in clean water and wipe dry 
  • Let your armor dry at room temperature 
  • Coat your armor with a leather conditioner such as Dubbin grease
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