Tips For Maintaining Leather Bracelets and Other Leather Accessories

Leather has been used for making shoes, clothes, belts, and accessories for millennia, and its popularity continues to this day. Durable and beautiful, leather can offer the perfect balance between sophisticated and rustic. It’s no small wonder that accessories like leather bracelets are considered highly fashionable and are worn by men and women alike. They are suitable for any occasion and come in every style under the sun.

However, as with every other material used for making jewelry, leather needs to be maintained to preserve its beauty. We’ve put together this care guide with instructions on how to keep your leather bracelets and any other leather piece you own looking as good as the day you bought them.

Why Does Leather Need Special Care?

Leather is one of the most durable natural materials, provided it receives the proper care. Leather is porous, which means it is vulnerable to liquids and will absorb dirt and sweat from daily wear. Exposure to direct sunlight or heat can also cause the material to dry out and become cracked.

General Care Instructions For Leather Bracelets

To ensure that your leather bracelet continues to look as good as the day you purchased it, follow the general care guide we’ve provided below:

  • Take off your leather bracelet or watch strap before swimming or exercising. Saltwater, sweat, and chlorine can damage and discolor the leather. It can also dull the shine of any metal parts on the bracelet, such as gold, silver, or stainless steel. In addition, your bracelet may end up with an unpleasant odor since leather will absorb any liquid it’s exposed to.
  • The same goes for wearing your leather bracelet in the shower. Getting your bracelet wet will strip away the oils on the surface of the leather. The oils are what keep the leather supple. Without them, the material will become dry and brittle. Leather also becomes soft when wet, making it easier to stretch. Your leather bracelet will, therefore, become warped over time if you wear it while it’s wet.
  • Take off your leather bracelets before applying any kind of perfume, moisturizer, lotion, or cream. As with any other jewelry, your leather bracelet should be the last thing you put on. Think of it as the finishing touch to your outfit.
  • Remove your leather bracelets if you know you will be out in the sun for a prolonged period. This doesn’t mean you can’t wear your bracelet outside, but you do need to be careful if you’re going to be spending an entire day at the beach or poolside. Heat can damage leather, so it’s important to keep it cool even when you’re not wearing it.
  • If your leather bracelet has metal accents or precious stones, it’s recommended to take it off before gardening or playing in the sand. Sand is abrasive and will scratch soft materials like silver and gold.

How to Clean Leather Bracelets and Watch Straps

Here is a step-by-step guide to cleaning leather bracelets and other accessories:

1. Wipe the bracelet with a dry cloth

Before cleaning the strap with soap and water, wipe it down with a dry cloth. Preferably, use a microfiber or jewelry polishing cloth. This gently removes dust and other dirt that has accumulated on the strap and could potentially damage the leather’s finish during more extensive cleaning.

2. Wash the bracelet with soap  

Using a damp cloth, gently wipe the bracelet or strap. Do not submerge or soak the leather in water as this will damage it. Apply a drop or two of mild soap to the cloth and use it to gently rub the inside and outside of the strap using circular motions. Be sure not to use soap containing additives or chemicals that will strip the oils of the leather.

3. Remove soap residue  

Wipe the strap with a clean, damp cloth (or rinse the one you used from the previous step) to remove any residual soap.

4. Allow the bracelet to dry  

After removing the soap, lay your bracelet out to air dry. Keep it somewhere cool, out of direct sunlight.

5. Apply leather conditioner  

Once your leather bracelet is completely dry, use a clean cloth to apply a minimal amount of leather conditioner. Let the strap dry again after gently wiping it with the cloth. Only use conditioner meant for jewelry and accessories as leather conditioner meant for furniture might be harsh on the skin.

How Often Should You Clean Your Leather Bracelets?  

It is advisable to clean your leather bracelets at least several times a year, more if you wear them frequently. Use the cleaning instructions provided above every time except for the conditioner step. You only need to apply conditioner now and then.

If you live in a region with a hot or humid climate, you may need to wipe down your leather bracelets more often due to perspiration. Likewise, you may need to clean them more frequently during the summer months.


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