September 19, 2019
C&T Leather Balm
If your dogs are like ours, they don’t go easy on leather products.
When we started to develop our new range of original-design, hand-crafted leather leads and collars, we searched for a product to condition the leather. We wanted something that we could also recommend to you to keep our leads and collars ageing gracefully.
It soon became clear that a lot of commonly-used leather products really stink! So many of them give off a heavy petroleum smell, like your hands after you have accidentally used the HGV diesel pump at the filling station. Why?
It seems that this is because of the petroleum derivatives (such as naphtha) as well as fish oil, tallow and mink oil, that are used to make them.
The Safety Data Sheet of just one common ‘Dubbin’ product shows that it contains naphtha and benzene amongst other stuff. As a result, inhalation or ingestion of it is harmful and you should ‘avoid contact with skin‘ as it ‘may cause skin dryness and cracking‘. I feel that this could pose a problem if you are conditioning your lead with it. Rubber gloves, breathing apparatus and goggles for your dog walk anyone?
So, what to do? Time to get our old lab set out…
Introducing…C&T Leather Balm
C&T Leather Balm is simply made from all natural ingredients. It is a carefully balanced blend of Sweet Almond Oil, Cocoa Butter and Beeswax. Absolutely nothing else. These are all products that are used in foods, cosmetics and creams, and in just the right combination, produce an excellent Leather Balm to Restore, Protect and Preserve leather goods. I have become slightly obsessed with it, as this post will, sadly, show.
What is in it?
Sweet Almond Oil: A natural carrier oil, derived from the same type of almonds that we eat. Rich in vitamins and commonly used in cosmetics and medicines. It is often used in creams and lotions to sooth cracked or chapped skin and restore moisture where it has been lost – which makes it ideal for a restorative Leather Balm. NOTE: As the product contains almond oil, it is unsuitable for anyone with an allergy to almonds or almond oil.
Cocoa Butter: A solid substance, extracted from the cocoa bean, and used to make chocolate, as well as some ointments, toiletries, and pharmaceuticals. It is said to form a barrier that helps skin to retain moisture; just what is needed in a Leather Balm.
Beeswax: A highly stable and water-resistant substance, repelling water from the outside and retaining moisture in the skin. When distributed through a balm, it can help to seal pores and imperfections in the skin surface of the leather and to provide increased water resistance.
These properties, when carefully blended, make an excellent Leather Balm. It can be used to restore and rejuvenate tired, dry leather, protect leather for future wear and use, and preserve leather for a longer useful life with regular application. It will allow the leather to develop a beautiful, rich patina from use, without allowing it quickly to become dry and cracked.
How to Apply C&T Leather Balm
C&T Leather Balm can be tried on any ‘smooth leather’ but it is not suitable for use on suede. Many leather products can be treated with it, but it is not a polish and does not produce a high shine – so not what you need for your best wingtip brogues (Claire: please insert name of equivalent shiny women’s shoes in here…no idea, sorry).
We recommend applying a very small quantity to a hidden or inconspicuous area of the leather, to test it first. Because it is adding moisture and oils back into the leather it will usually darken the leather a little. Leather often lightens as it dries out, so this is only natural that is darkens when the moisture is replaced. It will usually lighten again in time, and with exposure to sunlight.
If you are happy with the test area, apply sparingly across the leather. A little goes a long way, so you won’t need to use a lot unless the leather is very cracked and dry. We have found that massaging the leather balm in by hand is the best way, but you can also apply it with a cloth; you will find you use a lot more Leather Balm though, as the cloth will absorb some.
Pay particular attention to seams and stitching, but as with any product, make sure that you don’t leave large quantities of the balm sat on the surface of the leather, for example, among the stitching or in seams. It can attract dust which can then degrade and damage the stitching. Just buff out any extra with a clean, dry cloth, or rub it in with your fingers.
Is it a leather cleaner?
No, C&T Leather Balm is not a leather cleaner. If the item is wet or dirty (if your dog, like ours, jumps into any body of water, regardless of colour/odour, without checking in with you first), then allow it to dry out somewhere cool and dark (not on a radiator or by a fire – it will dry the leather out far too much and too quickly).
When it is dry, brush off any dog hair or dirt, especially around seams and stitching. Give a wipe over with a damp cloth to get rid of any other stubborn dirt. When dry, treat with C&T Leather Balm.
What else can I use it for?
Our Leather Balm is not prepared, tested or sold as a cosmetic, hand cream or moisturiser. It does, however, contain the same natural ingredients as many of these products, you may find that your hands feel nice and moisturised after use!
If you choose to rub any remaining balm into your hands after using it on the leather, you will find that it is non-greasy, unlike many of the other options out there.
I personally carry a small tin with me and find that I use it pretty regularly as a general balm. My family laugh at my borderline obsessive quest to find as many uses for it as possible. Please Note: It does not work well as a substitute for engine oil. Hard Lesson learned. There are limits to its powers.
Will it “waterproof” the leather?
Leather is a natural product, and much like our own skin, leather absorbs and loses moisture over time. It will deteriorate much more quickly if submerged in water or completely dried out. C&T Leather Balm will help to keep a healthy balance of moisture in the leather.
The ingredients, particularly the Beeswax, help to provide a measure of water resistance to the leather, but will not ‘waterproof’ it. Light rain, moisture from the dog as it exercises, and a splash or two here and there from a muddy puddle will be shrugged off by a well-maintained, high quality leather collar and lead, and will add to the character and patina as it ages.
We don’t recommend allowing your dog to swim in a leather collar; slip the collar off or buy a man-made alternative if your dog is a real water-baby.
Where, how and when can I get some C&T Leather Balm?
So how can you get your hands (literally) on some C&T Leather Balm?
We will be offering a 15ml sample pot free with every leather collar, lead or set purchased, whilst supplies last. In addition, we will be adding a 50ml (shoe polish size tin) to the shop for purchase too.
We want to know what you think of the product when you have given it a try, so please get in touch or comment below. If you have any questions, just ask. We will try to keep this article up to date to reflect our experience of using C&T Leather Balm over time, and your questions and feedback too.
Thanks for reading (or more likely scanning through and looking at the pictures). You got to the end. You get points for persistence. You are my kind of person.