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What To Do When Leather Gets Wet (In 3 Steps)

BY Buffalo Jackson Insight
BY Amanda Uher

Revised 9/29

You forgot your umbrella - again. (Or the damn weatherman got it wrong - again.) Either way, your favorite leather bag got soaked with water. Don’t bother asking, “Can leather get wet?”—just be sure you know what to do when it does. Here’s your first tip: act fast. Here’s the rest on how to care for wet leather: 

1. Dry

Gently wipe off any standing water and allow the wet leather to naturally dry to the point of being damp - but not dry. (Do NOT apply unnatural heat, like a blow dryer.) For a jacket, hang it on a wide, padded hanger. For bags, boots, or shoes, stuff them with crumpled newspaper to absorb excess water and help hold their shape.

2. Condition

While the leather is still slightly wet (just damp), apply a reasonably thick coat of leather conditioner. Massage the conditioner into the surface of the leather and leave it to dry for several hours or overnight. The conditioner will penetrate the leather and replenish the natural oils that were stripped from the water. Learn how to use leather conditioner with our trusted guide. 

3. Protect

If it seems overly dry in places, apply additional conditioner to those areas and buff the entire surface of the leather. (After you’ve addressed the current wet leather situation, you can help make your leather more water-resistant. Apply a water and stain repellent to before it gets wet again.) Follow these 4 steps to learn how to care for your leather and prevent future staining. 

Whether it’s water from the sky or a spilled glass of water, we will say it again: “Can leather get wet?” is the wrong question. Unless you’re hiding your leather shoes or briefcase in a special corner, at some point, they will come in contact with water. So just be sure to know how to handle water when it happens, take steps toward making your leather water-resistant, and go live your life. If you’re looking for durable,high-quality leather bags, explore our collection of sturdy leather bags, made for every adventure.


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How to Waterproof Leather
How to Remove Stains From a Leather Bag
DIY Leather Bag Polish
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