Please Note: The following cleaning and care guidelines are based on years of experence, but it should be understood that using porous (leather) gear on multiple people still caries some risk and potential for STI (Sexually Transmitted Infections) contamination and transmission. The proper cleaning listed below will reduce the risk of transmission but not eliminate it.
Cleansing your Latigo Gear:
For leather to skin contact with no open wounds, make a thick lather of saddle soap and water. Apply with a bristled dauber and wipe with a dry cloth.
For leather to fluid contact of the following: tears, nasal secretions, saliva, urine and feces. Wash leather with the previous step until all visible contaminants have been removed. Wipe with wet hospital sanitary wipes and let air dry. Repeat if necessary.
For leather to fluid contact of the following: blood, seminal, or vaginal secretions. Wash leather with saddle soap and hospital sanitary wipes as described above. Repeat wipe-down with fresh (made within 4hrs) diluted 10% bleach solution and let air dry. Not recommended for areas of leather product with steel components as corrosion will degrade hardware and contaminate leather. Letting air dry with a bleach solution does not sanitize, disinfect, or sterilize the product! After contact with infectious bodily fluids, it is not recommended for the product to be used between individuals.
Conditioning your Latigo Gear:
Condition with oil-based product such as Obenauf’s Leather Oil or Obenauf’s Heavy Duty Leather Preservative cream after cleansing. Work oil or cream into surface of leather with hands and allow to soak for several minutes. Reapply if leather still seems dry until leather becomes supple and soft. Condition both sides. If oil remains on the surface, conditioner is not necessary.
Maintaining Latigo surface:
Occasionally, the surface of the leather will need to be re-dyed or redressed (refinished) if scuffed or worn. For re-dying, test on similar scrap leather when possible or spot treat to test leather dye color. If satisfied, apply to all worn areas. This may take a couple coats. Refinishing is more involved and requires knowledge of the current dressing as well as available products to redress.
Latigo leather products rarely require additional protection (but may over time), and is a more common strategy for natural or oil-tanned leathers. Protect your leathers by using another layer of oil or wax. Products available for this purpose range from neetsfoot oil to dubbin. Neetsfoot oil can be used as both a conditioner and protectant, but dubbin is placed over conditioners. This can protect leather from both water and dirt, but cleansing with saddle soap removes this layer, so must be reapplied after every cleansing.