Frequently Asked Questions
When you think about it, leather usually comes from cows and what naturally keeps a cow’s skin soft and supple? You guessed it, FAT! When leather is tanned, the natural fats are stripped out, and then fat is added back into the leather in a process called “fatliquoring.”
Tallow (beef fat that is processed and shelf stable) is one of the fats still often used in the fatliquoring process to rehydrate and soften newly tanned leather. Tallow is perfectly PH balanced for leather, and also happens to be very compatible with human skin on a molecular level, which makes it great as a conditioner for YOUR skin, too!
Even though there is no regulation or requirement for leather care products to list ingredients (so most companies do not), Colorado Natural Balms proudly lists our ingredients on every label. Since we want to know what ingredients are in the products we use, we figured our customers would, too. With rare exception, all leather conditioners generally have some sort of combination of fat, oil, and wax
- Tallow (fat): Our main ingredient is Colorado sourced pure beef tallow, which is beef fat that has been processed and is shelf stable. And, did you know tallow is one of the fats often used in the leather tanning process to make your leather supple and soft? So, by conditioning your leather with tallow-based Colorado Leather Balm, you are truly renewing your leather's original fats. Tallow is also properly PH balanced for leather. If your leather care products aren't PH balanced for use on leather, they will eventually break down the integrity of your leather item - uh-oh! Having the right PH balance is kind of a big deal for the long-term health and proper care of your leather.
- Lanolin Oil: Lanolin oil is a substance produced by sheep to keep their wool conditioned and waterproofed. Lanolin has been traditionally used for hundreds of years as a conditioner and softening agent of both leather and human skin because of it's excellent emollient properties. A little bit of lanolin goes a long way! The lanolin oil in Colorado Leather Balm both softens your leather and also helps act as a carrier to conduct CLB's tallow deep into the fibers of your leather for maximum softening, conditioning and leather preservation.
- Beewax: Beeswax is a wax produced by bees for the storing of honey. It has naturally occurring antimicrobial properties, and aids in water repelling as well as helping the fat (tallow) and oil (lanolin) stay put in the fibers of the leather once it's been applied.
- Essential Oils: Essential Oils provide a powerful combination of antimicrobial properties as well as a pleasant scent. Our leather balm is scented with Citronella essential oil and is the recommended scent for tack and saddlery, as well as leather used outdoors, since it also has powerful anti-fungal and anti-pest properties. Orange essential oil in our Orange-Vanilla scented leather balms also packs a powerful anti-microbial punch. Vanilla essential oil doesn't have any known antimicrobial properties, but it makes us happy when we smell it, and that is definitely worth something!
Any type of leather that is finished in such a way that it will absorb conditioner, such as aniline or semi-aniline finishes, vegetable tanned leathers, chrome-tanned leathers, and oil pull-up leathers. Examples of these are saddles, tack and harness, boots and shoes, handbags, purses, belts, wallets, older leather furniture, older leather vehicle seats, baseball gloves, and even some leather clothing.
Any leather that has a waterproof coating or nonporous finish on it, such as new car leather seats, or often leather furniture that is sold as stain proof. The finish on these leathers is such that it will not absorb Colorado Leather Balm. (Often you can just wipe down leather that has this type of finish with a damp cloth and it will do the trick to clean it). Other leathers that Colorado Leather Balm should not be used on are suede and nubuck leathers. When in doubt, test Colorado Leather Balm on a small, out of sight area of your leather to see what it looks like.
Clean leather using a damp cloth rinsed in warm water with a few drops of dish soap (not glycerin-based soap- that’s bad because the PH is not balanced for leather).
When leather is still slightly damp, but clean, scoop a bit of Colorado Leather Balm out with your fingers and massage into your leather. The slight bit of water still on the surface of the leather will help to conduct the balm deeper into the leather as the dried-out leather fibers below the surface wicks the moisture away from the top of the leather. The warmth of your hand and the friction created by you rubbing in the balm also helps to distribute the balm into the leather fibers. Continue with applications until leather is saturated and does not absorb any more balm. For best results, let sit 6-24 hours after applying for full absorption, then take a clean rag (microfiber or an old washcloth both work great), or a very soft brush and gently rub out or buff leather until the surface is shiny, smooth to touch and no longer tacky. Before you buff out the leather, you might see some white residue- this is just extra balm on the surface- it will buff out. For especially dry leather, this entire process can be repeated multiple times.
Note: This product will likely DARKEN leather, (especially overly dry leather) as it deeply nourishes, conditions, and protects it. If this is a concern, test an out of sight area see results.
Take special care when applying Colorado Leather Balm to carved or tooled leather or on leather seams. The balm can get stuck down in the carved areas and crevices, making it difficult to remove later. If you do get balm stuck in a deeply tooled area, don't fret; gently buff out by hand with an old toothbrush.
Lastly, a little goes a long way. When in doubt, test Colorado Leather Balm in a small, out of sight area of your leather item to be sure of how it will look before applying to the entire leather piece.
This is just excess leather balm on the surface. It will easily buff away with a cloth or soft bristled polishing brush.