Disinfecting Leather

Most people that have spent a lot of time around leather would have seen the terrible state it can get in if left in damp dark conditions, this is especially true in the equine industry. Leather is a fabulous surface for bacteria ( Covid-19 ) included, viruses can survive for long durations on leather. This is because Leather is a fibrous material with excellent absorption property and steady temperate reaction. So how can we clean and disinfect our leather without damage? Firstly let’s divide up our goods into two categories, one is Clothing and the other Tack.


Check the clothing tags first, if it says Dry Clean only then you need to let your landrymat take care of it. Cleaning yourself will damage the garment or change the general look of the leather. After the garment has been professionally cleaned you can help prevent mildew by allowing it to get some natural light and keep it in a well ventilated place.

If the garment isn’t labeled dry clean then you can do the following.

1 place your garment on the clothes line to air and take up the sun for as long as possible without it being damaged. This could be anywhere from a few hours to a few days, you will have to be the judge. If the garment was damp and had some mildew on it and a smell, then longer. If the garment was in good order then a few hours will do. What your trying to achieve here is to dry and air the leather best as possible in a natural way.

2 mix up two parts Water Soluble Tea Tree oil and 10 parts water. Less oil more water is always best. I’ve loaded a photo showing the actual oil I use. Once mixed it will go white in colour and have a light Tea Tree smell. This can now be used with a damp cloth or paper towel to wipe down the garments. This part of the process will both surface clean and partly disinfect the leather.

3 Air dry in the Sun, this is the final and a very important part, final drying completes the disinfecting process.

Note: keep your mixture and it can also be used on other surfaces including your skin as a mild disinfectant.


Using the same process as listed for leather garments, you can then add this extra step.

4 Condition the leather. I am expecting that people with tack would have plenty of experience in looking after it, if you haven’t then do the following. Buy yourself a good general conditioner from a saddlery or other supplier. Condition your product and dry off the excess. Now get your self some wax, Bee wax is great! Or a surf board wax if you want it to smell nice too. Wax the edges by rubbing your wax along it and then buff your edges by rubbing with a smooth round piece of hard timber, here is a pic of me doing it.

You can see the block of wax I just rubbed the edge with and now I’m using a timber to rub it in. This seals the open edge and smooths the ruff ness out. Many edges have been painted for sealing, if it has and is still good then you can skip this.

Well that’s it for a simple clean and disenfect. Wishing anyone who has read this good luck and hope the impact of the current Covid-19 isn’t to heavy on you.

Warm Regards


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