Vegetable Tanned Leather Care, Cleaning & Aging Tips
Vegetable tanned leather is incredibly durable, eco-friendly, and beautiful leather that tells ages like fine whiskey and tells a story like none other. We are proud to feature this leather in our all new Heritage Leather iPhone X cases. How is veg tanned leather made? How do you care for veg tanned leather? Read on to find out.
What Is Vegetable Tanned Leather?
Veg tanned leather is the oldest form of leather tanning in the world. For millennia the recipes and skills have been handed down from generation to generation. The basic principles have not changed since 6000 BCE in the Indus Valley.
Using the natural tannins found in various barks and woods, raw leather is left in baths for upwards of 2 months or longer (sometimes up to a year!). Over this time it develops a rich natural tone as it tans. The process is incredibly environmentally friendly, and the result is a full grain piece of leather that can last for a century or longer with proper care. Due to the extra time it takes to tan this leather, veg tanned leather is often more expensive than chrome tanned leather. Thanks to the all-natural process of tanning this leather, it is very environmentally friendly and safe as well.
Over time, and with proper care this leather becomes stronger and acquires a beautiful rich patina. With exposure to sunlight and normal use, the leather will darken in color and deepen in tone into a beautiful patina that cannot be replicated any other way.
How To Care For Vegetable Tanned Leather
With proper care, vegetable tanned leather can last many decades. And like a fine whiskey, it will only become more valuable and unique the longer you have it. Unlike chrome tanned leather, most veg tanned leather does not come pre-treated with oils and waxes. The fibers will react to water by stiffening and shrinking. Keep veg tanned leather away from water for at least the first month or so of use, to allow the leather fibers time to soften and absorb oils to increase its natural water resistance.
Additionally veg tanned leather is sensitive to high heat and can crack if heated to extreme temperatures, so do not use a blow dryer or heat gun on the leather, and do not store the leather in an excessively hot area.
Every few months we recommend applying a little of our leather balm to the leather and rubbing it in with a soft lint-free cloth and your fingers. A little goes a long way, work it into the leather with soft circles. This will nourish the veg leather and restore its luster as well as replace essential oils and waxes to keep it flexible and resilient.
Once a year we recommend a full cleaning of the leather using our leather oil & cleaner kit to remove any accumulated dirt, deeply refresh it, and fully restore the leather to its natural beauty.
How To Age Vegetable Tanned Leather
To start, many veg tanned leathers are like a blank canvas, coming in a natural cream color. Over time this leather will naturally enrich in color and deepen in tone. As you use it, oils from your hands will rub off on the leather and darken the edges. Exposure to sunlight will literally tan the leather and give it a beautiful earthy tone.
To speed up the process we recommend working in a layer of our leather balm into the fresh leather, and then leaving it in the sunlight for a few days. The Sun’s rays will deepen the color of the leather very quickly. While it is best to give it direct sunlight, even placing the case in a window will work, though the process might take longer due to the natural uv-light blocking coating on many modern windows. More details can be found here.
Our Heritage Leather iPhone X Wallet Cases are made from premium full-grain veg tanned leather. Tanned by master leather tanners, and crafted by artisans with generations of training. Unleash your inner artisan and start aging your own veg tanned leather iPhone case today!