Using a brand new leather belt is always uncomfortable as they are rough at first. So today we are going to talk about how to soften a leather belt.
3 Ways to soften a leather belt
It might seem right to let your belt soften on its terms, but without proper conditioning, you could experience blisters, cracks, and tears. There are some quick and easy methods of softening a leather belt which can help to a great extent if not completely. Following are some such methods:
1. Oil treatment
This is the simplest leather softening method with natural items.
• Here, coconut oil, jojoba oil, almond oil, olive oil, or any other natural oils can be used.
• At first, leave the leather belt in the sun for around 10-12 minutes to bring the belt to the ideal temperature of oil application. Besides, it helps to open the pores of the leather too.
• On night or winter days, you may use a hairdryer to heat its surface.
• Once ready, apply the oil on the surface of your belt using your fingers and let the oil dry. Repeat this procedure till all the leather is equally coated with oil.
• Though it is a popular softening method, but it might produce some minor change in the belt’s color. That is, it might darken the leather a shade or two.
2. Leather softener or conditioner
Home remedies are a good place to start, but there are occasions when they don’t do the job completely. If you need something better, find a commercial product that’s appropriate for your leather belt.
It is the safest and most efficient way. Many commercial products like- leather softeners and conditioners are available for softening leather.
• Buy a chemical-free leather conditioner of a good brand. Try buying lanolin-based products as lanolin is a good moisturizer for leather.
• Test the new conditioners or cleaners on a small area before full application to see whether it has any negative reaction or not.
• Read the product’s instructions and apply them according to the manufacturer’s recommendations.
• You can also use leather conditioners that are used on horse bridles and saddles. They not only soften your belt but also add some strength to leather.
• Apply a good amount of the product and spread it evenly onto the surface of the leather belt. You can apply several coats until the leather is properly softened.
• Reapply a few times every year to prevent your leather goods from drying out.
3. Using Vaseline or rubbing alcohol
It is a great alternative to leather conditioners, only if you have rubbing alcohol, petroleum jelly, and cotton balls in hand. Petroleum jelly helps coat and soften the leather to prevent cracking.
• Rub a generous amount of rubbing alcohol all over the leather belt with the help of cotton balls. This not only removes the dirt and impurities but also helps to open the pores and loosen up the leather. Alcohol might harm the fiber in the long run so, it is better to use it wisely.
• Afterwards, rub Vaseline on the belt to soften the tense belt fibers. This process softens the leather to a great extent.
• You can apply a few layers if you feel that leather can absorb more. Leave it to dry overnight.
• Do not use the belt until it is dried completely.
• Unlike the oil method, you shouldn’t experience any significant darkening of your items when you’re finished.
Is it possible to soften new, hard leather without any special products?
Well, the answer is YES! A tumble dryer is one of the best methods to use if you aren’t looking to buy any products to soften hard leather. But when using the dryer method, we have to keep the following instructions in mind:
• Medium heat should be provided. Otherwise, excess low or high temperature might have a negative impact on both the leather and the dryer.
• The product should not be kept in the dryer for too long as it might change the structure of the leather. Rather, you can set a timer of 10-12 minutes.
• Never put a wet leather belt in the dryer.
• After removing it from the dryer, you can use a good leather conditioner or mink oil to the product.
When would you understand that it’s time to soften your belt?
• When the belts are either brand new or very old, it likely feels tough and uncomfortable to wear.
• Generally, continuous wearing of that leather belt will create a change in how it looks.
• As leather belts are made of animal fibers, they tend to stiffen when it isn’t lubricated regularly.
• Besides, high heat conditions, pollution, ultraviolet rays, etc. also take their toll on leather.
Proper care after softening
To keep the leather belt strong and beautiful for long-term use, it’s important to take proper care after softening it.
• Keep the belt in a good environment with proper airflow.
• Never store the leather belt in sealed plastic bags.
• Avoid keeping the belt in direct sunlight for a long time.
• Cleaning should be done regularly using a damp cloth.
• Avoid using dye-containing products while polishing.
Hopefully, these above methods will provide significant help for the long term use of a leather belt.