tagHow ToLeather Care for the BDSM Community

Leather Care for the BDSM Community

byNavajazz©

One of the nicest things about my interests in caring for and riding horses, and in the BDSM lifestyle is the overlap in the equipment used for both activities. From whips to bit gags, crops to boots, and all the other leather harnesses and equipment, leather is a predominant material for both equestrians and Dominants, horses and submissives (especially pony girls and boys). However, despite the universal recognition of the role of leather equipment and accessories in the BDSM scene, I find very little readily available information concerning the care and cleaning of leather.

Leather items usually are expensive to purchase, and with a modicum of intelligent care, can last for decades. In addition to the purchase price for leather, it is a material that was created by the taking of an animal life, and that too deserves respect. Leather is not a manmade fabric that needs a mere wipe down with a damp cloth before being packed away in an airless box. In fact, leather that has been wet and then is packed away without good air circulation will be ruined. It will become cracked and brittle and the last thing any Dominant wants is for a harness to fail mid-scene! The following passages will outline the best ways to maintain leather equipment, whether your use of it is as a horseperson or Dominant/submissive lifestyle participant.

It is of primary importance to remember that leather is a porous material, and that any untanned leather surface will soak up moisture -- whether the moisture is water, lubricant, sweat or sexual fluids. Once the leather absorbs moisture, if left uncleaned, the leather can become excessively dry, making the leather crack, split or snap. It may seem counterintuitive to use warm water on leather, given my caution about the problems of moisture and leather, but that is the first line of defense. Using a clean, soft cloth or sponge, apply warm water (NO soap or detergent) to the areas of leather that were exposed to moisture. If there are oils or greases on the leather that are not diluted and removed by applying warm water, use the cloth or sponge to rub it off or, if the material is very thick (i.e., wax), it should be scraped away with a knife before the warm water is applied. Once the leather has been cleaned with the warm water, leave it out to air dry, away from direct heat sources like heaters or bright sunlight.

If the leather is very old or stiff, apply oil (i.e., linseed or neats foot) to soften and feed the leather. The best tool to use for application of the oil is a soft paintbrush with good bristles that will not fall out after one application. Apply the oil sparingly, observing how well the leather is absorbing it before applying additional oil. Many thin coats of oil are better than one thick coat. When the leather no longer is absorbing the oil applied, leave the leather article to air dry, again away from heat sources and direct sunlight.

Now that the leather has been cleaned and fed, it can be soaped. Good quality saddle soap is available in any equestrian supply shop or online; an alternative is to use unscented glycerine soap, which is available generally in bar form. Saddle soap can be purchased in two forms, either solid (in bars or in containers) or liquid (in spray bottles). If using solid soap, apply a little water or spit on to the soap, and then wipe a sponge across the soap. Once soap has been picked up on the sponge, wipe the sponge across the leather to be soaped. If there are large quantities of white lather as the leather is being soaped, the sponge is too wet. The soap and sponge should barely be damp for this process. Use the sponge in small areas, massaging the sponge to work the soap into the leather. If spray soap is being used, apply the spray to the cloth or sponge -- not directly onto the leather -- and apply the soap as directed above.

Yes, cleaning leather as set out here takes time and effort, and even a little expense. But the rewards of taking that care are many, including saving money and having leather equipment ready and able to meet the demands of a BDSM lifestyle. Kept in good nick, good leather will last a lifetime -- and what a lovely training exercise, to remove a submissive's leather gear only to instruct the submissive to clean and care for it so that it can be used on the submissive again in future!

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