Pigskin leather seems to be everywhere these days, doesn’t it? It may seem a surprise, but this adorable leather is relatively new on the leather block; only recent technological advances in leather skinning have made pigskin leather available in enough quantity and quality to work for chrome tanning. Yet ever since the world gave it the spotlight, this tough hide has proven as versatile and tough as just about any cowhide. Pigskin is durable, flexible, light, supple, and inherently porous. Its inviting nature attracts wide ranges of dyes and colors, giving it a personal touch that has only boosted its popularity. Additionally, pigskin leather has the highest tensile rating of all leather apart from kangaroo, which basically means that you’re going to have to get pretty creative to break it. Great White Sharks chained to space rockets drugged up on steroids and tugging at both ends of your leather with their teeth creative. Today, pigskin can be found in everything from shirts and blazers to crops, boots, saddles, Bible covers, wallets, gloves, and the holy grail of all American pigskin leather, your traditional American football. Saddleback Leather Company especially likes pigskin leather for their high quality, tough as nails leather products.
Of course, pigs tend to be very aggressive animals. During their lifetime, those beasties loved to frolic in the mud, fight, squeal, and eat anything they could rub their snouts on. Suffice it to say, they have an attitude, and this attitude sticks with their hide long after they've ascended to piggy heaven. Pigskin leather tends to get a bit more scarred and scuffed than other types of leather, and while this can create pleasant natural patterns, it can occasionally make the leather rather ugly. For this reason, many pigskins have their grains sanded off and are turned into suede, an unfinished leather. For information about dealing with unfinished leather, check out our blog, “Leather Care for Finished and Unfinished Leather Furniture.” For the purpose of this blog, we’ll be dealing with those of you who own full grain leather pigskin. Again, if you are unfamiliar with leather grains, be a peach and check out our go-to guide “Know Your Leather Grains.”
Not Your Average Hogwash
Proper pigskin leather care also calls for cleaning (it's a pig, com'on), so you will want to be aware that because of its porous nature, pigskin absorbs liquids very quickly. You’ll want to ensure that any leather cleaner you use is compatible with your pigskin item. If your are doing unfinished pigskin leather care, veer away from traditional leather cleaners and treat your leather like suede. For finished leather, test your recipe in a small, hidden portion of your leather and allow it to dry before checking its results. If there is no discoloration or other negative effect, proceed to apply it to the entire item. A good cleaner compatible with most leather types is Chamberlain's Straight Cleaner No. 2. Give it a try!
Gently apply the straight cleaner in even strokes across your pigskin with a soft cloth or applicator pad. Do not rub in one place too much, as this may darken the leather and result in an uneven surface. Wipe each area of your pigskin in the same direction. Afterwards, grab another clean applicator and apply cleaner again, this time wiping in an opposite direction than before. Repeat until you can no longer see any dirtiness. Afterwards, use a dry cloth to remove any excess leather cleaner, and allow the pigskin to dry naturally in a cool, indoors place away from sunlight and direct heat.
When Pigs Shine
After you have cleaned your pigskin, you will need to apply a good leather conditioner to restore the natural oils and minerals lost during the leather cleaning process. Without these natural oils and minerals, your leather can dry out and crack. Use the same process you did to apply your leather cleaner. Test your leather conditioner first. Try to stay away from silicon products on pigskin. A good leather conditioner to use is Chamberlain’s Leather Care Liniment No. 1, a natural, water-based blend of oils and minerals that both cleans and conditions leather. If your leather conditioner works favorably, apply it to the pigskin leather in gentle strokes in the same direction, and then again in the opposite. This gives your pigskin greater receptivity to your leather cleaning and conditioning recipe. Afterwards, buff the leather conditioner off and leave it in a cool, indoors location away from, uh, sunlight and direct heat. You know that part.
Some Swine Need Pearls
As a final bit of advice pigskin leather care advice, try to store your pigskin in cool locations with low humidity in general. Closets can work well. Plastic bags do not work well. Instead, hang the pigskin on plastic or wooden hangers, or inside boxes or dust covers. Whatever works best for you. Additionally, if your valuable sees the elements a lot, it may be a good idea to shield it with repellents such as Chamberlain's Water Protectant No. 3, ensuring your leather has a long, healthy life ahead of it. Leather likes that.
Well, that was fun! Proper pigskin leather care is becoming a more important skill, as this dark horse among leathers creeps up on cowhide's popularity steady as can be. Yet despite pigskin’s extraordinary strength, it is still leather. It requires love just like any other snake or lambskin you’ve got crawling (slithering) around. Remember to take good care of it, and you just might walk into your room one of these days to hear the little fella squeal with delight. Won’t that be cool!
Caution: if your leather actually literally squeals, there is a significant chance it may be possessed by vengeful, lingering ghost piggies. Call an ordained pig farmer or professional ghostbutcher with haste.
Jolly day, folks!
Got more leather questions? Suggest a blog topic to us here!