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Exotic Leather Series: Shark Leather Care

Exotic Leather Series: Shark Leather Care

Posted by Daniel Sutton on Jun 5th 2014


Man, I really love that Jaws movie. John Williams is da colloquial bomb!

So, we’re talking about shark leather today. Aside from being a really cool trophy just to flourish around (com’on, shaaarks dude, heck yes!) this also makes some pretty dad-gum tough leather. It’s a shark, after all. Nice texture too – a fine, grainy texture with smooth ripples like . In fact, word on the street says that shark skin is up to 25 times tougher than ordinary cowhide, more durable (making it a popular choice for upholstery and wallets), and even lighter to carry. We’ve yet to get our pet crocodile to chew test that claim, but based on our samplings, you might want to pick something else to tear apart with your teeth next time you’re showing off to the girl. Or boy. Whichever.

Funny thing, tough as shark skin is, it’s got a few weaknesses. Sunlight ("How Does Sun Affect Leather?"), heat, grime ("How Does Leather Breathe?") and – get this – "water" (especially holy water) can all be perilous to your shark skin leather. Granted, shark skin is water proof to a degree. It’s a shark, after all. Let’s just say that sharky had more than his fill of H2O in a past life, and has warmed up nicely to landlubber ways. Moisture’s good, but too much will cause your shark leather to dry out. If your shark leather gets wet, dab it up immediately with a soft, clean cloth before it sets. Other liquids should be treated the same way, and remember to always dab, not smear, when cleaning up liquids. If you smear your shark leather, you will only push the liquid further in and create a bigger mess. Allow the cloth to absorb as much moisture as it can, and if a stain remains, move on to a leather cleaner. For grease spots, you can try our corn starch approach here.

You will want to spot clean your shark leather regularly to clean off the routine dust. This can be accomplished with a slightly damp cloth. Just wipe the surface off until none remains, and you’re good. But for stains and deeper grime, it’s best to use something with a bit more bang. Shy away from commercial products when cleaning leather – pH imbalance will tear your leather apart faster than an actual shark ("Common Leather Care Mistakes"). Instead, use a cleaner specifically designed for exotic leather, or a mild soap if none are lying around (mix the mild soap with water and use the suds to clean). Despite shark leather being very abrasive resistant, you can help it out by handling with care. You’ll often find shark leather to be fairly smooth heading a particular direction away from where the head was. If you can, rub your cleaner with a soft pad or lint-free cloth in this direction to avoid any potential abrasive damage. Brush lightly, applying your leather cleaner in thin and even layers, and brush off any excess fluid with a clean cloth once you’re done. Once you’ve covered the entire surface of the shark leather, let it dry in a cool, indoors location away from sunlight and direct heat.

Conditioning is just as important as cleaning, and should be performed any time you’ve given sharky a heavy cleaning. Usually, this should be twice a year, or more if it gets exposed lots of exposure to weather and the elements. A good leather conditioner to try for shark leather care is Chamberlain’s Leather Liniment no. 1, a cleaning and conditioning recipe containing all the natural ingredients leather loves most. As an alternative, reptile leather conditioners will also perform very well. Remember to test before using. After you have acquired your leather conditioner, spread it thinly and evenly across your leather the same way you did with your leather cleaner. Afterwards, leave your shark leather to dry (fifteen minutes to an hour should work), and buff it off with a soft, clean cloth. It’s a good idea to let the conditioner soak into the leather as much as possible before giving it heavy use, so try to time your leather conditioning sessions so that you don’t need to use it immediately afterwards. You can check out more on timing in our blog "How Often Should I Condition Leather?"

Finally, try to keep your shark leather in a clean place. Good shark leather care will involve keeping your wallet or purse out of places where they might be exposed to sunlight, or have trouble breathing. Ideally cover them for protection against dust settlement, with a blanket or dust jacket. As mentioned before, shark leather likes cool, indoors locations away from sunlight and direct heat. Another handy tool to try is stuffing newspapers in or around you leather product, which will help absorb moisture.

Thar we be, me hearty! Shark leather care 101! That creature may look like a monster, but deep inside, there’s a heart what’s hidden like a clam’s pearl. Treat it right, and those sharp incisors will have your back no matter where you go. In a good way, mind.

Daniel Sutton

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