Depending on the time of year you’re likely to encounter three typical weather types in India – scorching summers, bone-chilling winters, and road-flooding monsoons. Here’s how you can prepare your leather menu for each of these seasons.
Summer: Good for leather, just take these precautions
Keep your leather items in a cool, dark place like the back of your cupboard. If you live in a humid zone you should also add some silica gel sachets between the leather items to keep them dry.
You can still wear leather backpacks or belts outside, but too much exposure to direct sunlight is not ideal – it causes the leather to fade and dry out (the moisture and natural oils from the leather evaporate). You might have seen this in older leather sofas & chairs where excess dryness caused it to crack.
Be sure to apply leather conditioner to any large leather items – sofa, backpacks, jackets 3 to 4 times a year, and at least once during the hot season. Do NOT apply any kind of oil like olive oil to these items, it will damage them.
Monsoons: Not the greatest time for leather, but manageable
Real leather always has a few pores and therefore isn’t waterproof. Arguably, rains are the worst time for leather shoes. But you can still wear them if you’re careful – just apply a wax based waterproofing coat beforehand. You will find these products online under the name “bootwax”, “shoe grease” or “leather waterproofer”.
With suede & nubuck, don’t expose them to water at all – they are soft and delicate grades of leather as compared to full grain. You’ll also have to protect those with special suede / nubuck conditioners.
No matter what you do, that pesky rainwater always gets to one leather accessory – your wallet. The best way to maintain one is to empty it, clean off any dirt with a damp cloth, apply leather conditioner and then let it dry at room temperature. (Insert a credit card into each side, in the billfold, to help it retain its shape as it dries)
And once again – silica gel keeps moisture away!
Winter: Leather paradise
Snow in the north, wind in the plains and blue in the skies. The perfect time of the year to go all-out with leather gear. A rugged leather backpack for that trek in Himachal or Uttrakhand.
A jacket and gloves for your bike ride. Matching belts & wallets for your soirees. And perhaps a duffle for your Christmas holiday trip.
Even during the winter, take extra good care of leather goods. Snow, winter rain etc can seep in and do damage if you don’t allow your gear to dry. Follow the drying process mentioned above (for rains). Don’t be tempted to keep leather in front of artificial heat sources like electric heaters or radiators – it will dry too fast and develop cracks.