Leather Care for Unfinished Leathers:

Cleaning: Unfinished leathers can be difficult to clean and maintain, mostly because staining agents rarely remain on the surface of the leather, where they can be removed. Instead, they penetrate into the leather in much the same way as the dye color did, carried into the fiber structure while in a water- or oil-based solution.

Resist the temptation to use soaps or other cleansers, as leather is tanned at an acidic pH (4.5 on the pH scale), and most soaps are very alkaline (at the other end of the pH scale). Because these hides are porous, inappropriate soaps and detergents soak into the leather, altering the pH of your leather. This results in premature deterioration of the fibers.

Remember that most stains in the unfinished leather category are not on the surface where cleaning will be an effective solution. Rather the stain is in the leather, essentially altering the color of the leather. So, no matter what cleaner is used, do not expect miracles. The best cleaning strategy for unfinished leather is to regularly wipe it down with a lightly-dampened white cotton cloth to remove topical dust.


Beyond that minimalist approach, the best cleaner for unfinished leather is SG – 50. It has been chemically engineered to minimize the darkening affect. It is pH balanced, and when applied regularly will establish a protective coating that will reduce the leather’s tendency to stain.

Be very careful with extremely delicate leather, like lamb or calfskin. These unfinished leathers are very porous. Any moisture will quickly penetrate, potentially stain, and possibly stiffen the area in which it is applied. Due to the risk, it is always wise to test any cleaning process in a hidden area before proceeding to the more visible leather panels.

To order SG-50, click here.

Conditioning: The purpose of conditioning leather is to restore lost moisture. From the factory, leather typically has about a 25% moisture content. As unfinished leather is very porous, it loses moisture through evaporation at a rate dependent upon two variables: 1). Ambient humidity level, and 2). Heat. The dryer and hotter the environment, the quicker the leather will lose its moisture. The recommended frequency for applying conditioners is a function of the environment. If your home furnishings are exposed to direct or ambient sunlight or are near a heating vent or other heat source like a fire place, then those pieces should be conditioned regularly. As a general rule, we recommend conditioning leather 3 – 4 times a year.

SG – 25 or SG – 50 are the most appropriate conditioners. Both products have other properties. To learn more about them, read on, or to place an on-line order go here.


SG – 25 is both a conditioner and protector combining three basic essentials – leather moisturizing, stain protection, and antimicrobial – this product prolongs the life of your fine automotive, home, or office leather goods. Its non-darkening formula is appropriate for the broadest range of leather, including delicate leather. SG – 25 creates a silky smooth feel. While SG – 25 won’t resolve staining or fading of unfinished leather, it will bring a luster to the leather. SG – 25 is a cream-based conditioner and is not greasy like other leather conditioners. Go here to order it now and you’ll find out why so many people love this product.


SG – 50 cleans, conditions, protects and rejuvenates leather. When you only want the best of the best for your unfinished leather, SG – 50 is for you. It has a gentle, pH-sensitive cleaning and moisturizing action together with robust protection and rejuvenating attributes. Its creamy texture won’t darken sensitive leather. SG – 50 leaves a soft, non-greasy feel to your leather. Try it on your older leather pieces and see them come back to life. Go here to order now.

These conditioning remedies will offer additional soil-resistance, and will maintain moisture content. It is not advised to over-condition any of your leather items. As previously noted, the frequency necessary for the conditioning of your leather is a function of the moisture content in your environment. If it's a very dry climate, such as Arizona or other desert states, then conditioning every 6 weeks or so may be appropriate, whereas if you live in a damp climate with higher ambient humidity levels in your home, then the leather will not lose its moisture as quickly. Therefore, conditioning 1-2 times per year should be sufficient.

As previously noted in reference to cleaners for unfinished leather, be very cautious with delicate leather like lamb or calf skin. Always do a test in a non-obvious area to determine the potential for color distortion of any product.

For pull-up or distressed leather, SG-25 or SG-50 can be an effective way to minimize, or eliminate light scratches. Depending on the type of pull-up you have, they can be effective in restoring uniformity to high-use (abraded) areas like the tops of the seat cushions or arm rests. Call Advanced Leather Solutions at (800) 541-5982 for more information.

Nubuck and Suede leather are not candidates for liquid based cleaners or conditioners. Cleaning of nubuck or suede generally requires professional attention. There are some “tricks-of-the-trade”, however, that we are happy to share that can produce excellent cleaning results. For more information, email jmurray@advleather.com

For instances where topical soiling or discolorations cannot be resolved, please visit our services page, for more information about Advanced Leather Solutions leather repair and restoration services, and why cleaning alone may not be enough of a remedy.

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