Homemade leather food was one of the first posts I ever published on Miss Thrifty, nearly five years ago (yikes) when readers were still in single digits. Homemade leather food takes seconds to make, saves lots of pounds and I mixed up my latest batch today, so thought it was worth a repost.
The leather sofa and armchair in our front room are hand-me-downs from a kind relative, and are more than 20 years old. Of course the thing with leather is, you have to feed it. If you don’t – and this applies to furniture in particular – it dries out and cracks.
This is where leather food comes in, and it is great stuff: a mixture of oils and waxes, you rub it in with a cloth and it keeps leather clean, soft and sleek. The only downside is that it doesn’t come cheap, costing up to £8 a pot. You can buy leather wipes from the supermarket and these do the same job, but at £2.80 for a pack of 24, they don’t work out particularly economical either.
So here is how to make your own leather food, for pennies.
You will need:
Two soft, clean cloths.
Add two parts oil to one part vinegar. Make up the quantity you need, but note that a little goes a long way. I find that two capfuls of oil and one of vinegar are sufficient for a three-seater sofa.
I buy white vinegar in bulk from Summer Naturals, because I have so many different uses for it around the house. If you don’t have linseed oil in the house, you can pick up a bottle from Amazon or your local DIY store for as little as £2. Raw linseed oil will do just fine, but boiled linseed oil is ok too, if that is what you have lying around: the only difference is that the boiled stuff is thicker, and dries more quickly.
You can make this up in a cup or a small mixing bowl from the kitchen: it’s only oil and vinegar, so it washes up easily.
To use, rub the mixture into the leather with the first soft, clean cloth. Leave it for a few minutes, then buff with the second cloth.
And that’s it! You’ll notice the difference immediately: even aged leather comes up soft and shiny.
Image credit: The U.S. National Archives.
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