We have a black leather sofa and armchair in our sitting-room. They are cast-offs from the in-laws and they are old old old, but you can’t tell because I take care to keep the leather soft and polished. This sounds like a Stepfordian pain in the butt, but it isn’t really; it takes about ten minutes, once a month.
I used to use a cream called Leather Food, which is a blend of waxes and oils costing about £8.00. You dip a clean cloth into the pot, then apply it to the leather. It stops the leather from drying out and cracking. Leather Food smells delicious – but it is pricey, and the pot empties quickly.
So now I opt for a more old-fashioned method: a bottle of linseed oil and white wine vinegar. Linseed oil is cheap and easy to come by; artists’ stores sell it at a premium, but at DIY places like Screwfix you can get half a litre of the stuff for just £1.99. Shake up two parts of the linseed oil to one part white wine vinegar. Rub it into the leather with a soft, clean cloth. Leave it for a few minutes, then polish with a second clean cloth.
This keeps the leather just as soft and supple as Leather Food does – and costs next to nothing.