The entire purpose of using bridle leather is to create a beautiful and extremely long-lasting belt. The bridle leather tanning process centers around durability and longevity and pushes a ton of wax into the leather to help against aging and for light water protection (think about sweat coming off a horse when used as a bridle). However, there are some crucial steps you can take to make sure that your bridle belt functions and looks incredible for as long as possible.
There are three main aspects of taking care of your bridle leather belt (or any leather goods for that matter), cleaning, conditioning, and storing. Some call it the three Cs (no they I just made that up and it doesn’t make sense at all).
I hope that you use your belt and do crazy things with it. These crazy things often result in a filthy belt that needs cleaning. Fortunately, it is pretty easy to clean. As mentioned above, bridle leather is slightly water resistant, so a little water won’t hurt. Take a soft-bristled brush like a toothbrush that you won’t be brushing teeth with and dip it in water. Remove the surface dirt or dust by lightly moving the wet brush around. Don’t dig too deep or hard with the brush because you can leave marks on the leather. Once the dirt is agitated, take a damp or dry cloth (depending on how much water you used when being agitating) and wipe away the nasty dirt and grime. Even though it is water resistant, the belt isn’t waterproof, so do try and go easy on the water and not over saturate the leather because that can dry it out. Dried out leather is no fun, so that leads us right into conditioning.
Bridle leather is a natural material that requires a minimal amount of love to maintain its organic beauty. Even though a tree falling in the woods might make no noise when it falls, you will hear it crackle and cry as it dries out and turns to dust. We don’t want the belt to crackle, cry and turn to dust so we are going to condition it every three to six months, (or as needed such as when you decided to go swimming in the red river with your belt on). It is super easy to condition a belt, just take your favorite leather conditioner that you bought from amazon or Walmart, place a bit on a soft cloth, and wipe it over the belt. Spend a little extra time on marks and imperfections in the belt to get them out, unless you want the belt to look more rustic, in which case don’t. After letting the conditioner sit for a while, wipe it off. Let the belt dry (return to its normal color) and you’re done.
The final C stands for storage. It is the one thing you do every day, so it is really the most important. The most damaging and drying thing is the sun, so try and avoid storing your belt in direct sunlight. The perfect place to store your belt is in a cool and dry area surrounded by a dust bag. This will keep it clean and fresh. Remember, even if you don’t wear your belt it should be conditioned yearly.
Clean your belt regularly using a soft-bristled brush or damp cloth.
Condition your belt every three to six months, or as needed, using a high-quality leather conditioner.
Store your belt in a cool, dry place, ideally in a dust bag or a cloth.
Use a leather protectant to repel water, dirt, and stains.
Use your belt regularly and don’t worry about running it.
Constantly try to have fun.
Don't expose your belt to direct sunlight, heat sources, or chemicals.
Don't overexpose your belt to water.
Don't pull or stretch your belt excessively (we know it feels good to put the belt one hole lower but try not to stretch it.)
Don’t be scared of rocking your belt.
Your bridle leather belt will last for a long time. So long that your children will have to figure out what to do with it. Using the tips and tricks above will help ensure that it still looks great during your era, making it an item your children fight over.