A Simple Guide to Caring for Your Veg Tan Leather Goods With Fiebing's Products

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What Is Veg Tan Leather?

First, let’s briefly explain what vegetable tanned, often shortened to “veg tan,” leather is. If you’re a seasoned leatherworker and already know about veg tan leather, you can skip to the next section of the blog.

Veg tan is a leather tanning process that uses natural materials. The most common tannins used during the tanning process include plant sources such as tree bark, leaves and fruits. This environmentally friendly tanning method has been practiced for hundreds of years and is known for creating strong, long-lasting leather items. 

Veg tan is a popular choice of leather hide for a variety of reasons. Not only is it more eco-friendly than chemically treated leather hides, but its untreated, natural state makes it a “blank canvas” that leatherworkers love to work with. You can stamp, dye and paint the leather to create one-of-a-kind leather goods.

Another unique quality of veg tan leather is its patina effect. The leather is a very light and natural color when new. As time goes on and the leather is exposed to air, sunlight, and use, it changes color and develops a special look called a patina. This makes the leather get darker and look even more appealing.

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Now that we’ve learned about veg tan and its great qualities, let’s find out how to take care of it to keep it well cared for and looking like new.

Cleaning Your Leather

Starting with the basics, keeping your leather clean is essential. Dust and dirt can accumulate over time, diminishing the leather's natural luster. To clean your leather goods effectively, Fiebing's Saddle Soap comes to the rescue. 

How to Use Saddle Soap:

  1. Dampen a soft, clean cloth or sponge with water.
  2. Rub the cloth or sponge onto the saddle soap to create a lather.
  3. Gently clean your leather in a circular motion.
  4. Wipe away extra soap with a clean cloth.
  5. Let your leather dry naturally, away from heaters or direct sunlight.

Not only does Saddle Soap clean your leather, but it also restores dried-out leather to its original softness and pliability. Add it to your leather workroom today.

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Adding Moisture

Veg tan leather can become dry and rigid over time, especially if exposed to harsh conditions. Regularly conditioning your leather will keep it supple and looking like new. To restore moisture and prevent brittleness to your leather goods, Fiebing's Neatsfoot Oil is your friend. 

How to Use Neatsfoot Oil:

  1. Put a bit of Neatsfoot Oil on a clean cloth or sponge.
  2. Rub it evenly into the leather, paying extra attention to dry or cracked areas.
  3. Let the leather soak up the oil for a few hours or overnight.
  4. Wipe off any excess oil with a clean cloth.

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Preserving & Strengthening

To keep your leather strong and protected, add Fiebing’s 4 Way Care Leather Conditioner to your stock of leather care products. This one-step product both cleans and conditions all smooth leathers. It beautifies your leather by replenishing the natural oils and adding a waterproofing coating. 4 Way Care does not leave any residue behind, so it will not attract dirt or debris.

How to Use 4 Way Care Leather Conditioner:

  1. Put a bit of conditioner on a clean cloth or sponge.
  2. Apply a light coating onto your leather item.
  3. Allow 4 Way Care to absorb into the leather thoroughly.
  4. Rub briskly with a soft, dry cloth to clean and polish the leather.
  5. A second coating can be applied if desired.

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Restoring Lost Color

Over time, your leather items may lose color or appear uneven. When this happens, don’t worry. It’s possible to restore the richness and vibrancy of your leather goods by applying a fresh coat of leather dye. 

Before redyeing your leather, you first need to clean and prep your leather item. Fiebing’s Leather Deglazer preps your leather. It removes grease, waxes, lacquers and any top coats. This allows you to apply a uniform, even layer of dyes and finishes.

How to Use Leather Deglazer:

  1. Put a bit of Deglazer on a soft, clean cloth or soft-bristle brush.
  2. Rub the cloth or brush into the leather until absorbed.
  3. Wipe away any extra Deglazer with a clean cloth.
  4. Let your leather fully dry before applying dye.

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Storing Your Leather

Lastly, proper storage can significantly affect your leather's longevity. When you're not using your leather items, store them in a cool, dry place, away from direct sunlight. To prevent creases or deformations, stuff bags or shoes with tissue paper or shoe trees so your leather items keep their shape.


Taking care of your veg tan leather goods takes some time and attention, but the rewards are worth it. By following the straightforward steps above and using our recommended Fiebing's products, you can guarantee your veg tan leather goods remain beautiful, supple and protected for years to come. With the right care, your leather items will become cherished heirlooms, telling a story of craftsmanship and enduring style.

Fiebing's products are trusted by leather enthusiasts worldwide for their quality and effectiveness in leather care. Sailrite stocks these and many other quality Fiebing’s products. We have everything you need for before, during and after the leather-crafting process. From leather prep supplies to dyes, paints and finishers, then, finally, cleaners and protectants, shop at Sailrite for all your leather-crafting supplies.

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Thanks for reading! We hope you found this leather care and cleaning blog helpful. Do you have any leather care tips? Which Fiebing's products are your favorites? Let us know in the comments below.