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文章: Living with Leather: What Happens When You Wash Vegetable-Tanned Leather? Tried Washing a Leather Smartphone Case!

Living with Leather: What Happens When You Wash Vegetable-Tanned Leather? Tried Washing a Leather Smartphone Case!

Living with Leather: What Happens When You Wash Vegetable-Tanned Leather? Tried Washing a Leather Smartphone Case!

Hello, I'm a staff member in charge of orders.

This time, I'd like to talk about the smartphone case I use...

I use a case made with leather from JAPAN FACTORY's Himeji-produced horsehide.

The characteristic of this leather is that it's light and supple.Specifically, the one I use is nearly natural vegetable-tanned leather called "sugar finish," which means it's not colored or finished with chemicals.Among finishing processes, there are treatments to prevent color fading, reduce damage from water, make it more resistant to scratches, and so on.

Because it lacks all of these treatments, vegetable-tanned leather is very susceptible to environmental influences, for better or worse.

For example, hand grease or mysterious liquid stains...The aging process of vegetable-tanned leather brought about by tannin tanning is interesting to watch, but once it crosses a certain line, it goes from aging to just being dirty...?

If you diligently care for it every day, you can enjoy a beautiful aging process, but alas, it's too late for that now.

         Here is the appearance from the past.

 

For leather, moisture is its enemy.
Once it's washed, it can't return to its original state anymore.

There are leather care products like leather soap available in the market for cleaning when leather gets dirty.

However, in this case using what's available at home, I used a neutral detergent typically used for delicate clothing.(To cut to the chase, the result turned out to be quite subtle...)

I've already enjoyed the changes and feel like it's sufficient no matter what state it's in now, so I proceeded with that mindset.If you decide to try this, please do so at your own risk.

Table of Contents:

  1. Into the water
  2. The dirt came off but...
  3. Impressions


Into the water

Firstly, here is the smartphone case before washing.

The water droplets left on the table can cause water stains, and if it gets drenched in rain, the overall shape may distort.

It was extremely dirty, so I hesitated to share this publicly, but this is the back side.

The part where the smartphone is inserted and the area where I usually put cards have a stark contrast.

Since I folded the cover to use it, the middle and left side where my hand touches are particularly blackened.

Now, I'm going to immerse it in water.

I'll mix in the detergent and vigorously rub and wash it without mercy.

The leather absorbs moisture and becomes soft and pliable.

The tanning ingredients and dirt dissolve, causing the water to turn orange.

While absorbing the moisture with a towel, let it dry in the shade.

The dirt has been removed, but

Here is the freshly dried state.Compared to the initial state, the overall tone has become brighter.

However, the change to the caramel color due to aging has also disappeared...

Maybe I washed it too much in my eagerness to remove the dirt.
Here's how the back looks like.

It's slightly better in terms of cleanliness.

The leather surface looks cleaner.It's noticeable from the back that there's some deformation probably from leaving it to dry for too long.

Some areas are a bit bumpy.

Feedback:
It seems like during the washing process, I may have removed more than just dirt, as the color has become brighter but overall, the finish has become dry and rough.

To prevent the leather from drying out, there are methods such as adding oil afterward or applying oil when the leather is partially dry.Since quite some time has passed since the photoshoot, I'll share the results of adding oil in the next blog post.

Thank you for reading this far.

Here is the smartphone case I use! (Note: The natural color is discontinued, so a different color is displayed.)

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