How to Restore Real Crocodile or Alligator Leather
Genuine Crocodile or Alligator leather goods are some of the most precious items anyone can own. But maintaining their beautiful high-gloss finish over time can be tricky. Here we guide you through our magic conditioning solution to bring your dull and worn-out Croc and Alligator leather items back to life in a matter of just a few minutes, as well as offering some expert tips on the do's and don'ts of how to care for this unique leather over the long term.
1. The Secret to Restoring Worn-Out Croc or Alligator Leather:
There's a lot of leather polishers out there creating a great deal of noise and confusion about how best to restore particular types of leather. The problem is, Crocodile and Alligator leather is very particular indeed, and using many of these generic polishers will completely ruin your items. If you're unlucky enough to have learned this lesson the hard way, you'll know that oil-based polishers will darken and discolour Croc and Alligator skin, whilst most cream-based leather restorers will actually dull your exotic leather pieces even more. Reptilian leather reacts disastrously to many of the chemicals used in conventional leather polishers, as the vast majority of brands out there tailor only for bovine leather or sheepskin. So, here's what you need to know:
Be sure to test the steps below on a small and relatively hidden piece of your leather to prove its success before applying the method to your whole item.
Step I: Buy a reptilian-specific leather polisher. If there is a choice between a cream or a wax-based solution, opt for the wax. Our favourite product is the Saphir Beauté Du Cuir (sold in most countries via Ebay or Amazon), which is a specialist high-gloss wax that is great for restoring the shine on most reptilian leathers. Be sure to buy the incolore (neutral) version which will work on all colours. Furthermore, please avoid if you have a suede finish on your Croc or Alligator leather as this method is strictly for restoring shine to the majority of reptilian leathers that have a glossy finish.
Step II: Prepare the leather surface and apply a layer of the wax. To prepare the surface of your Crocodile or Alligator leather watch strap, bag, wallet, shoes or anything else, you'll need to take a soft cloth or brush and gently wipe clean your item of any visible dust. Next, use a clean buffing cloth to apply a layer of wax evenly distributed across the entirety of the Crocodile or Alligator leather surface. Rub the wax into the leather in gentle, circular motions for a about 10 seconds per area. You'll notice that the leather will start to dull and lose its shine - this is normal. Allow the wax to sit on the leather for around 5 minutes, away from direct sunlight.
Step III: Buff away and you're done! Be sure to use a clean part of your buffing cloth that has not previously had contact with the wax to now buff your leather. You may need to be relatively vigorous, making fast curricular or linear movements to start to melt away the wax layer. Use only moderate pressure and make sure your nails are not accidentally scratching the leather as you buff. After a few seconds, the wax will give way to a brilliant shine which may even surpass the level of gloss that your item had when you first purchased it. We always find the results to be quite spectacular!
2. The Don'ts of Caring for your Croc or Alligator Leather.
• Do not expose the leather to oils. Natural oils in the hand are usually relatively harmless, and may only darken parts of the leather over long periods of time in a natural and attractive way. But contact with almost any other type of oil rapidly increase this process, which risks darkening parts of your leather beyond satisfaction. If this occurs, try using a light dusting of talc power upon the affected areas overnight, allowing it to draw out some of those oils. Gently brush away the next morning and then apply secret restoration technique to help even-out the tone of the leather.
• Do not expose the leather to chemical sprays. This is a common one. Leaving your Crocodile or Alligator leather item lying around in the vicinity of your grooming, cooking or cleaning spaces will inevitably lead to highly damaging chemical particles falling upon your leather. You will barely notice the effect at first, but over many months you may start to tarnish your leather beyond repair. If chemical related damage is starting to show, try giving your leather a light cleans with a damp cloth. Being a reptilian leather, it is more resilient than most to water exposure, although too much may risk dulling the shine on your leather. That said, you can then apply our secret restoring trick detailed above to bring that shine back.
3. The Do's of Caring for your Croc or Alligator Leather.
• Do use your Croc or Alligator leather items. Whilst most exotic leathers require extra care and attention for their maintenance, Croc and Alligator leathers are among the most resilient to wear and tear. Yes, they are high-value luxury items, but they are made to be used and enjoyed, not put away to gather dust out of fear of damaging them. Our tips and tricks detailed here will help you keep those signs of ageing at bay, and may in fact give older Croc or Alligator leather items a new lease of life. They are items to be proud of, particularly if they are of the Italian crafted and sustainably sourced variety - just like everything you'll find from Civitas Regis (sorry - shameless plug)!
Civitas Regis is an Anglo-Italian leather crafting studio offering sustainable exotic leather goods designed in the Foothills of Florence.