I have 4 white leather dining chairs in my home. Surprisingly enough, they don't get too dirty, but every once in a white they get a wipe over with a barely damp cloth where they're have spots and marks on them. In the long run, wetting leather without conditioning it afterwards isn't good for the long term life of the leather. If it's an old pair of shoes or a cheap handbag, no major harm done, but when it's a piece of furniture, you'll want to get as much wear out of it as possible.
This weekend I decided that our chairs needed a proper wipe down and then condition. It's not necessary to use natural cleaning products to do this, a damp microfibre cleaning cloth is usually enough. I had no issues with getting the marks off the chairs, so I used the miracle product that is coconut oil to rub in to the leather after the chair had dried. This portion I wasn't happy with, for a couple of reasons.
Reason 1 I wasn't happy with coconut oil as a leather conditioner - didn't soak in
After 24 hours, the oil had not soaked in. I'm not sure how long you need to wait to start sitting on furniture again after using store bought leather conditioner, but 24 hours after I rubbed the coconut oil in to the chair, it was still visibly oily looking and it easily came off on your hands too.
Reason 2 I wasn't happy with coconut oil as a leather conditioner - it changed the colour of my leather
This one may just be because I had white chairs, but the coconut oil made the leather look darker. Not too much, just enough that they looked a little silvery and dull and not at all like the 3 chairs I hadn't done. Needless to say, once I saw this, I stopped and didn't to it to any others.
Reason 3 I wasn't happy with coconut oil as a leather conditioner - it made the leather fragile
This one is a little anecdotal because the chair I cleaned and oiled was the one that gets used the most and it was the dirtiest. I found that when I started pushing the leather around with the oil, tiny cracks started to appear in it and a couple that were not so tiny. When these cracks were oiled, they appeared dark, almost like I'd gone around the leather and drawn the lines in feintly with a 2H pencil. I did spend a fair bit of time wiping the coconut oil off the chair and the colour did get somewhat better. I'm not 100% sure what the reason is for this and whether it's just a one off with that particular chair, but it was enough for me not to continue.
What should you use instead?
I did some research about natural leather conditioner and came to the conclusion that most of them keep their ingredients a secret (big help) but we managed to find a natural one that's made from the perfect ratio of beeswax, olive oil and essential oils. It has a gentle warm spice scent and won't damage your leather like coconut oil does.
Lil'Bit Better Warm Spice Beeswax Leather Conditioner is 100% natural and uses beeswax from one local and ethical beekeeper. Click on the image below to buy. Find this and lots more safe and natural solutions in our natural cleaning products aisle.