1,220 of 1,239 people found the following review helpful
One of two essential leather care products,
This review is from: Leather Honey Leather Conditioner, the Best Leather Conditioner Since 1968, 8 Oz Bottle. For Use on Leather Apparel, Furniture, Auto Interiors, Shoes, Bags and Accessories. Non-Toxic and Made in the USA! (Automotive)
I like leather products, and I like to take care of my stuff, so the right leather care product is critical. I've used a great many over the years and have settled on two as being clearly superior: Leather Honey and Bick 4 (Bick 4 Leather Conditioner, 16 oz). They are quite different from each other.
Leather Honey: Leather Honey has a unique effect, making leather somehow feel denser and more hydrated. It is hard to explain, but it is very different than the effect of more lotion-like products, and I've tried a lot of them.
Here's my experience on different things: On my favorite ten-year-old leather jacket from North Beach Leather, Leather Honey soaked in quickly in certain spots, and I added some more. After two hours, there was nothing to wipe away. The already heavy jacket feels heavier, better, and the results have proven to hold up and add more rain resistance. On a new black leather jacket, it didn't take as much nor was the effect as dramatic, but it gave the leather a more supple feel. On my five-year-old black Tumi briefcase, it was quite inconsistent in how much soaked in right away and how much stayed on the surface. I gave it the full two hours and it all soaked in, and it now uniformly feels great. A pair of black Ferragamo's that I bought years ago were getting quite abraded at the toe. No amount of polish worked, but Leather Honey has done a pretty good job of getting that area to look like the rest. I haven't yet put polish over the Leather Honey, so that is an experiment I'm curious about. Brown Sebago deck shoes certainly got more supple and soaked in a lot. The color darkened.
That brings me to the three small caveats: 1) Leather Honey is not a cleaner. Since it isn't water-based like lotion products, dirt stays. For example, on the Sebagos, an area that was a bit dirty was just the same, but the leather under it was clearly treated. 2) Leather Honey doesn't evaporate on plastics and rubbers, nor does it wipe off that easily. A day after treating the Sebagos, the soles still had Leather Honey on them, now somewhat sticky. Obviously I should have done a better job of wiping. 3) Leather honey can and will darken some light leathers.
Bick 4: I'm pretty sure this stuff is what North Beach Leather used to sell under their own name. It is a lanolin/oil lotion that really works. I use it bare handed, and my skin feels soft and good afterwards. It doesn't darken leather, and it cleans as it works if I wipe it up before it is all soaked in. I've used it on my wife's old Chanel purse, an Armani jacket, and some Coach gloves. In every case, it did exactly what I wanted, making the leather softer, more suppler, and feel great. It is easy to wipe Bick 4 off of areas it is unwanted, like plastic or metal.
Which one should you use?
I use Leather Honey for thick leathers that I want to feel more like high quality leather. Think cow hide over lamb skin. I make sure the leather is clean, and use Leather Honey if water resistance is important. I use it if the leather is really bad, because it does more than the Bick 4. I use it when some darkening wouldn't be a problem. Leather Honey makes all leather more, er, leathery, and I mean that in a good way.
I use Bick 4 for thinner leathers, or ones for which darkening would be a problem, or if I'm trying to clean and condition in one step. If the words that comes to mind with the leather you're treating is "soft," "buttery" or "thin" use Bick 4. Its effect won't last as long as Leather Honey's, but it works, and it works beautifully, doing just what you want a leather conditioner to do.
Addendum: Some reviewers have noted that Leather Honey didn't soak in to whatever they were treating, leaving it sticky. Certain leathers, mainly car upholstery and couches, are surface treated with a urethane topcoat. It doesn't make it feel like plastic, so you can't easily tell by rubbing it. Try putting a drop of water in an unobtrusive spot. If the water doesn't soak in and "wet" the leather within a minute, don't use Leather Honey! Bick 4 will work, though you will be wiping most of it away. What I use is 303 Aerospace Protectant for leathers that are coated to the point that they don't absorb water. Note, however, that 303 makes the leather more slick. Not badly so, but try it first. (303 is great stuff anyway for anything plastic or rubber or teak, but that's another review ...)
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Showing 1-10 of 57 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Nov 14, 2011 1:41:20 PM PST
Jessica F says:
Thank you for a very detailed and helpful review!
Posted on Jun 9, 2012 9:36:56 AM PDT
Ditto to Jessica Farrone's comment.
I'm curious. Did you ever try shoe polish over the Leather Honey? I would like to know if shoes will accept polish after treatment.
Again, thanks for a great review.
In reply to an earlier post on Jun 12, 2012 10:14:13 AM PDT
Hi Loren -
Thank you for your kind words. I did put shoe polish over the Leather Honey. It worked in that it filled in the pores and got decidedly smoother and shinier. There didn't seem to be any negative interaction, like unevenness or blotchiness. But it didn't get quite as much of the "polish finish" as I was hoping. I think that making the leather moister keeps the surface from being quite as smooth. So I'd say: "it worked well, but not perfectly."
Posted on Dec 29, 2012 6:45:27 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Dec 29, 2012 6:45:54 AM PST
Thanks for such a good review--I have dressage equipment but i use leather stuff from Germany that works well for saddles---but here is my question I just bought the most exquisite perfect condition supple and wearable black Edwardian laceup boots and they feel incredible! I wish they made shoes with this kind of support these days...anyway I want to wear these a lot and right now they are perfect soft and feel like calfskin---should i use Leather Honey? I know I have to clean them -- should iuse Murphys or my German saddle soap and then Bick or Leather Honey? So many rpoducts--Chamberlains, Pecard, I am thoroughly confused if you have a suggestion i appreciate it!
Posted on Jan 4, 2013 12:28:19 AM PST
Y. Hao says:
Your review was incredibly helpful THANK YOU so much! I purchased both products and look forward to using them in the ways your recommended.
In reply to an earlier post on Jan 4, 2013 8:01:12 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Jan 4, 2013 8:03:06 AM PST
a viewer says:
Thank you for a great review! I just purchased some Leather Italia USA leather furniture and am trying to figure out which products I need to buy to care for it. It's new, and is brown with slightly lighter areas, the areas that would naturally get worn to a lighter color over time. "San Marco" is the color name. The leather is very pretty and has somewhat of a shine to it, so I assume the surface has some protection on it. I would say it is "smooth" more than "supple," and is really beautiful at this point, being new. Their website was a little confusing to me, says it's fully aniline but then also said something about being protected in the next sentence. I've emailed them but not heard back yet.
My question is, should I apply some kind of protector while it's new? What type of conditioner to use? Do either of the ones you mentioned have UV protection? My chair is near a window that faces onto a narrow porch, so the light isn't direct but it gets a good bit of morning light regardless. I seem to have a track record of, the more I try to take perfect care of something, the more damage I do to it! I don't want to damage my new furniture, which makes me hesitant to do anything. But I know leather does need some treatment from time to time. Any advice for me? Thanks.
In reply to an earlier post on Jan 6, 2013 8:25:10 AM PST
I used Leather Honey on a leather couch that turned out to be coated, and like another reviewer noted about their car leather, it didn't soak in and wasn't a great experience. I had thought of trying a small area but didn't. I should have. This wasn't a Leather Honey problem: other treatments also didn't soak in. They were just easier to clean off. My recommendation for you is a third product, 303 Aerospace Protectant. I have used a lot of it in a lot of ways, and it is a surface treatment and UV protectant. Stunningly good stuff and my "go to" product for anything with plastic or plasticizers (such as leather treatments). Water based and non-toxic. The key to 303 is that after you spray it on, you have to wipe it dry. By the way, 303 does work on smooth untreated leather quite well, but it doesn't restore oils, and the UV protection is unsurpassed.
In reply to an earlier post on Jan 6, 2013 8:30:42 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Jan 7, 2013 12:02:50 PM PST
Derek, I think any good leather cleaner is a good first step; I haven't seen a lot of differences among the ones I use. They remove dirt and some oils, so the key is what you use to get the oils back. For your boots, my first thought is Bick, because it does less than Leather Honey, and you're pretty happy with what they are like now. You might like what Leather Honey does, though, so a more involved recommendation is to get some and try it on something less precious like an old belt to get a feel for what it does.
In reply to an earlier post on Jan 6, 2013 2:46:19 PM PST
a viewer says:
Thanks, L in L.
Leather Italia replied to my email, and my furniture has been topcoated with a dye/protectant. She said the only care needed was dusting with a dry cloth or swiffer, and perhaps an occasional wipe with a barely damp cloth. Said spills should wipe off with a cloth. She said it should never need any treatment unless in a very dry environment. Then she recommended the Leathermaster brand. She said the leather is very durable and doesn't require special care. ??
In reply to an earlier post on Jan 7, 2013 9:03:09 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Jan 7, 2013 12:01:24 PM PST
I understand that a surprising amount of leather is coated with polyurethane, which makes it spill resistant and durable. It is likely your couch is. People don't realize how prone to staining leather actually is. Naturally, manufacturers are reluctant to make it known how much leather is plastic coated. (I have no connection with the leather industry in any way, so have no vested interest.) Try putting a single drop of water in an unobtrusive spot. If the water doesn't soak in within a minute, you're actually seeing plastic. (Every American car's leather and that of most European cars, for example, is coated with plastic.) Then 303 is the call. If you are seeing it soak in, then you can treat the whole thing with Leather Honey (if you try it first to see if there is color change that bothers you.) Any time you see a product that says "works on leather or vinyl" (as the Leather Master products for upholstery and car interiors do) then you know that it is intended for coated leather. I avoid anything that says it works on both, because I think that a product optimized for whichever one is the right call.