17 November 2022

Conditioning and caring for leather.

I was searching through some old posts on a Facebook Group recently. A little nostalgic may be, but in the last 10-12 years one question comes up with surprising regularity. 

'What do people use to condition their leather organisers?' 

I personally always recommend using products that are specifically 'leather care' products, I prefer ones that contain beeswax. I have a couple of branded products that I occasionally use, but not excessively. There is no need in my experience to treat the leather more than say once every 3 or 4 years, assuming your organiser isn't handled too heavily. 

One product that came up repeatedly in the conversations was the use of Nivea hand cream. This seemed very prevalent around about 2013. But I would add a note of caution here about using it. There are at least two different formulas for Nivea. Initially it seems to work well on leather, but in a few instances people reported issues with a sticky residue and mould growing on the surface of the leather. 

This of course could be due to applying excessive amounts of the hand cream, or not removing it sufficiently after a short 'soaking in period' 

Janet has done some research on the product: Nivea Creme.

Filofax give the following advice:

Leather is a natural material and there may sometimes be textural or shading variations within the surface. These are natural characteristics and representative of the leather’s unique, individual beauty and proof of its genuine origin. It is recommended, however, that you avoid exposing your leather organiser to harsh elements such as moisture, bright light or direct heat.

In the event that your organiser becomes soiled or dirty the following care guidelines may be helpful:

  • Light scratches to waxy leather can be removed by rubbing softly with a clean finger
  • Smooth, porous leather can be treated with good quality, neutral coloured leather cream (subject to manufacturer’s instructions)
  • Textured or coated leathers can be wiped clean using a lightly damp cloth
  • Suede is treated with a dirt resistant finish and a dry brush or cloth should be used to remove dirt or stains
  • Fabrics can generally be cleaned by using a damp cloth
  • Smudges on badges, metal edges or poppers can be gently buffed with
  • a soft dry cloth
Expanding on the advice above. For fabrics I have found foam cleaners recommended for cleaning carpets without using water are very good for removing dirt and grime from fabric covers. 

Here are some products that come recommended for leather care:

Wheelers Natural Beeswax Leather Balm - I've been using this myself for the last 18 months or so. That is my bottle of it pictured above, as you can see you don't use a lot of it in that amount of time, so  a bottle will last some considerable time. 

Collonil Leather Gel for waterproofing leather as recommended by Mulberry

Saphir Universal Creme - highly recommended by Janet Carr for caring for leather hand bags and organisers.

There is an excellent page on Leather and Leather Care here.

What ever you prefer to use, because our opinions will just be one of the many you will find on the internet! TEST any products first in a small hidden area of the leather to ensure there isn't going to be any major altering of the colour of the leather or darkening of the leather. 

If you have a leather sample of the same leather as your organiser (Van der Spek, Gillio etc) then test any products on the leather sample first. Photograph the sample before and after treatment so you can see the difference. Leave the sample for a day or two before deciding to treat your actual organiser. 

Looked after and with care leather organisers will last a very long time in normal every day use. Check them once every six months even when stored. Check the metal work for any sign of rust and treat it early before it gets too advanced. 

May your organisers live a long and productive life!


  1. I use dubbin on my leather organisers, so far I've never had any problems.
    My reasoning for trying it in the first place was, it works well at looking after my boots and shoes, and they're leather.

  2. Renapur Leather Balsam is great for reviving leather. I also found that it made the colours more vibrant on old coloured Filofaxes that had a faded, dusty look.

  3. Thanks for a great post, Steve.
    I am currently using Lord Sheraton leather balsam, but think that I'll change over to Wheelers once that's finished.

  4. There's a leather conditioner called Bick 4 that I use on my shoes, and it works just as well on leather binders.