Is Leather Waterproof?

Owning a real leather product can be a big responsibility, but good maintenance will help guarantee a greater longevity. And while Mancini leather products are robust and great for everyday travelling, people often wonder (on account of our crazy Canadian weather): “Is leather waterproof?”

It turns out that both genuine and faux leather are not completely waterproof, so they do require additional protection. If you’re considering switching to real leather products that last, or if you’ve received a leather gift and don’t know how to take care of it, MANCINI can help. 


The Difference Between Water-Resistant and Waterproof

Many people confuse these two terms, so don’t feel bad. 

Water-resistant means that it can endure a certain amount of exposure to water, but that doesn’t mean it won’t be affected in some way. 

Waterproof means that water cannot affect the state of something at all. It is completely protected against water. 

Chrome-tanned leather is a good example of water-resistant leather since its tanning process involves chromium salts, which give it a protective layer. Full grain and top grain leather are also pretty durable against water since they are derived from the hardest parts of the hide. But while these types of leather are water-resistant, they still require protection. 

What Happens to Leather When Wet?

When water comes into contact with genuine leather, it removes the leather’s natural oils as it dries. The loss of oil means it transforms from a soft and supple material into a brittle one. Water causes cracking and moisture, which leads to the leather breakdown over time. 

To avoid this issue, it’s best to always protect your rolling leather laptop bag and other products. 


Treatments to Enhance Leather’s Water-Resistance

Waxing and conditioning will provide the best protection for your nubuck leather wallet or vegetable-tanned messenger bag. Some leathers like suede, however, do not need waxing or conditioning. 


Make sure that the wax you use indicates that it’s made for your type of leather. It’s usually good practice to test out the wax in an inconspicuous area before moving on to the entire item. Keep in mind the type of cloth you use as well. A white one is best to avoid colour transference. Additionally, avoid storing your leather products in direct sunlight, since it will fade the leather’s colour over time.

The waxing treatment:

  1. Clean the leather.
  2. Place a small amount on a dry cloth and warm it up by rubbing the cloth together.
  3. Apply the cloth to the leather, spreading evenly.
  4. Let the leather dry in a cool and shaded area for an hour.
  5. Remove any excess wax with another cloth to buff up the leather’s appearance.

Waxing should only be done on a monthly basis since it creates a protective layer. 


Conditioning prevents cracking and should be applied to the leather more often than wax. Remember to use white cloths. Never place leather in direct sunlight, otherwise the colour will fade.

The conditioning treatment: 

  1. Clean the leather and dampen it either with a spray or a cloth.
  2. Spread the conditioner on the leather, massaging with your fingertips or a dry cloth.
  3. Wipe away any excess. Over conditioning will make the leather too soft and affect its durability.
  4. Place the leather in a cool and shaded area to dry.

Brands like Moneysworth & Best carry trusted products to increase the water resistance of your beloved leather items. 


Other Tricks

Keep in mind that these tricks don’t waterproof leather, but they do protect it. You can find transparent bags and covers that protect your bag from the rain. There are also transparent ponchos and raincoats you can wear over your prized leather jacket. 

Shop for MANCINI Leather Products

Sure, synthetic leather and faux leather are cheap and water-resistant, but even if you take care of them, the odds are that you will need to replace the item within two years. 

Maybe the zippers break, or the lining becomes completely shredding. Either way, it’s worth your time and energy to use waterproofing methods on real leather items instead since they will last for decades. 

Whether you’re looking for top grain leather bags or a full grain leather briefcase, remember the MANCINI name. 

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