Store your harness in a cool, dry place, out of direct sunlight. Hanging it up is ideal. Be wary of things that might scratch the surface of the leather.
I understand the temptation to take it off and absently toss it off the bed at the end of a fun night, but the absolute worst way to store your harness is in a moist pile on the floor. Leather is an organic material and as such it can become home to mold, and moisture will encourage tarnishing in the hardware. If you don’t wanna wash it til tomorrow (no shade), at least throw it on a hanger or over the back of a chair so it can breathe.
cleaning your harness
Listen, I don’t want to be responsible for anyone’s UTI. If you partake in extracurricular activities in your harness, you’re gonna wanna clean it every now and then. I don’t give my harnesses a full scrub down every time I wear them (nor do I recommend doing that), but I like to hit the straps that sit in my inner thighs and armpits very regularly.
-a sponge or cloth
-isopropyl alcohol in a spray bottle (optional)
-a bristle brush
Oh hey, you can buy a cleaning kit right here!
how to do the damn thing
- Lightly rub a wet sponge over the surface of the saddle soap to create a lather and rub said lather into the leather. Feel free to use the bristle brush to get into the rivets and cervices. Then rinse and squeeze out the sponge, and use to wipe away the lather. You don’t have to rinse the saddle soap off.
- OPTIONAL! To disinfect your harness*, hang it up while still wet and give it a generous misting with isopropyl alcohol.
- Let it dry fully. Give it a quick pat down with a towel, then hang it in a place with good ventilation. Don’t put it near a heating source.
- Condition it. Leather is skin, and much like our own epidermis, it requires a certain amount of oil to stay soft and supple. Our magical bodies can generally produce these oils themselves, but our leather goods require some assistance, so massage some leather conditioner into your harness after every cleaning. Don’t even think about skipping this step, especially if you used alcohol on it (that shit really dries it out).
- After the conditioner absorbs, you may notice a white film left on the leather. This is good thing: it means the leather has absorbed all the oils it needs. Go ahead and buff the film off with the (clean and dry) bristle brush.
*You can't truly, fully disinfect leather–it's a porous material, there's just no way around it– but this will get you most of the way there. If you wanna go a more ~natural~ route, you can add a few drops of tea tree oil to the saddle soap in lieu of alcohol.
There are a million different methods for cleaning leather. After trying several of them, this is my go-to. If you have a method or trick you swear by, I'd love to hear about it!
pvc (vegan leather)
This is a walk in the park compared to real leather. You just need dish soap and water, baby. You can fully submerge these, but make sure to let them dry well so that the hardware doesn't tarnish.
The solid brass will absolutely tarnish with wear, but a quick hit with some polish easily brings it back to its original luster. I recommend Twinkle. For the stainless steel, I recommend Simichrome or good old fashioned white vinegar. If you want to stay out of Bezos's pocket, you can get metal polishes at any hardware store.