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Canned shaving cream is great for cleaning leather…convenient and already a lather..
Canned shaving cream is not really a good cleaning product for leather. It contains chemicals that dry out the leather and can often leave a waxy, gummy coating on top.
Shaving cream is specifically made with stearic acid to soften hair and provide a smooth shaving surface. In simple terms stearic acid is a wax, a wax mixed with soap. This waxy stearic acid will remain on the boot unless it is removed immediately (while the solution is still wet) with hot water. Laureth-23, a solvent, binds all the ingredients together in a solution. Laereth-23 dries out leather. To recap: Shaving cream dries out the leather and then often leaves a waxy coating on top.
Factory new boots are covered with a special coating that requires vigorous scrubbing and/or stripping with highly volatile solvents (acetone, mineral spirits etc) to remove before polishing.
Some factory new boots have an extremely light finish, usually a spray on silicone mist, to help protect from dust and surface scratching during shipment and to give a appealing glow when on the sales shelf. Seldom does this protective finish itself flake or peel as it is so lightly applied. Wax polish applied directly to this light covering might not adhere well and could result in light flaking of the newly applied wax and/or a dull finish.
This factory finish will usually wear off naturally after wearing the boots a few times. A standard cleaning with quality leather soap of choice will also remove this finish. If you are unsure if you have been successful in removing the finish, a gentle wipe with a cloth dampened with isopropyl alcohol will suffice. There is no need to use highly volatile solvents and/or to scrape or harshly brush to remove this finish.
Some bootblacks swear that the wintergreen oil in Isopropyl Alcohol with Wintergreen keeps the leather from drying out as badly as regular isopropyl alcohol.
Wintergreen Oil (methyl salicylate) accounts for only .4% of the compound, regardless of the concentration of the isopropanol. Wintergreen oil is a good analgesic and muscle relaxant (methyl salicylate is the chemical compound upon which all aspirin is based) but it actually dries out skin and leather. Conclusion: The word 'oil' does not always mean a lubricative conditioning substance.
Heat an oiled boot in a low temperature oven or with a hair dryer. The heat will open the pores of the leather so the oil can soak in better.
Pores are nothing more than tiny openings in the skin. They don't have muscles, and that means they can't open or close. Besides, we’re talking about dead skin here.
After applying wax polish use a hair dryer to open up the pores of the leather and to heat the polish so it will soak into the now open pours.
TRUE AND BOOTED
This is correct in that the heat will soften the polish and allow it to get into the pores, cracks and crevices in the leather better. But, the heat does not change the size of the pores. Pores are nothing more than tiny openings in the skin. They don't have muscles, and that means they can't open or close. Besides, we’re talking about dead skin here.