Tuesday, October 22, 2013

How To Clean Leather & Your Hair (But not At the Same Time)

So remember this guy we brought home a couple weeks ago?

He wanted to be a stud so bad, but he needed some help.  So we stripped.  Then we sanded, and sanded, and sanded some more.  Seriously, I got the best night's sleep after sanding this guy for two hours straight one night.  Once the sanding was complete (otherwise known as when I lost use of my right arm), we stained.  He took the stain beautifully.  We sealed him up, and that's when I tackled the leather seat.

As you can see, it desperately needed to be tackled.  I waited to clean the seat until the chair was re-stained and re-sealed.  Attempting to clean the seat before the chair was refinished could have resulted in more dirt and grime from the chair being worked into the seat.  I didn't want to risk using anything on the chair besides stain while the wood was left raw and untreated after I'd stripped and sanded.  Once sealed, he's pretty much impenetrable, so bring on the cleaner! 

I snagged some of this stuff from our local AutoZone. 

The Lexol Leather Conditioner came highly recommended, but after assessing the seat situation, I wanted to grab the cleaner too just to be on the safe side.  

The whole process was relatively easy, it just took patience and extended use of my right arm again.  To start, you need 2 damp rags.  Spray the cleaner on one damp rag and work the seat into a lather.

Use your other damp cloth to wipe away the dirty excess that's worked out of the leather with the lather (say that 3 times fast).

This is where patience is key.  I probably rinsed and repeated this process close to a dozen times before I was satisfied.  I kept wiping and lathering and cleaning until my rag came up clean (or clean-ish).  

Once cleaned, I grabbed two more rags (dry this time, not damp) and went to work with the conditioner.  It's the same basic concept as the cleaner: spray the conditioner on one rag and work into the leather, let it sit for a few minutes, then use your other rag to buff and wipe off the excess.  This leather sucked up the conditioner, which yea, if you hadn't had a drink in about 100 years, you'd be pretty thirsty too.  I repeated the conditioning treatment until I finally had excess to wipe up (maybe four or five times).

Ready to see what this stud of a chair looks like now?

What a handsome chair!  I couldn't be happier with the end result.  The whole thing cleaned up beautifully; he wanted to be handsome again.  He's being delivered back to his forever home on Friday and I can't wait for the clients to see him.  For as long as they've known him, I don't think they've ever known him to look like this which is what makes this project so much fun.

Now speaking of cleaning and conditioning, this is my latest hair care regimen:

So here's the deal. My hair is stick-straight and super fine.  I enjoy having longer hair, but longer hair doesn't equate well with stick-straight and super fine.  Especially the closer we get to winter.  Every winter my hair freaks out like we haven't been through 31 winters together already; it gets all dry and staticy and clingy and limp and just ugh.  Since I have zero loyalty to any type of hair care product currently, and I was out of shampoo, I decided to go the All Natural route to try to get my hair to chill out.  

Y'all I did extensive research on this (meaning, I totally read at least three of the articles that came up on the first page of Google search results for baking soda shampoo).  I make my own laundry detergent, so why not make my own shampoo?  I even bought a special brush made of boar's hair that's supposed to stimulate my natural scalp oils and stuff.  

We'll see.  I haven't used store-bought shampoo since Saturday.  Here's what I'm currently working with:

Not terrible.  At least it doesn't look like I haven't used store-bought shampoo since Saturday.  So here's what I do:

  • I dump way to much baking soda into my palm while in the shower, and then I wet it to create a paste.
  • This is followed by lots of hair flinging and flipping and flailing in an attempt to work said baking soda paste into my scalp.  
  • I then swirl the baking soda that has spilled onto my shower floor with my foot because that's an added bonus of cleaning my shower.
  • Then I rinse the baking soda out of my hair, and apply my vinegar detangler spray that I've pre-mixed and added some Eucalyptus oil to in an attempt to avoid smelling like a salad.  
  • I let that sit for a minute or two (without getting it in my eyes because that really hurts), then rinse.
The vinegar is pretty awesome, I'm not going to lie.  My hair feels soft when I rinse it out, very similar to when you rinse out traditional conditioner.  And it brushes easily (with my boar's hair brush - sorry boars!).  This morning I applied two drops of Morrocan oil to help keep the static down, and that worked well. 

We'll see how long this lasts.  I have no follow-through when it comes to stuff like this.  This new routine requires an awful lot of thought first thing in the morning when all I want to do is reach for a bottle of Pantene and squeeze.  Now I'm making pastes and flipping my hair around.  My shower on the other hand has never looked cleaner...  

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