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Apart from being eco-friendly and sustainable, fish leather is particularly solid. Through the microscope lens, your fish leather is held tight with a natural cross-fibre structure, unlike top grain cowhide, where the fibres run in one direction. As a result, fish skin is actually a bit tougher than top grain cowhide. And don’t worry about the smell – it will whiff up with the traditional olfactory perfection you can expect of any leather by the time it is out of the tannery.
Generally, a clean, dry cloth is all you need to keep it clean. If any dust builds up, brush gently with a rubber brush across the surface, in the direction of the scales. It’s important to brush in the direction of the scales for minimal abrasive damage. If there is a lot of dirt built up, you can very slightly dampen your cloth, but take care not to get it too wet. Fish, like most leathers, can be affected by water if exposed to it too much, and it will grow dry and brittle if handled carelessly.
Also on the list of things to look out for is sunlight and heat. While your fish scales should be expected to lighten in colour over time, sunlight and heat will speed up the process significantly and can completely ruin its hue, in addition to drying and making it brittle. For best fish leather care, keep it in a cool, clean location indoors with balanced humidity. A breathable case, like a wooden box or a dust bag, is ideal storage. If you notice your leather getting a bit dry, you can use leather care products for suede.
Dry the spot immediately using a power towel or other soft cloth. Blot, do not wipe, or it will smear and sink further into your fish leather. If the leather is stained, try mixing mild soap with water and applying the suds to a cloth (do not get the cloth wet) and wipe it across the stain. If grease is staining your leather, sprinkle a tiny amount of corn starch on the stain and leave it overnight. Afterwards, gently brush it off with a soft, bristled brush. The starch should absorb the grease.