The family Bible's leather cover is smoothed paper-thin by generations of use. A pair of cowboy boots slouch beside a trunk in the attic. A catcher's mitt dangles from a hook at the back of a closet. In their natural state, these leather pieces should retain their supple beauty for many years. However, according to Country Home magazine, leather that has been havily used, neglected or mistreated may require special attention.

Because leather readily absorbs moisture, wiping it clean with a wet rag only invites attack by mold and bacteria. Instead, try using a soft brush to sweep away dust. Loosen ground dirt with an artist's eraser, which are sold at office or art supply stores. Massage saddle soap into leather surfaces with a damp cloth, let dry and then gently buff with a soft cloth.