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Thread: PH Neutralization or Balancing

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2017

    Default PH Neutralization or Balancing

    Hi there,
    I have a question about PH neutralization system. I bought a vintage Louis Vuitton bag and cleaned it with KIWI Saddle Soap and proceeded to condition it with Apple Care Conditioner. I was able to find out the PH on the Conditioner - 4.5, but I was not able to find out what the PH is for the Saddle Soap. I read an article that said that most Saddle Soaps would have 10 PH or higher, which would make sense to me because the outcome was dryness and cracking of the vachetta. So my question is should I play it safe and go ahead with the pH Neutralization and Balancing process (VachettoPro-1.2 - Acidifier-2.0) to bring back the pH chemistry integrity of the leather? If so, since the leather already showing sings of cracking, should I rejuvenate it first using the Hydrator-3.3 -- Fatliquor-5.0 --Hydrator-3.3 system and for how long should the initial system be applied for? I understand that you would like the fat and oil moisture level to be around 15% - but I have no way to test this because investing in a moisture meter is too costly for me. Therefore how can tell without the meter that the leather is moist enough and is ready for cleaning?
    Thanks so much in advance!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Greater Vancouver, Canada.


    >>> I read an article that said that most Saddle Soaps would have 10 PH or higher, which would make sense to me because the outcome was dryness and cracking of the vachetta.

    Saddle soap was originally used in an outdated tannery fatliquoring system. Not being used today. It cannot be used alone because of its high pH value. Average chrome-tanned leathers are about pH 3 - 4, naked vachetta leather from vegetable tanning agents has a lower pH value, and thus clear evident of damages like dryness, cracking and darkening effect is quite obvious. Besides it damaging pH value of about 10, it has the residual soap scum that will attract soiling like magnets.

    >>> So my question is should I play it safe and go ahead with the pH Neutralization and Balancing process (VachettoPro-1.2 - Acidifier-2.0) to bring back the pH chemistry integrity of the leather?

    Yes, the products suffix mentioned 1.2 and 2.0 denotes the pH value of these products for an effective pH balancing it back the vachetta leather pH neutral of 2 - 4.

    >>> If so, since the leather already showing sings of cracking, should I rejuvenate it first using the Hydrator-3.3 -- Fatliquor-5.0 --Hydrator-3.3 system and for how long should the initial system be applied for?

    No, you save a drying cycle and also put the sequence not correctly, it should be: VachettaPro-1.2 > Acidifier-2.0 > Hydrator-3.3 > Fatliquor-5.0 > Hydrator-3.3. This continuous sequence is the ‘wet operational process’. The leather is not allowed to let dry to 100% during this process only after Fatliquor-5.0. The first three processes should be about 25% moisture level or wipe from wet until the towel shows dry and continue.

    >>> I understand that you would like the fat and oil moisture level to be around 15% - but I have no way to test this because investing in a moisture meter is too costly for me. Therefore how can tell without the meter that the leather is moist enough and is ready for cleaning?

    Practice the combination process mentioned above, you save one drying cycle. During the Fatliquor-5.0 application, as soon as you see that the fatliquor has been absorbed by the leather structure - the water encasing fat and oil will break free and release clear to the surface. You may used a towel and wipe this clear water, it also could bring up some suspended soiling as well. Continue each application until the last application, when the fatliquor just pool on the surface. When it is dry a sheen may appear on the leather surface, and this indicates excess and the leather is full. Any surface shine is wipe away and Hydrator-3.3 is used to disperse it with the help of the leatherBrush-1 until the milky solution becomes clear. When you practice by eye observation you may not need a moisture meter at all.

    When comes to vachetta leather conditioning differentiate between conditioner for below surface (Hydrator-3.3 > Fatliquor-5.0 > Hydrator-3.3 system to prevent leather from cracking and also Protector-D to seal and conceal minor scuffs that also allows the this unfinished leather to breathe.

    Read more details from this Kit-V4

    Name:  Kit-V4.JPG
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    Leather Doctor® Kit-V4: Vachetta Leather Browning/Oil/Grease/Sweat Removal Kit incorporates the Degreaser-2.2 and Eraser-4 essential for the removal of common body oil, grease and sweat problems especially to the handles degrading from browning to darkening and eventual cracking. The main culprit is also the sweat that eventually cracks the leather sooner or later and routine care with rinsing using Rinse-3.0 helps pH neutralize the sweat, Sanitizer-3.9 has with a dual function for both pH neutralizing and sanitizing from off-gassing bacteria activities would be a better choice. Darkening appearance from body contact and browning from liquid stain are two main inevitable common problems associated with naked unfinished vachetta leathers. Leather being absorbent absorb and accumulates body moisture from contact and when neglected resulted in a darkening appearance. Besides appearance the sweat with traces of urea may cause the protein fiber from shifting ionic negative (-ve) manifesting as tackiness and reverting to rawhide. Degreaser-2.2 solves the darkening effect by penetrating, lubricating and suspending the soiling particulates and simultaneously protonate the protein fiber ionic positive (+ve). The amphoteric protein fiber is further rinse and ionic positive (+ve) charge with Acidifier-2.0 to strengthen the ionic attraction between its other non-amphoteric ionic negative (-ve) leather constituents like the tanning agent and the fatliquor. This dual duty removes the unwanted soiling particulates and pH balance the pH chemistry integrity of the leather at the same time. Vachetta Leather Browning, blotchiness or discoloration is associated with general accumulation of liquid soiling and will require VachettaPro-1.2 > Acidifier-2.0 system to remove and also to pH balance alkaline over-exposure that cause the browning discoloration. Alkaline pH sensitive Vachetta leathers when neglected often suffer unsightly browning stain marks from a variety of liquid sources. Even apparent clean rain or tap water often leaves a lightening spot with an outer ring. The pH 7 alone of water will often cause a rippling effect on the tannin that destabilize and causes it to moves. The higher the pH value above water the darker the browning stain becomes. Browning correction is performed in two stages, a pre-cleaning and a post-treatment. Pre-cleaning soiling removal in combination with pH balancing the leather structure improves appearance and returns the pH chemistry integrity to its original pH neutral of between 3 and 5. When pre-cleaning becomes satisfactorily it is essential that leather rejuvenating continue while the leather is about 25% combine moisture level or terry towel extract until the towel shows dry. The reason being that when leather is wet and dry without sufficient fatliquor it will shrink and in extreme cases cracks when dry with insufficient fatliquor. A 15% of fat and oil moisture read with a leather moisture meter or equivalent when perfectly dry without the water content is a healthy leather and would never crack. Leather rejuvenating with Hydrator-3.3 > Fatliquor-5.0 > Hydrator-3.3 is a 1st-step hydrating the leather structure of stiffness and separates any stick together leather fibrils free or preconditioning it prior to the 2nd-step of fatliquor replenishing it. 5/6 of the fatliquor water contents will evaporates and only leaves 1/6 of the remaining fat and oil, the fat plumps the leather with fullness and the oil lubricates the fibrils like millions of interlocking hinges for sliding over one another for suppleness with softness and tensile-strength from breaking. A fully saturated fat and oil with breathing pores makes the natural leather less absorbent to any liquid ingress. The 3rd-step is to remove any fatliquor fat and oil remnants that turns milky again from the leather surface with Hydrator-3.3, and preferably to move it into the leather instead with the horsehair Brush-1. A slow drying will produce a softer leather and flexing or massaging it while almost dry also helps in extra desired suppleness. The leather is scrutinized once again when dry for discoloration or undesired sun-tanning or ageing effect. It is then rejuvenated with a redox (reduction-oxidation) treatment using Vachetta-2.8. It is applied, brush and towel extract until towel shows clean. The final treatment is to even out and let to dry naturally for the product to take effect. Any powdery residue is wiped off with Hydrator-3.3 and let slow dry again. Protector-D enhances a rub resistant draggy-feel against friction rubs and is use routinely to conceal and fill scuffmarks. Body contact areas should be clean routinely with Clean-3.8 follows with Rinse-3.0 or Sanitizer-3.9, thereafter applied with non-stick protection and commence for another cycle of use. Darken and prolong body grease and sweat contacts will require a degreasing process with Degreaser-2.2 > Acidifier-2.0 system in most cases. Preventive cleaning and protection to shield against sticky soiling, with the abilities to heal and conceal lightening scuff and abrasion marks keeps the leather appearance level high at all times rather than relying on corrective or salvage cleaning where the cleaning appearance deteriorates and diminishes with each cycle. Note that the mentioned products suffix numbers denotes its pH value in this holistic approach to removing vegetable, plant and water stains from vachetta, saddlery and veg-tan leathers.

    Tips 1 – Cracks Control: Aged, dried or signs of leather cracking should be first leather rejuvenated with Hydrator-3.3 > Fatliquor-5.0 > Hydrator-3.3 system and let dry prior to Vachetta-2.8 treatment. This precaution is to prevent any further cracking accelerated to the leather. In other words, any leather dryness less then 7% of original fatliquor moisture content measured with a leather moisture meter or an equivalent wood moisture meter should first be rejuvenated to top up or replenish to its original fatliquor up to 15% prior to treatment with Vachetta-2.8. Due to “Van der Waal or London Forces” phenomenon in the drying process, the empty or insufficient of fatliquor in the leather fiber structure is likely to result in stiffer leather as the fibers becomes stick together. A slower natural drying will reduce the stiffness ill effect from the lack of fatliquor

    Tips 2 – Appearance Control: Water stain spotting may be done with a cotton swab until it shows clean. It is recommended that the entire panel be treated equally to an even appearance to eliminates any rings when dry thereafter. Treated panel may take up a lightening effect as it also reduces the sun tanning effect if any and recommend that the entire article be treated accordingly. Always pre-clean with VachettaPro-1.2 > Acidifier-2.0 prior to post-treatment with Vachetta-2.8 so as not to over-clean it too early.

    Tips 3 – Suppleness Control: Unlike other leather tanning type, vegetable-tanned leathers are more susceptible to cracks as it is characteristically more fatliquor thirsty. Dry leathers are handle with care for inspection and continue with rejuvenating it with Hydrator-3.3 > Fatliquor-5.0 > Hydrator-3.3 system.

    Tips 4 – Sealing and Concealing Scuffing Control: The final of the holistic Vachetta care system ends with Protector-D or the leather scented version of Protector-D+ to seal and conceal scuffing leaving the leather with its natural transpiration. For a lighter appearance "D" is recommended.


    A- Degreasing with Degreaser-2.2 > Acidifier-2.0 > Hydrator-3.3 system: A1- Dry soil removal with Eraser-4. A2- Apply Degreaser-2.2 and agitate with horsehair Brush-1 or Eraser-4 and towel extract until towel shows clean. A3- Rinse off remaining residue with Acidifier-2.0 until towel shows clean. A4- Penetrated soiling are remove with the help of Hydrator-3.3 by saturating the leather structure and cling wrapping to control evaporation for up to 72hrs with replenishing the moisture high so that lodge soiling becomes loose. Plastic wrapping is replace with Towel-5 wrapped taut and tight without airspace so that soiling will reverse-transfer to the towel during the drying process and peel off. However, if leather has already shows evident of cracking, then it is highly recommended that Fatliquor-5.0 is replenished with repeat almost drying cycle and only at the least replenishment Towel-5 is introduced for the reverse transfer. Note that when leather becomes wet and dry again it will dry stiffer without any fat and oil and may accentuate the cracking effect. Also note that to have a more supple leather it is recommended that they are gently flexed or massaged from almost dry to dry to produce a softer leather. However on a combination issue with browning discoloration issue on the same panel VachettaPro-1.2 may be inserted into the combine ‘wet’ system as Degreaser-2.2 > VachettaPro-1.2 > Acidifier-2.0 > Hydrator-3.3 > Fatliquor-5.0 > Hydrator-3.3 system before it dries follows with the final ‘dry’ treatment of Vachetta-2.8 and ends with Protector-D in Kit-V4 holistic system.

    B- Browning Discoloration Removal with VachettaPro-1.2 > Acidifier-2.0 system: B1- Dry soil removal with horsehair Brush-1: terry towel or optional Eraser-4 depending on soiling severity prior to product application. B2- Pre-cleaning with VachettaPro-1.2: spray and saturate evenly with simultaneous agitation from horsehair Brush-1 and/or optional Eraser-4 for an even appearance and towel extract until it shows clean. Another option is to use a saturate cotton swab or a terry towel to do a test cleaning until it shows clean. Extend cleaning to the entire panel without leaving any dry area until towel shows clean for an even appearance. B3- Rinsing with Acidifier-2.0: spray and agitate with horsehair Brush-1 and towel extract until it shows clean. Proceed with Hydrator-3.3 while the leather is still damp.

    C- Hydrating with Hydrator-3.3: Hydrator-3.3 is evenly applied, agitated and spread with horsehair Brush-1 or FoamBrush-3” and towel extract for an even appearance prior to Fatliquor-5.0. Proceed with Fatliquor-5.0 while the leather is still damp.

    D- Fatliquor Replenishing with Fatliquor-5.0: Fatliquor-5.0 is a continuous process that proceeds immediately after satisfactory Hydrator-3.3 appearance inspection.The process is repeated when the leather is almost dry until the leather is saturated before it is let to a slow natural drying process. It will take up a seasoning effect in relation to the amount of fatliquor intake. 15% of fat and oil moisture level without any water content is the optimum moisture level when the leather is completely dry. Fat and oil moisture content is measurable with a leather moisture meter or equivalent. Penetrated stains are further fully saturated with Hydrator-3.3 allowing for structural water movement to floats or wicks any soiling particulates to the surface. The entire surface may be cling wrapped to control evaporation keeping at the highest level of moisture content for up to 72hrs. The cling wrapper may be removed and wicks up soiling towel extracted until towel shows clean. Fresh application is applied and ‘reverse-transfer’ technique with Towel-5 replaces the cling wrapper. Air bubbles or spaces is work out taut or stretch-tight with horsehair Brush-1 and let to dry. As the surface dries and the Towel-5 shrinks it will wick all water contents bringing soiling particulates through the Towel-5. It is then peel off the surface trapping the soiling particulates.

    E- Redox (reduction-oxidation) treatment with Vachetta-2.8: Product may be adjusted with distilled water to match desired appearance. E1- This product is highly recommended to treat leather after drying from Hydrator-3.3 > Fatliquor-5.0 > Hydrator-3.3 system. E2- Shake well, spray and saturate with horsehair Brush-1 or FoamBrush-3” for an even appearance and towel extract until it shows clean. E3- Extend cleaning to the entire panel when towel shows clean for an even appearance working out line or rings to an even appearance without leaving any dry area. E4- Let natural drying and inspect result. E5- Note: In most cases the treated panels will look lighter than other untreated panels, as the product not only corrects discoloration, it also reduces any ageing or sun-tanning effect (adjustment is made by an initial test and adjust product concentration accordingly with distilled water ratio 1: 1). The entire article is therefore recommended to be treated accordingly for an overall appearance.

    F- Sealing and Concealing Light Abrasion and Scuffing with Protector-D: Protector-D is applied for sealing and concealing light abrasion and scuffing, besides shielding the leather from the detrimental effect, soiling is becomes easier to remove during the routine care.

    Roger Koh
    Leather Care System Formulator
    Consultant / Practitioner / Instructor
    Last edited by Roger Koh; 04-07-2017 at 10:46 PM.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2017


    Thank you so much Roger for clearing things out for me! I appreciate it!

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