Product Care

Leather Care
jewelry care
apparel care

leather care & maintenance

Here at Sseko, we’ve searched the continent of Africa for the finest leathers to make our beautiful products. By properly maintaining and caring for your leather products, you can ensure your favorite Sseko goods will stay beautiful for years to come!

We Use 5 Main Types of Leather Here at Sseko
OIL TANNED LEATHER:

Rugged oil-tanned leather. Slightly shiny.

SHEEPSKIN:

Butter-soft genuine sheepskin leather.

PEBBLED:

Cowskin leather that has been embossed with a milled roller giving it a pebbled texture.

METALLIC:

Cowskin leather that has been embossed with a milled roller giving it a pebbled texture + a foiled metallic finish.

hair on hide:

Short-hair cowhide leather with a hand-stenciled and painted leopard print motif.

LEATHER PROTECTANT:

First off, you should protect your leather products. We sell a leather protectant on our site that we highly recommend. We’ve tested it on each type of leather we use and it passes the test! You should apply this protectant at least every 6 months—more if you use the bags/shoes frequently.

OIL TANNED, PEBBLED & SHEEPSKIN LEATHER CARE:
  • To clean simply wipe it with a soft damp cloth. Water can damage/dry out leather over time, to ensure the cloth is damp, not wet.
  • For stubborn marks or dirt, use a leather cleaner suitable for bags. The cleaner should be pH balanced as acidic or alkaline products may react with the chemicals in the finish. Do not use baby wipes or alcohol to clean the bag and avoid greasy products that could clog the leather’s pores.
  • For general maintenance, dust the bag with a soft, dry cloth. Use a white cloth to prevent color transfer and try not to dampen or wet the leather as water causes stains and warping. If the bag has a stain that sits on the surface of the leather, brush it off with a soft-bristle nylon brush. Brushing the bag cleans it and refreshes the nap. Take care not to brush too hard and damage the leather.
  • Note: be very careful with cleaning the metallic and sheepskin leathers, test a small spot first
HAIR ON HIDE leather care:
  • Use a soft/fine bristled brush to brush away the dirt and dust. Wipe with a damp cloth the direction of the hair.
CONDITIONING YOUR LEATHER GOODS:
  • If a leather bag shows signs of drying and cracking, seek assistance from a leather care professional. But before that happens, invest in a leather conditioner! Since leather is porous, it loses moisture through evaporation. Use a conditioner once a month to keep your goods looking their best. Wipe excess product and allow the bag to air dry completely before storing it.
  • You can apply a water and stain repellent product after conditioning. These come in a direct application or spray types. Follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for these products to avoid leather discoloration or damage. Application-type products last longer than spray products. If you choose a spray product, remember to reapply it regularly. Bear in mind that this provides some protection, but does not make the leather completely waterproof.
DEALING WITH SPILLS AND STAINS:
  • If your leather bag gets wet, do not use a hair dryer or other heat source to dry it. Carefully wipe away excess moisture and allow the bag to air dry. If you apply heat, the leather tends to warp. For stubborn stains, try rubbing the spot with a white eraser, but be gentle and check whether it aggravates the problem before rubbing the entire area. Soak up oil spills with cornstarch. Apply the dust to the area and let it sit overnight. Dust it off the next day.
  • Deal with stains as quickly as possible so they do not have time to harden or stain the leather. If necessary, seek professional assistance.
STORING YOUR LEATHER GOODS:
  • When storing your bag, insect activity, moisture, and warping are its three biggest enemies.
  • If possible, store it in a dust bag. You can always substitute a soft cotton pillowcase. Do not wrap a leather bag in plastic, as it requires ventilation to prevent mold. Store it in a cool, dry place with good air ventilation. Unwrap it every few weeks to check for mold and allow it to breathe.

jewelry care & maintenance

Your Sseko Jewelry has been made from the finest materials around! Because your jewelry is such a great investment, we want to help you care for your pieces long-term. By following these tips, you will be wearing your Sseko jewelry for years to come.


storage & preservation
GOLD AND SILVER-TONE FINISHED BRASS
Gold-tone plating on brass will eventually wear over time to a rose gold patina. With proper care, your piece can maintain the original finish for longer! The following are steps to care for your jewelry:
  • Avoid wearing in excessive heat or humid conditions
  • Avoid contact with water and/or sweat
  • Avoid exposure to perfumes, lotions and household cleaning products
  • Store in a dry space, in plastic or a cloth bag
  • After wear, use a soft cloth or cotton ball to gently rub off oils, dust or dirt collected from the day
Raffia Jewelry (Holiday 2019):
 Due to the natural palm material of raffia, bending and fraying may occur, especially during shipment. Simply fluff to return to its original state!
Brass & Gold:
  • Don’t wear your metal jewelry in the shower or swimming. Water can be very harsh on metals.
  • Avoid storing brass and gold-plated jewelry in the bathroom or humid environments. Humidity is very bad for metals and will cause them to tarnish.
  • To store your metal jewelry, wrap each piece in soft fabric and store in an airtight bag. Try to store each piece separately so that different materials don’t scratch one another.
Bone & Cow Horn:
  • Jewelry made out of bone materials is extremely durable and require little effort in caring for them.
  • Even with bone, still, avoid wearing when swimming or showering, and storing in humid environments.
  • Try to store these pieces in a dry, cool area, avoiding exposure to direct sunlight or harsh heat. Keep separate from your other jewelry and in a cloth bag to prevent scratching.
The Suede Brave Necklace:
  • Because of the suede chain, this necklace is special. Try to avoid storing it in an airtight container, like you would other jewelry with brass. This can prevent air circulation and can ruin the suede over time.
  • Store this necklace in a cloth bag, keeping each piece of jewelry separate.
Paper Beads:
  • Remember that the shellac on our beads is water resistant, NOT waterproof.
  • Take these pieces off before swimming or showering.

CLEANING YOUR JEWELRY:

When your jewelry starts to look tarnished or dusty, we suggest cleaning it to keep it looking fresh!

GOLD AND SILVER-TONE FINISHED BRASS:
  • After wear use soft cloth or cotton ball to gently rub off oils, dust or dirt collected from the day.
Brass & Gold:
  • We suggest using either a non-abrasive jewelry cleaner or mild soap and water on your metal jewelry. Always make sure to wipe off with water and dry your jewelry completely after cleaning.
  • Do not use any products that contain alcohol, this can ruin the finish.
  • If your jewelry is really tarnished, you can use a mix of baking soda, lemon juice, and water. Scrub it on with a soft cloth or toothbrush, wipe off, and dry.
  • After cleaning, you can buff your jewelry with a soft cloth to give it a nice finish.
Bone & Cow Horn:
  • Wipe your bone jewelry off with a soft, dry cloth.
  • Avoid dipping or drenching them in liquids.
  • If you want to keep the coloring looking fresh, you can wipe a little coconut oil on them.
  • Glass & Other Beads:
  • Simply wipe off with a damp cloth and a little bit of soap.
Paper Beads:
  • To clean paper beads, simply wipe off dust and dirt with a damp cloth.

If you have any confusion on what materials are contained in each product or how to clean and store multiple-material products, feel free to contact customer care at [email protected]!

apparel care

Tips to Make Your Clothes Last Longer

Congrats on investing in your fair trade apparel piece from Sseko Designs. The next step in building and maintaining a responsible wardrobe is knowing how to care for your purchase. While you should always check the instructions on the tag, these are some general techniques we practice to keep our artisanal pieces looking fresh and new for longer. We hope you’ll find that being a little more careful in the way you care for your clothing will get you months of extra wear out of each piece!

1. Avoid Detergents with Enzymes
Enzymes (ingredients typically ending in -ase) in detergents work to lift hard to remove stains out of clothes. Unfortunately, when they are used on artisanal block and screen prints, they lift the color off the garment, causing extreme fading. Non-Enzyme, Non-Bio detergents do not contain these harsh enzymes. Care for your hand-block and -screen printed apparel, your skin, and the environment by switching to a non-enzyme detergent!
2. Wash Less

The washing process is tough on clothes. Agitating, tumbling, and coming in contact with other garments can leave garments faded, stretched, pilling, and damaged. Unless your piece is visibly dirty, you likely don’t need to wash it after each wearing. Try to extend washing to every other wear, or even three wears, before you toss your washer-safe garments in the laundry.

3. Treat Stains Separately
Keeping a stain removal pen in your handbag will allow you to tend to stains as they happen and potentially avoid an unnecessary wash cycle!
4. Wash Clothes Inside Out
Darker material can become faded in the wash, particularly as it rubs up against other garments. Artisanal printing techniques (such as block- and screen-printing) applied to the outside of apparel can also fade with repeated abrasion in the wash. Washing inside out will provide more protection and prevent your solids and prints from losing their color.
5. Use a Delicates Bag
Invest in a few delicates bags that will help preserve the lifespan of your delicate pieces by preventing abrasion and snagging, a particular concern for hand-loomed apparel or gentle fabrics like chiffon.
6. Use a Clothesline or Drying Rack
Every machine is different. Even for dryer-safe apparel pieces, using a clothesline or drying rack will avoid overheating and potential shrinking garments in the dryer. This is particularly relevant for apparel with spandex, as heat is known to break down the elasticity in garments, causing unwanted stretching.