PH Level & Its Place in Leather Care
PH, short for potential of hydrogen, is a chemistry term that describes the acidity or basicity of a water-soluble substance, a logarithmic scale typically between 0 to 14. A very strong acid, like battery acid, would have a PH level of 0 while a very strong base, for example, drain cleaner, would have a PH level of around 14.
How the PH level of a leather cleaner factors into the care of leather is debatable, but the general consensus is to match the PH level of a cleaning product to the PH level of what is being cleaned as closely as possible. A neutral PH, like commonly found in water, is 7. Leather, like skin, has a slightly acidic PH level of around 5, so authorities on leather care often caution lay people against using products that are alkaline, like regular soap or harsh detergents. This makes sense, but it is very difficult for a cleaning solution that has a PH of around 5. Often there is a tradeoff between matching the PH to the product being cleaned and how effective the cleaning product is.
Other authorities contend that matching the PH of the cleaning product to the leather is not very important because only the top layer of the leather is being cleaned and cleaners don’t typically penetrate the deeper layers of the material unless the leather is very distressed or porous.
At Krystal Kwik Care, we don't take a position on the absolutely best PH factor for your leather care. Although leather is more on the acidic side of the scale, either extreme could be detrimental, so we aim to formulate the PH levels of our cleaning solutions between 5 and 8 since a neutral PH is at level 7. The leather balm is made of oils and waxes which don't have PH levels as they are not water soluble.