Maintenance Of Fine Gunleather

Maintenance Of Fine Gunleather

Being a sixgunner, and not having a job that prohibits it, I am blessed to be able to carry a sixgun most of the time.  With that, comes a choice of which holster.   Having started with automatics, and trying various types of holsters before carrying a single action daily, I had a good idea of what to look for in a holster.  It didn’t take me long to find what I was looking for, a holster from Rob Leahy at Simply Rugged Holsters.  I chose the Sourdough Pancake.

Being a carpenter, and always having some chores on the farm to tend to, a holster gets its fair share of bumps and scrapes;  Not to mention it gets a mite dirty.    I’ve given my holster and cartridge pouch this treatment a dozen times or so over the course of the 2 years I’ve worn them together.   It refreshes the leather, and offers protection from dirt, sweat, and light abrasion.

To follow my method, you only need some basic supplies:

  • Clean Rags
  • Pistol Cleaning Rod With Slotted Tip
  • Old Toothbrush
  • Shoeshine Brush
  • Paste Wax

Lets Get Started

Look at that dust and dirt!   If your holster is much dirtier than mine, you may want to use a little dish soap and scrub with your toothbrush to get all the nooks and crannies clean.  Using soap you would want to have just the bare minimum on the toothbrush with enough water to get a good lather.  A little goes a long ways when working with leather.  Work that in a circular motion and wipe with a dry cloth to remove all the moisture you can.  I chose to only dry brush mine clean this time.

Before cleaning.
The back was much worse than the front.
Look at all that dust!

Remove as much of the dirt as you can using a clean rag and a toothbrush.    I get inside the holster using a rag on a pistol cleaning rod, and I work the toothbrush into the seams inside and out.   Don’t forget to scrub that border stamping!

Getting the border stamping brings back much of the detail that gets filled in with dirt.
A soft cloth does most of the work.
My homemade pistol cleaning rod and a brass patch loop make short work of the inside. I also use the toothbrush inside on the seams.
Wow that’s a big improvement!

Don’t neglect the cartridge carrier or belt slide if you carry one (you should carry a reload).  Remove any verdigris the best you can by scraping it with a dull screwdriver blade or skewer.  This is a DeSantis 3×3 44 special / magnum carrier.   It’s in pretty worn condition, and the flap has taken a set from riding under my belt buckle protector.

My DeSantis 3×3 has seen better days.
Verdigris from carrying brass cased ammo is hard to remove. You can pick much of it out with a blunt tool.


Once you remove all the dirt and grime, apply a liberal coat of paste wax using a clean cloth.   I like Johnson’s brand.

Leatherman original to the rescue.
Here you can see I have applied the wax to the top half of the holster.

Let it dry to a haze, then buff it with a shoeshine brush to a beautiful sheen!

Dried and ready to buff.
Buffed to a fine sheen.
The back cleaned up nice.
Even my cartridge pouch looks happier.


I like to take my grips off and coat the inside of the grip panels and the corresponding grip frame as well.  This keeps sweat from wicking its way under the grips and soaking into the grips, or worse, rusting the gun.

A crucial step.
Ready to ride!

Ready to go back on the belt where she belongs!  I’ve carried this holsters nearly constantly for 2 years.  It has held up better than I expected it would considering the abuse it’s seen.  I’ve rolled on the ground under my buddy’s truck, been caught out in the pouring rain, and generally just neglected it.  It still retains its shape and protects my 44 just like it was intended to do.  I highly recommend you check out Simply Rugged holsters, I am sure you’ll be as satisfied as I am.