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FAQ: What's the best way to clean a leather sheath?

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At the end of a hunt or a camping trip, a leather sheath is bound to be in need of cleaning. Sharpshooter Sheath Systems' Reid Hyken has produced high-quality sheaths for the likes of Bark River Knives and Benchmade, and he knows a thing or two about leather, so we decided to pick his brain for some advice.

First of all, Hyken counsels against making two common mistakes: trying to get the leather too clean and trying to dry it too fast.

"Wash it out with plain, lukewarm water -- don't use hot water and don't scrub it," he says. "Wrap it in a dry towel and put it in a warm (not hot) place to dry naturally. You might want to change the towel every so often. And don't re-sheath your knife while the leather's wet."

Hyken offers one more tip to those tempted to dry a sheath by propping it up next to a campfire or leaning it against a radiator: "Once leather is stiff and dry, its natural oils are gone for good -- it's cooked, it's poached and there's no restoring it."

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