Caiman skin has characteristics similar to that of alligators and crocodiles, although there are some differences. It is not as pliable as alligator or crocodile, but it is generally viewed as an inferior product when compared to these prized skins. Caiman scales tend to be uneven, bonier and larger with more space between them. Caiman leather also is drier, less flexible, cracks more easily and doesn't absorb dyes as well as other crocodilian leathers. These differences require some extra attention when caring for caiman boots.
Clean Your Boots
Remove any loose dust or dirt from the boots with a soft brush or cloth. Pay particular attention to the spaces between the scales where dust can accumulate. Use a damp cloth to gently wipe down the surface of the boot. If the boot has been stained by a substance, clean with a water-based cleaner. Other types of cleaners may contain chemicals which can damage the finish or color.
Condition the Skin
While the boots are still slightly damp from cleaning, apply a conditioner made specifically for exotic reptilian leathers. These special conditioners are usually lighter than conditioners made for more common leathers. Apply multiple light coats of the conditioner, as one heavy coat may be detrimental to the leather. Caiman leather is very dry and prone to cracking between the scales. It requires frequent conditioning. Some conditioners can darken leather, so test on an inconspicuous spot first.
Polish and Shine
Caiman skin is difficult to polish to a high overall gloss, although a sheen can be achieved on the boots. If the skin is an even color, use a quality wax that matches the boot. If there are multiple color variations, use a neutral wax or cream polish. The neutral polish can also be used on an even colored boot. One coat of wax or polish is generally sufficient.
Protect and Moisturize
Apply a non-silicone protectant to guard against stains and liquid spills. If liquids such as alcohol are allowed to soak in, caiman leather may stain or dry out more quickly. This can also affect the finish or texture of the skin. Caiman skin is particularly dry and requires frequent cleaning and conditioning. Treating with a protectant will help repel dirt and dust, making future cleaning and conditioning quicker and easier.
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An attorney and database programmer in Nashville, Randall Pierce has been writing about sports, legal matters and tech issues for local and regional publications since 1998. Pierce holds a Bachelor of Business Administration from Austin Peay State University in Clarksville, Tenn., and earned his J.D. from the Nashville School of Law.