How to Care for & Keep the Pig Skin Soft on Equipales Furniture

Karren Doll Tolliver

Equipales is a traditional Mexican style of furniture that is made by hand. Seats and other items are barrel-shaped, lightweight and comfortable. An important feature of equipales is that the leather is customarily made from pigskin, not cowhide.

Pigskin leather in equipales furniture is very porous.

Pedestals and other structural components are made of tree bark, woven palm or raw wood split from tree branches. Equipales pieces are durable and require little maintenance. However, you should follow a light maintenance routine to keep the pigskin soft on your equipales items.

  1. Dampen a soft cloth and wipe the equipales pigskin leather to remove dust. Wipe a small section then dry it with a clean, dry cloth. Turn the damp cloth frequently and rinse it out as needed to ensure you wipe each small section with a clean side of the cloth. Clean the entire surface of the pigskin this way. Perform this cleaning weekly or monthly so the dust does not become embedded in the furniture. Do not use cleaners containing alcohol, acetone or petroleum products. They can damage the pigskin.

  2. Clean the pigskin equipales furniture with a high-quality leather cleaner. Follow the label directions of the leather cleaner. Test a small, inconspicuous area first to make sure it will not damage or fade the pigskin.

  3. Apply a leather moisturizer or wax every six months to the pigskin. Neatsfoot oil or saddle soap are two examples of this kind of product. If you keep your equipales furniture outdoors, apply one of these products once a month.

  4. Keep the equipales furniture away from heaters, woodstoves, fireplaces or other heat sources. Constant heat can harm the leather. Similarly, direct sunlight can bleach the color of the pigskin if you leave it in the sun for extended periods. Keep it in an area sheltered from sunshine.