An important part of caring for and maintaining bullwhips is the use of leather dressing on the bullwhip leather. A popular choice of dressing is Pecard dressing which helps to preserve the braided leather. A dry whip will crack and be ineffective. Dry whips require excessive force and strain in order to generate motion in the whip. However, an adequate whip dressing will keep the leather strong and responsive. Bullwhip owners and users should note that whips can stretch or be ruined in other ways if wrong leather dressings are used. Also, extremely dry and old whips should be retired and can be used as wall hangers. For recently dry whips, leather dressing can be generously applied to the dry whip and allowed to soak in. This may help to revive the whip.
As whip dressings are used, time should be allowed for the dressing to penetrate the whip. This will prevent overuse of the dressing and avoid the build-up of moisture within the whip. The dressing, when applied, should also be worked in with the hands throughout the entire whip. Always remember to wipe any excess dressing off with a clean cloth. Usually, leather dressings are not needed for new whips depending on their condition when bought. With constant use though, regular care of the whip including the use of dressings will be required. Experts recommend dressing the whip at least twice a year. Nevertheless, the actual frequency of dressing depends on the frequency of use of the whip. More dressing should be applied to the fall of the whip because this is the part of the whip that feels more impact from use.
Sticking to the same type of dressing or conditioner is also better for the whip. Mixing different types of products can create some interaction between the products and this may also adversely affect the whip. Minimal or no dressing is necessary if whips are only used inside. If dressings are used, moderation is a better approach. A good rule of thumb involves generally giving the fall of the bullwhip a light coating of dressing after using the bullwhip outside. The fall generally gets the most impact and movement during usage. The thong or braided area of the bullwhip gets a generous amount of dressing while the whip is being braided. The dressing in the thong as it is being braided helps keep the bullwhip intact while it is waiting to be bought and the braid dressing also helps to get the bullwhip ready for its first day of use. Hence, some residual dressing remains locked into the leather during initial use. The most exposed parts of the bullwhip are fall and the crackers. This is where the light dressing is most beneficial after a day of moderate to heavy use of the whip.