Apart from caring for bullwhips, maintenance of the whip is equally important. Maintenance involves the manner in which the bullwhips are kept, stored, transported and repaired. When at rest, bullwhips may display certain curves or bends which should be maintained. Especially during storage, bullwhips should be allowed to rest based on how the whip coils around its bends. Do not force the whip to take on a new shape, curve or bend. Hence, loose coils during storage are advisable. When a bullwhip is forced into a position, it can rupture. Whips are usually described as an extension of the arm. Hence, when a whip is “broken in”, it assumes extensions based on the body movement of the person who broke it in. This can tend to make a bullwhip respond better to one person than another.
If the bullwhip is not being used, it is best to hang it up in a relaxed position which enables it retains its shape. Excessive or forced coiling of bullwhips can introduce advanced curvatures which affect the intended structure of the bullwhip, making the whips become ineffective and have a short life.
Also, the sun can cause bullwhips to dry out. Hence, it is advisable to keep bullwhips in an area that is dark. The sun’s rays can cause the leather on bullwhips to become dry and crusty. It can also occur very quickly if the day is quite hot. The heat of the sun will suck out all the moisture in the whip leaving it cracked and brittle. Hence, storing the bullwhip in an area that is free of sun’s rays is best. Cool air help to keep the bullwhip in good condition and enhance its useful life.
Although tempting, oils of any kind should not be avoided entirely or used sparingly on bullwhips. Oils do not help in “breaking-in” a bullwhip. Rather, the use on oils can make the whip deteriorate at a much faster rate. Oils may initially make the bullwhip shiny buy do not always provide a lasting character for bullwhips. The oil seeps into the leather, affects the structure of the material and could eventually break it down. Some whips may survive slight oil, but if oil soaks into the leather, it can trap moisture within the whip and cause the whip to rot. Thus, it is advisable to avoid oil when possible.
Depending on where the bullwhip is used, it may come into contact with oil or water. Drying off the whip immediately can help prevent decay or ruin. Using oil to get rid of water on a bullwhip could result in the water being trapped in the leather by the oil, which still leads to deterioration of the leather. Damp bullwhips can also grow bacteria and this can be a health hazard. However, leather does need some condition to help maintain flexibility. A strong leather bullwhip is not dry or cracking. So, in order to maintain its healthy form, bullwhips can get a coating of grease or leather dressing. This careful treatment can enable bullwhips last longer and perform better. Too much grease or leather treatment results in problems with the whip. Products like mink oil can be used to condition leathers. However, caution should be applied if using mink oil on bullwhips. Mink oil can make the bullwhips soft and stretchy. However, leather dressing for the whip helps to maintain the condition of the bullwhip.
High quality whips typically last a long time if the whips are properly used, cared for and maintained. Eye protection may also be purchased and used when learning how to use bullwhips. A whip can severely damage items it strikes or hurt people it comes in contact with. Hence, common sense should be applied when handling, caring for and maintaining bullwhips. Using a whip in a dangerous situation could probably damage the whip or worse, cause damage to an item or injury to a person. Wrapping bullwhips around trees, for instance, is certainly not advisable. Placing the bullwhip in hot water or any liquid should be avoided.
Do not use acids on bullwhips. Attempts should be used to remove stains on whips by using a clean cloth or brush. Sometimes, knots may occur in the fall or in the crackers. These can simply be untied. However, being vigilant about knots and foreign attachments to the whip before usage can help prevent whip damage and personal injury.
Although nylon and other synthetic bullwhips are relatively easier to maintain, stiffness in these bullwhips can occur. Keeping synthetic bullwhips clean and waterproofed can help minimize any stiffness. As with leather bullwhips, nylon whips should be cleaned regularly to prevent objects from sticking to the surface of the whip.