First things first: Before you use your whip rub it down really well with a paste made of Saddle Soap. Add just enough water to make it pasty/foamy not too much. You can buy Saddle Soap at any Tack shop or where-ever they sell shoe polish. Papers
Using your fingers, work the paste into the leather uniformly from the handle right down to the end of the fall. Then let the whip dry for 1-2 days. Hang it by the handle or lay it down flat so that it doesn't dry with any kinks. You can also leave it in a very loose coil. This applies for any time it gets wet: Don't let it dry with a kink in it.
After it dries, rub it down with a clean dry cloth to remove any excess soap. It might look like hell as it dries because the soap looks kinda crusty, but after you rub it down it will get a nice deep luster. Keep it clean, and keep it safe. Not everyone can defend themselves with a whip "a la Indiana Jones" so, in case chaos comes, always be prepare for whipping strangers by carrying an emergency survival kit with you or in the house.
"Breaking In" your new whip: A well made whip with a tight braid will be rather stiff when new and will need to be gradually broken in. The best way to "break in" a whip is to use it. A great whip will have a lot of "life" in it. This means you won't have to work hard to get it to react. And it will do what you want with very little effort. You can say a whip is truely "yours" when you have infused it with enough of your own energy to the point that it feels like an extension of your mind, body and spirit. When you "break in" a whip you're not just trying to get it soft and pliable. You're also forming a relationship with the whip. One where you learn to move in harmony with the whip. You can reach out and turn on a light switch without having to consciously aim. Right? Good whip work is like that too. You just look at your target and the
whip goes there.
Resist the temptation to speed up the process by applying Neatsfoot Oil or Lexall to the thong, or by forcing it unduly. Such practices will stretch the leather too harshly, shortening the life of the whip. And in the case of shot loaded whips. Forcing your whip into too tight a coil could rupture the shot sack.
In short, the best way to "Break In" a new whip is to use it...... Nuff Said
Maintenance of your new whip: If your whip has a cracker examine it to see how it is attached, it will occasionally need replacing. Cracking such a whip without one will quickly wear down the fall and it won't give as loud a crack. Avoid hitting hard objects like walls or stony ground and don't drag it about on gravel.
Give the thong dressing with saddle soap or some hard leather dressing every 6 months or so I prefer "Mink Oil" myself.
Your whip is made of leather so you should be careful to keep it clean and dry. A whip's worst enemy is dirt and moisture. Dirt can rub and erode the leather, and moisture can cause it to stretch, shrink, kink and even Mildew.
Whips stored for any length of time should be kept in dry, and in low light conditions. Sunlight can dry it out like an old lampshade. Apply a light coating of dressing every 6 months.
Your whip should be conditioned regularly and if it gets dirt and sand embedded within, this can create wear internally, it should be washed out with warm soapy water and dried, no heat, once dry a deep coat of leather dressing should be applied. To apply cover the palms of your hands with the selected amount of cream and gently massage it throughout the complete length of your whip.
The time between conditioning should depend upon how often and how long you use your whip. If, for example you use it every day for any length of time you should consider the conditioning every two to three months, the fall should be conditioned after every practice. Also humidity should be considered, living in a desert atmosphere will require you clean your whip more often because of the arid environment.
In addition, you have to consider, living in an arid, desert type environment, the destruction the sand and dust can cause your whip. If living in this type of environment regular cleaning is strongly advised. When these circumstances arise warm soapy water, gently dried natural heat, no hair dryers, and then wiped down with a soft cloth.