Leather is a luxurious item and can last you a lifetime. Loved for its style and versatility, as well as its visual nuances, varying textures, its ever-developing patinas, and its slow and subtle changes that tell a story of your history and a life well-lived.
It’s this last point that really sticks with people. Once used enough, a leather coat, accessory or pair of footwear becomes much more unique - a statement of you and your style. This isn’t something to erase but embrace, and caring for these items will make sure you have them for a very long time.
It's not even hard to do, but a little time every so often goes a long way.
Why Care for Leather Clothing?
Leather is a natural product and needs some care and attention to keep it at its best. There are a lot of ways to care for leather clothing and accessories, from cleaning and polishing to understanding the limits of each item.
For example, avoid leather clothing that is too tight a fit. It will reduce your mobility and could stretch the material unnecessarily as well as ripping the seams. This is a quick way to make your favourite leather goods unusable. In the same way, try not to overfill a handbag or a purse as this can push out the sides of the item and cause stretching or ripping, too.
Take more care of items you use regularly. Using a soft cloth or brush to go over the leather occasionally will keep it in the best condition.
How to Clean Leather Clothing
The way you care for your leather can have a varying impact on its appearance over time. Polishing your leather, for instance, helps to maintain its original shine. For a more natural and casual look, a regular dusting or a wipe with a slightly damp cloth can suffice.
Depending on the type of leather you have, you should care for it a little differently for the best results.
Before cleaning any of your leather goods and clothing, you should be aware of the different types and what you should avoid doing to ensure you don’t damage the material. If you’re unsure of the type of leather you have, and the label can’t help you, search online or ask a local cleaning service for help.
Before any cleaning takes place, make sure the item hangs in a clear space and the areas you need to clean are accessible without being stretched. For jackets, hanging the garment is perfect. A flat space works well for other items.
Once your ready, you can start cleaning your leather goods:
- Patent leather - benefits more from a leather cream to nourish, hydrate and preserve its subtleness. Gentle rubbing with a soft cloth can also help remove stains and scratches.
- Smooth leather - special care should be taken and abrasive methods should be avoided, as this will damage the look of the leather and cause scratches.
- Textured leather - work with the grain for cleaning. Remove any build up from grooves and crevices with a soft brush (a soft bristle toothbrush is ideal) before applying any specialised cleaning products.
- Printed leather - should be brushed with a soft bristle brush or cleaned with a soft cloth dipped in clean, tepid water and wrung out till only damp. Coloured balms and polishes should be avoided as they may not truly match the pattern and thus ruin your item.
After cleaning any of your leather goods, allow them to sit for a while and absorb any cream or moisture before use. Excess liquid should be lightly dried up to avoid it soaking into the material - this will mean it takes longer before you can use them again.
What to Watch Out for on Leather Goods
While a very sturdy and versatile material, there are some things out there that can cause damage to your favourite leather goods and clothing. Not only can they leave marks, but warped surfaces, cracks and rips are also possible.
Oil can stain your suede or nubuck, so dry cleaning is always recommended. Watch for excessive water seeping under the surface - through cracks or the seams - to avoid warping and weakening. Grease can spread easily over your leather and allow dirt and debris to stick to the surface. Rubbing together can wear away at the surface.
If you were to get light grease or oil on your item, we advise covering it in dry cornflour and leaving until you can get to the drycleaners. Do not try to scrub the mark away.
Tips for Keeping Leather Goods in the Best Condition
While regular cleaning is always a good idea, there are a few other ways you can keep your favourite leather items in great condition, such as:
- Always store your leather products away from direct sunlight.
- Try to store handbags and such in dust bags when you are not using them and keep them away from artificial heat sources such as radiators.
- Try to air leather handbags and/or purses out occasionally.
- Blot away any water or moisture that gets on them as soon as possible.
- Dry wet leather naturally away from artificial heat.
- Remember to test any product that you feel necessary to use on your leather product in an area that can’t be seen.
- Don’t put your leather items in a washing machine or a tumble dryer.
- Don’t put your leather items in a bowl full of water to wash them.
Want to Know More About Caring for Your Leather Clothing?
Make sure your favourite leather goods are going to last with our great range of leather care products. From jackets to boots to purses, we can help them stay looking great and protect you - or your belongings - from whatever the weather throws at you.
If you have any questions on caring for leather goods or clothing, or would like to know more about the leather care products we have available, please do get in touch with our friendly team. We’re happy to help keep your favourite clothing in the best shape.