Leather is very versatile! It looks wonderful on both men and women and works with several layers and textures. While leather complements most outfits, proper leather care is needed to ensure the fabric lasts longer since it cannot be cleaned easily using traditional laundry methods. Here are some tips and tricks on how to care for your leather pieces:
Cleaning and Drying
Continuous contact with liquids in any form such as rain, sweat, beverages, and more can cause the leather to stiffen.
Be sure to avoid the use of strong detergents. Always choose a product that will help keep the leather’s natural lubricating oils. You can find a good leather cleaner in department stores.
Start cleaning by testing out the product on a smaller, visible area first. If there is no discoloration, proceed with the rest of the item.
If you cannot find a leather cleaner, mix a baby shampoo with warm water. Unlike other cleaners, this mixture is very easy to rinse using a dampened cloth or a small brush for the stitching. This does not usually leave any sort of grease or residue, which may support bacterial growth.
Never dry your leather apparel in front of a direct heat source to avoid stiffening and damaging the material. Air drying is the best option.
Removing Stains and Odors
Techniques differ when removing different kinds of stains in leather apparel.
Sweat can cause the leather to become itchy and slightly stiffened. This is best resolved using warm water with a mild baby shampoo or fabric softener.
To remove unwanted odors, mix a teaspoon of bicarbonate soda crystals and 1 liter of warm water. Let the solution soak into the fabric.
Oils are quite difficult to remove. While you can also rub a mixture of water and baby shampoo, grinding a blackboard chalk and sprinkling it on the affected area is a better option. Leave the powder on for one whole day before rinsing using a dampened cloth.
Wax removal is not as easy though. If you are not to chip all the wax away from your leather, you will need a blotting paper and an iron to fix the problem. Place the paper on top of the stained area. Set your iron to medium heat and gently press over the paper. The heat should melt the wax and the paper should absorb it.
For molds and mildew, your best cleaner is a cup of rubbing alcohol mixed with water. Dip a clean cloth in this solution and wipe the mildewed area. For more severe cases, use a mild soap containing germicide and mix it with water. Wipe the excess soap with a clean cloth and then air dry.
In case of a blood spill, wash your leather immediately using warm soapy water. Again, baby shampoo or a fabric softener are your best choices. The leather becomes stiff and stinky if the blood is allowed to dry.
Once in a while, you will have to soak your leather in a mixture of 1 teaspoon bleach and 1 gallon of water for at least 30 minutes. This will help remove germs. Rinse well and handwash immediately.
Most leather apparels have buckles, studs, and snaps that are nickel or chrome-plated steel. Others are also brass coated. You have to clean these fittings regularly and keep them dry to avoid rusting. Apply a conditioner to increase their longevity.
If rust is already present, you will have to buy the appropriate cleaner based on the material used in these fittings. Autosol is a good chrome cleaner. For nickel and brass, check out WD40 and Brasso, respectively.
Leather needs conditioning to keep its suppleness. However, similar to cleaning products, you must avoid using products that leave thick and greasy restudies. Look for conditioners that can easily penetrate the leather’s fibers. Lexol leather cleaner is recommended. These are available in department stores too.
Condition your leather several times during the season. Do so more often if the item is exposed to moisture or extreme heat. Apply a conditioner immediately to a dampened leather before it dries out completely to maintain its flexibility.
Protection is perhaps one of the most important steps in leather care. Again, beware of choosing your product. Some may clog the leather’s pores with grease, which makes cleaning and conditioning more difficult.
Always apply the protector on clean, dry leather. Some types of leather require more maintenance. In this case, it is best to have it cleaned professionally.
Always keep your leather apparel in cool, dry places. Do not put them inside a plastic bag or other nonporous covers. Always use metal hangers.