Leather garments can be a thrilling addition to anyone’s wardrobe. Though jackets and shoes are the most common type of leather clothing, leather is also used for shirts, pants, skirts, and belts. If cared for properly, a leather item can remain a wearable part of your wardrobe for years to come.
Leather is a tanned and treated animal skin. The most common are buffalo, cow, pig, and lamb skins. As you care for your leather garments, keep in mind that they are made of these animal skins. Much like our skin, leather is porous and needs to be treated with care.
The first thing you should do after you purchase any leather garment is to treat it with a leather protector. You can almost always find this where you make your leather purchase. Ranging in price from around three to ten dollars, this solution usually comes in a spray can.
When you get your garment home, spray a light layer over the entire garment, let dry, and reapply. This will help extend the life of your item and will ease the process of cleaning. It also helps protect the leather from moisture and helps prevent it from drying out.
One important thing to remember when wearing your garment is to try to keep it dry. This isn’t always practical, so drying the leather the correct way will lengthen the lifespan of the garment. Leather products should always be air-dried in a cool area away from sunlight. Humidity and heat will cause excessive drying and result in the eventual cracking of the leather.
In the case of leather shoes, stuff tissue in the shoes to help absorb the extra moisture. Then hang the shoes from a shoetree, if possible. Leather shoes also absorb moisture from your feet. To extend the life of your leather shoes, do not wear them on a daily basis. This gives them a chance to dry out.
Cleaning leather can be tricky. Generally stains like ink, paint, and those created by harsh chemicals cannot be removed. Things such as dust, powder, soda, water, and juice can be treated, as long as you attend to the mess quickly. For liquids use a dry cloth and blot the stain; never wipe. For powders, dust, or mud, gently use a sponge with some warm water to wipe away the stain on harder leathers. For suede items, you can use a suede brush to gently brush away the dirt.
If you live in a cooler climate, winter is a fact of life. The salt used for clearing roads and sidewalks will adhere to leather shoes and the bottom of leather pants. Use a soft cloth and warm water to gently remove the salt and leave item to dry in a cool, dry place.
Generally soaps, solvents, silicone and harsh chemicals are not a good idea for your leather clothing, with the possible exception of shoes. Pay special attention to the care labels on your garments when caring for them. Avoid spraying hair care products and perfumes while wearing leather clothing. These things can stain and discolor the item beyond repair. For shoes, seek the recommendation of the manufacturer before applying any polishes or creams.
If you find you cannot clean the item yourself, you can get it done professionally. Look in your local Yellow Pages for a dry cleaner that specializes in leather items. Some dry cleaners are not familiar with the processes involved in the making of leather and the glues used in the making of the garments. It never hurts to make a few phone calls to find someone who is knowledgeable in cleaning leather and suede.
To lengthen the life of your garment, you need to keep a few things in mind. When hanging a garment, remember the cool and dry rule. Always use broad and padded hangers, as metal wire hangers tend to distort the shape of the leather. Leave some space on each side of the garment while it is hanging. Remember never to store leather garments in plastic bags or containers because they need to breathe.
Leather shoes benefit from the use of a shoehorn, as they help the shoe keep its original shape. Also, remember that sunlight can easily cause the leather to fade. Keep items out of direct sunlight when you store them to keep them looking good for years to come.Leather shoes