Is your favorite leather jacket starting to show some wear? Does your leather bag have a little grease stain that you just haven't been able to remove? Fear not, we can help you here.
Regular leather care is crucial to maintain the appearance and longevity of your clothes and accessories. You can't just throw these items into the washing machine and call it a day – instead, follow the below guide and make leather cleaning a breeze.
Products You Need to Clean Leather Clothes
Use a microfiber towel instead of any cloth to prevent scratching and also ensure no lint or other particles remain on your leather clothes post-cleaning.
Look for a cleaner that is specifically designed for leather. This will ensure the substance has a balanced pH and will be appropriate for your cleaning. Alternatives like Castile mild soap or diluted gentle baby shampoo are also acceptable.
Leather conditioner will ensure your leather's moisture is replenished and will keep the garment shiny.
Some leather jackets (such as leather honey) can also be cleaned with dish soap instead of a leather cleaner. Simply add a few drops to a solution with warm water and you'll be good to go.
Use this type of brush to reach textured or hard-to-clean areas and remove lodged dirt or particles.
You can use a multi-surface cleaner to clean coated leather. Two to three sprays onto your microfiber towel or cloth will suffice.
Shoe Polish and Cloth
This one is optional, but you can use matching shoe polish to cover any blemishes or stains that are not coming out post-clean.
How to Clean Leather Clothes
Dusting and Brushing
Make sure your leather jacket or garment is clear of any debris or dirt. Use a clean and slightly damp microfiber cloth or brush to wipe off any visible soiling or grime.
Always make sure to check your garment's care label before proceeding any further.
Preparing the Cleaning Solution
Make a cleaning solution using your leather cleaner and warm water. The exact recipe will vary depending on the brand and type of solution used, so consult the instructions. If you are using dish soap, two or three drops will be enough.
Clean the Garment
Using a clean cloth, dip it into the cleaning solution and massage your leather garment using slow, gentle, circular motions.
Condition and Dry
Wipe off residue moisture from your leather clothing using a dry cloth and use that same clean cloth to apply conditioner. Again, consult the manufacturer's instructions to ensure you are using the product effectively.
Part of a leather jacket's appeal is its versatility. It looks great on both men and women, and it works with various layers and textures. While leather complements most outfits, special care should be taken to ensure the fabric lasts since leather can't be cleaned with traditional laundry methods. Hang your leather apparel on wooden hangers in a cool, dry area to help the jacket maintain its shape, as folding may create creases. This also preserves the fabric's integrity and prevents any stretching that might occur.
Before wearing your new or vintage leather jacket out for weekend brunch or a night on the town, don't forget to weatherproof it. Lightly wipe the jacket with a damp cloth and finish off with a quick spritz of leather protectant to ensure your investment piece is ready for all weather conditions. This simple step also safeguards against any potential stains or spills, and it works for leather shoes and boots as well. Do a spot test before application by spraying a small section to check how the leather reacts to the product. If you don't see any discoloration or changes in texture, proceed to cover the entire piece. For best results, repeat this process at the start of each new season.
If you've had a little slip with your leather pants or jacket, keep calm and blot on. For a water-based stain, resist the temptation to reach for a blow dryer – let it air dry naturally instead. Road salt and ink stains can be common occurrences; rubbing alcohol will take care of the latter, and saddle soap will help with any salt on your leather footwear. As always, test out a small area before covering a large area of the fabric with any given substance. If these methods fail to remove the stain, consider sending your pieces to a professional cleaning service.
Seasonal Care: Cleaning and Storage
Professional Cleaning over At-Home Care
There are always inherent risks to cleaning leather, so opt for professional care instead of the DIY route; you might be able to take care of some minor blemishes, but treating a stubborn oil-based stain yourself can lead to some damage to the material. While it may seem like an added cost, professional cleaning will save you money in the long run by preserving your clothing for a longer period. However, contrary to common misconception, leather can't be dry cleaned. The heat treatment will cause the fabric to lose its natural oils, which can lead to color bleeding or cracking in the material. That being said, your dry cleaner will most likely be able to outsource your garment to the best specialty cleaner in the city to ensure your attire receives the expert care it deserves.
Storing for the Off-Season
Investing in a leather conditioner to keep your pieces soft and supple between wears will be highly beneficial. Keep your jacket on a wooden or padded hanger – a wire hanger will bend and as a result, can stretch out the material. If you plan to keep your jacket in a bag, a cloth garment bag is preferable over a plastic one because the former will allow the leather to breathe. For any leather apparel you own, send it to a dry cleaner first to take care of stains and odors before storing it in a cool and dry spot, away from sunlight. Also, don't forget to wash your other winter jackets before storage, too.
Leather requires extra attention to keep it looking its best, but that doesn't mean it has to be a painful process. By following our expert care tips, you'll keep your favorite leather pieces in great condition – without too much fuss.
Take the Best Care of Your Leather with Rinse
Well there you have it – a complete guide on how to care for your leather garments. If the above seems like a lot of work or you just don't have the time to do it, we do have one last suggestion – use a laundry and dry cleaning service, such as Rinse.
We have years of experience cleaning garments of all materials and fabrics, including leather. You can rest assured your favorite leather jacket is going to come back clean with the highest standards of care.
The best part? We offer pickup and delivery services right to your doorstep, all 7 days a week.
Contact us at Rinse today to see our skill in action.
Photos: pongsakorn prammaeklong / Shutterstock.com, London Scout, Greg Raines, Viktor Hanacek, Dương Trần Quốc