Leather garments can be a thrilling addition to anyone’s wardrobe. 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 cow 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 this solution usually comes in a spray can. When you get your garment, 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.
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.
Generally soaps, solvents, silicone and harsh chemicals are not a good idea for your leather clothing. Avoid spraying hair care products and perfumes while wearing leather clothing. These things can stain and discolour the item beyond repair.
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 specialises 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 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. Also remember that sunlight can easily cause leather to fade.