Leather Clothes Cleaning and Care Tips: An essential guide to keeping your rawhide looking tough; your nubuck velvety.
We'll begin at the beginning - it's essential to know the type of leather before you begin cleaning it.
This is the toughest and the most practical.
It's usually finished with pigments on the surface. You can restore the
color on scratches on these pieces easily.
This type (also called natural, naked or
unprotected) is glazed with a transparent dye that allows the glorious
grain to show through. It usually has no protective coating; although
you can opt for a spray-on water repellant either before or after you
purchase the garment.
This is an aniline (also called distressed or bomber) that has been brushed to create a soft velvety surface. It's very absorbent and will stain easily, although some Nubucks, such as distressed or bomber, have waxed surfaces that offer some protection.
Suede is actually the flesh side. But it looks like Nubuck and needs similar care.
You can also protect suedes and Nubucks with a water repellant spray but it may darken the color.
Always follow the cleaning instructions on any garment before you get started.
These designer items are often embellished, treated or otherwise added to and any cleaning routine needs to take this into consideration.
Start by removing surface dirt with a damp sponge. If blights remain, apply a little saddle soap or liquid detergent to the sponge, and repeat the rubbing routine above.
A very delicate subset, these garments as they will easily spot if
allowed to get wet. So ditch the water and use a suede brush or
ultra-fine sandpaper to rub away spots and stains.
It's worth the time investment to try to undo the lingering affects of daily life on these garments as dry cleaning is not only tough on the item, it'll give your wallet a workout, too.
These garments last longest when hung on shaped- or padded hangers in a cool, dry, well-ventilated place that allows it to breathe.
If wrinkles don't hang out, it's time to let off some steam. Hang it in the bathroom while you shower, allowing the heat and humidity to relax the garment.
As a last resort, you can iron it - but use the lowest setting
without steam. Place brown paper bags between the iron and the garment
to protect it.
Blot dry with a clean rag or cloth. Lay it flat on a clean towel to dry, away from direct heat and sunlight.
Heat will dry out the garment's natural oils and can cause surfaces cracks.
How to Clean Jeans
How to Safely Store Linens
How to Unshrink a Sweater
Liquids versus Powders
Hot, Warm, or Cold?
Common Summer Stains and How to Remove Them
10 Steps to Cleaner Clothes
From Leather Care: Return to Laundry & Stains
Return to Home Page
About the Author
Tara Aronson is a native Californian. Having grown up in San Diego, she studied journalism and Spanish to pursue a career in newspaper writing. Tara, whose three children - Chris, Lyndsay, and Payne - are the light of her life, now lives and writes in Los Angeles. She also regularly appears on television news programs throughout the U.S.