We all have luxurious leather and suede in our closets: skirts, vests, jackets - or shoes, belts and handbags.
While we love the leather items that keep us warm and toasty, sometimes the mere thought of a spill, drip or drop on our leather duds can send such a chill through us, that that hot new jacket or handbag never makes it out of the closet, lest it gets soiled.
After all, how would we clean it?
For many of us, cleaning leather garments is still one of life's mysteries.
So here's a guide on how to clean leather that will help you keep your rawhide looking tough.
There are four main types of leather, and different cleaning methods for each:
Always clean leather following the item's label instructions - if the laundry label is still legible. If not, these guidelines can help.
Leather rarely needs to be professionally cleaned. That's good because professional leather cleaning is expensive and it may fade the color.
If you must send a leather garment to the dry cleaners, find a dry cleaner who specializes in leather. And if you have a two-piece outfit, send both pieces, so the color stays consistent.
Store leather garments on shaped or padded hangers in a cool, dry, well-ventilated place.
Cover with cloth instead of plastic so the garment can breathe; otherwise, it might dry out or mildew.
If the wrinkles in your leather garment don't hang out, try steaming them out. Hang the garment in the bathroom while you shower.
If you still have wrinkles, you can iron the leather using the iron's lowest setting (no steam!). Place brown paper between the iron and the leather garment to protect it.
Avoid getting leather garments wet. If the leather does get wet, blot the excess moisture from it gently with a towel. Then lay flat to dry away from direct heat. Heat will dry out its natural oils and can cause the surface to become hard and cracked.