We all have leather and suede in our closets: skirts, vests, jackets, even shoes, belts and handbags.
While we love our 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 get soiled.
After all, how would we clean it? For many of us, cleaning leather garments is still one of life's mysteries.
Here's a guide on how to clean leather that will help you keep your rawhide looking tough, and you looking clean and polished (as always).
There are four main types of leather:
Always follow the cleaning instructions on the leather garment itself.
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 garment with the iron on the lowest setting (no steam!). Place brown paper between the iron and the leather garment to protect it.
Avoid getting leather garments wet. If a leather garment does get wet, blot the excess gently with a towel. Then dry it flat away from direct heat. Heat will dry out its natural oils and will make the leather hard and cracked.
Get more tips on cleaning and storing your leather garments at the Dry Cleaning & Laundry Institute International.