I have to start off this post by affirming that every person should own at least one leather garment, whether it being a jacket, shoes or pants (if that’s your thing). Now having it is one thing but caring for it is a whole other story. This material can age beautifully if treated right, but under the wrong conditions and in the wrong hands, you might as well withdraw money from you bank account and throw it in the trash.
The most commonly used leathers for garments are cowhide, sheepskin, lambskin, buckskin and antelope. Suede leather being made from the underside of the skin, primarily lamb, although goat, calf and deer are commonly used. We’ll go through the popular types of leather and how you can make it last with proper care.
Prevention is better than having a cure
– Protectant spray purposely made for leather and suede, is always the best option when first purchasing a leather garment. This will protect it from any rain or water, try a spot test on the inside of the garment first to ensure that it doesn’t cause any damage or discoloration.
– Scarves will be your best friend when you make it a habit to wear it while you have on a suede jacket, this helps prevent oils and sweat from ruining the collar in the long run.
– Store leather garments in a cool, dry place. Light will fade the color and dampness will cause mildew.
If the damage is already done, then let the restoration begins
– Rain or water got the best of you? Don’t throw your leather or suede jacket in the dryer or try to dry with a hair-dryer, as the direct heat will damage the natural material. Instead, let the garment hand and naturally dry on its own. For suede, once completely dry, restore the nap with a brush made exclusively for suede.
– Ink on your jacket? Rubbing alcohol should help remove ink stains from smooth leather—but don’t try this on suede, which is best left for a professional dry cleaner. Use a white cotton cloth (nothing colored, as the dye may run) soaked with alcohol and blot the stain gently until the ink has faded. Be careful here: scrubbing too hard could cause fading.
- If suede gets muddy, use a nail file to remove the dirt. Use delicate strokes. A brush made exclusively for suede can also be used to remove dirt and scuff marks.
- If suede garments are stained by oil, use cornmeal, oatmeal or talcum powder directly on the stain. Leave overnight and brush gently. This process may have to be repeated.
- Rubbing suede gently with a nail file will restore the nap. Suede garments can also be steamed to restore nap, or they can be rubbed with a high nap bath towel.
- If stains have dried on suede, or if it is scuffed, use an eraser to gently clean the area. If stains do not come out, use a bit of white vinegar on a silk cloth to clean.
Just a little bit goes a long way
– Leather conditioner (like hair conditioner) is meant to soften and protect but it’s not always a necessary step for brand-new jackets, which are usually made from soft, thin leather. For a very sturdy and stiff leather, a leather conditioner would help to keep it soft. It’s not only a tactile thing, either: conditioner prevents leather from cracking and breaking down over time.
-Professional leather cleaners can best handle stains, major weather damage, and longterm wear-and-tear and if you have an item that’s suede, light-colored, or specially treated (think faux-croc, hand-painted, or anything along those lines), you may want to take it in to be safe.