Caring for Leather?

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Tips By Pelle Capanna – Written by Kahkashan Farooq

Oh dear. Did someone knock your expensive leather wallet into the pool? Or spill tea on your exquisite virgin leather belt? Or did you just come back home to notice a big bothersome spot on your new leather jacket… and it just won’t go away?

Fret not. It is known to happen from time to time. Try some solutions on how to fix some of those problems.

Know your leather: It is essential, both, for the storage and cleaning of your leather garments, accessories and upholstery items. Leather products are available in both coated (finished) and raw (unfinished) types of leather. Top-grain/Full grain, corrected top-grain, spilt and bi-cast fall in the coated category while top-grain aniline dyed, pull-up (waxed, distressed), suede and nubuck (brushed, distressed) denote the raw type of leather. The life of finished leather products is longer than the unfinished types. However, they both demand good care from you.

Check the tag: Leather products of good brands usually have cleaning and storage instructions printed on their tags. Follow them religiously otherwise the shape, look and colour of your well broken into leather garment may just be ruined by weather conditions and the following factors.

Dirt: Always dust off your jacket, pants and bag when you get back home especially on windy days.

Gum: Blaming kids at your home for gum damage cannot be justified, as gum chewers are everywhere. Don’t try to chafe it with your nails if its hardened. Heat the gum spot with a hair dyer. Lift it with a plastic scraper when it becomes soft. For residue, a little more heat is required. After you pick it up, wipe the spot with a clean, soft and dry cloth. You can wipe finished leather products with a clean cloth dampened in a mild liquid soap and water mixture.

Oil & grease: These can ruin your expensive leather jacket and upholstery items etc. Put some cornstarch or blackboard chalk powder on the stain and leave it overnight. Brush it off next day and repeat the trick if residue is still there.

Liquids: With a few drops of water on some inconspicuous part of your leather item check it for knowing about its absorbency. If it absorbs water, don’t try to clean it with water. If watermarks are left on it then clear it with mild soap liquid and water mixture. Hang your jacket in the bathroom filled with steam. Later dry it.

Drying: Always dry your leather items indoor. Never expose them to the direct sunlight or heat. Wear it when it’s still damp to get it back in shape.

Dry cleaning: Only go to the dry cleaners that have the expertise to handle leather garments. Discuss your requirements and show them all the stains and marks before handing over your leather garments for cleaning.

Conditioning: Its very important for your leather item’s long life otherwise it stiffens and starts decaying. Buy a mild leather conditioner and apply only a very little quantity on it with help of a clean rag. You can use a soft brush as well.

Creases:  To smooth the creases, hang your leather jacket in a bathroom. Run the hot water tap. The accumulated steam in the closed bathroom will iron out the creases. But for ironing, always place a piece of cardboard on the jacket and then iron it.

Storage: Never put your leather garments and accessories in a plastic bag for storage purposes. Leather needs to keep breathing. Also look if there’s dampness in the cupboard or the storage place. Moisture invites concentration of fungus on the leather items. Besides, never fold your jacket, belt and pants. Instead, hang them on to the hooks in the cupboard.

Remember, leather isn’t just cowhide anymore. It’s a statement. The better you take care of your leather items, the better they will make you look and feel.