Cover your hide: how to care for leather clothing – The Guardian

Protect your hide: how to take care of leather clothing

How to clean, what products to use, and when to take it to the professionals: experts share their tips for making leather last longer

O n the weekend break, a friend and I stumbled upon a small vintage shop filled with rack upon rack of leather jackets and coats. The particular shop had the classic, musty smell of vintage from a certain era that, for me, always conjures up memories of playing dress-ups with my sister when we were very small. Tulle tutus, Glomesh handbags and our grandmother’s fur stole were on high rotation.

Thanks to its natural properties, leather is strong, water repellent and repairable, which means it can last for decades. “Leather is one of those materials that is often misunderstood – both easier plus trickier to look after than people think, ” says designer Christopher Esber. “It is a naturally durable material, but never without its quirks. Look after it and it will look after you. ”

Balm and buff

The founders of British bag brand LPOL, Katy and John Maskell-Bell, say to keep your leather garment clean and in the best condition, you should apply a high-quality natural leather balm or cream every few weeks. “This will ensure your item will last for many more years, extending its life so you can enjoy more wear. ”

Before you do this, use a damp cloth to clean the surface of the item and leave it for a few minutes to dry. Then, apply the balm using a soft dry cloth and circular motions over all surfaces. Let it soak in for twenty minutes, then using a clean part of the cloth, remove any remaining residue and buff the leather to give it a discreet shine.

Choosing treatments

Since there are many different types of leather, from patent to suede, it’s important to use the right product for your garment. The team behind Farfetch’s repair service, the particular Restory, recommend applying Carnauba cream to smooth leather-based, and using a spray for other types of leathers like suede or nubuck.

For tan and brown leather, like this jacket worn by Xiayan Guo at Milan fashion week, use a neutral balm to condition, then wipe off any excess.

According to the Maskell-Bells, you can also select a conditioner based on the colour of your leather product. For black leather they suggest a natural black balm; for tan and brown leather they suggest a neutral one. “We also recommend waxing the edges and stitching on your natural leather garment to keep them resistant to water. ”

If you’re not sure, or if the item is particularly precious, Esber says to leave moisturising or replenishing creams to the professionals. Most shoe and handbag repair services will also take care of leather clothes, and you can ask them for advice on home care for the future.

What about washing?

Esber recommends removing superficial stains or dirt with a colourfast, slightly damp fabric and avoiding hard cleaners or detergents. When in doubt, he says, “trust the experts. Look for specialist laundries that handle leather apparel”. According to the Restory, leather should never be machine washed. Instead, wash the exterior of your leather item by hand, using soft detergents to spot clean the garment.

Sign up to receive Guardian Australia’s weekend culture and {lifestyle|way of life|life-style|way of living|life style} email

If you’ve {noticed|observed} the lining of your item {has|offers|provides} started to smell, you can {wash|clean} it with water {and|plus} detergent, but you need to be {careful|cautious} not to get the leather {wet|damp|moist}. To do this, start by turning {the|the particular} garment inside out. Next, {the|the particular} Maskell-Bells recommend you “use a damp cloth {with a little|after some} pea-sized dot of {natural|organic} fabric conditioner and {lightly|gently} scrub in circular {motions|movements} to remove any dirt, {stains|unsightly stains} or odours”. Finally, {leave|keep|depart} the garment to {dry|dried out} naturally, ideally outside {in the|within the} shade, or somewhere {well|nicely|properly} ventilated.

{Storage|Storage space}

Padded coat hangers: the ideal leather storage solution to avoid damaging its patina.

{According to|Based on} Esber, leather garments {should never|should not} be stored folded, {as this|that} can damage the patina and {result in|lead to} early ageing. Instead, {place|location} leather garments on {padded|cushioned} coat hangers and keep {them in a|these questions} dry space.

If you live in a particularly {humid|damp} environment, Esber says, {storage is|storage space is} key. “Make sure {where|exactly where} it is kept leaves {air|air flow|atmosphere|surroundings} to circulate. You should also {keep it|retain it|maintain it} in a place where there {is|will be|is usually|is definitely|can be|is certainly} daylight without direct sunlight. ” Alternatively, make sure you take your {leather|leather-based|natural leather|buckskin} out for some air {every so often|from time to time}.

Managing {mould|mold}

Unfortunately, {humid|damp} environments can cause leather {items to|what to} develop mould. The Restory says if this happens, “it’s {important to|crucial to|essential to|vital that you|crucial that you|necessary to} isolate the item from the {rest of|associated with} your wardrobe to prevent {mould|mold} spreading”.

{They|These people|They will} recommend placing it {in a|inside a|within a|in the} plastic bag and {sending|delivering} it to be professionally {cleaned|washed|cleaned out|cleansed}. Before putting the item {back in|in} your wardrobe, you need to {monitor|keep track of} it for an extended {period|time period} to ensure the mould doesn’t {come back|return}.

Spot it before it spreads: if you see mould on a leather garment, isolate it from the rest of your wardrobe and get it professionally cleaned.

{If|In case|When|In the event that} you’d like to try {tackling|dealing with} mould removal at home, {the|the particular} Maskell-Bells suggest taking {a damp|a moist|a wet} cotton or microfibre {cloth|fabric|towel|material} and dipping it {in a|inside a|within a|in the} little white vinegar {with a|having a|using a} few drops of {lemon|lime|” lemon “|orange} juice. Then swipe {this|this particular} over the surface of the {leather|leather-based|natural leather|buckskin} to remove the mould, {and|plus} repeat until you are {certain|particular|specific} all the remaining spores {are gone|have passed away}. Do this outdoors while wearing {a|the} protective mask as spores can be a health hazard, {then|after that} leave the item in {direct sunlight|sunlight} to dry.

Help! My leather {got|obtained} wet

{If you happen to|If you} get caught in the {rain|rainfall} while wearing a leather {jacket|coat} or skirt, the Restory team says, “Don’t {panic|stress|anxiety}! ” Just hang {the item|the product} somewhere airy and {let it|allow it to} dry slowly and {naturally|normally}.

“Don’t {dry|dried out} your item on {radiators|radiator units} or near artificial {heat|warmth|temperature|high temperature} sources as this risks distorting or warping the shape, ” they say. “If it is suede, small rain spots {can often be|is often|is frequently} gently buffed away {with a|having a|using a} soft suede brush. ”

For more {serious|severe} damage, take the item {to an|for an} expert who can clean, recolour and restore the leather. {Once the|When the|After the} garment is dry, {you may need to|you may have to} reapply a leather conditioner.

Esber {says|states}, “Always remember, at {its|the} core, leather is {a natural|an organic} product and it will dry {naturally|normally} if it’s left {in the|within the} right, dry environment. {And after|After} that you’ll often {find|discover} it’ll be like new! ”

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