Technically speaking, leather is animal hide that undergoes a process called tanning. It looks classy and sophisticated; the reason why people purchase it. Leather items will cost you a pretty penny. As it ages, it tends to lose some of its protective agents infused at the time of manufacture. Hence, it becomes imperative to care for it and extend its shelf life. Here are the four stages of leather care.
- Avoid cleaning products that will strip away the leather’s natural lubricating oils. Consulting a sales person can help.
- Avoid cleansers that leave grease or residue of any kind. A build-up of residue can make the leather vulnerable to bacteria. This will do more harm than good.
- Test any product before you use it on the item. You can do a patch test on a less visible area. Check for any color distortions after a few minutes.
- Make sure your items are dust-free. Regular cleaning is a must.
- Air-dry wet leather, avoid heat.
- When drying the item, stuff the garment to retain its shape.
- Do not use household items to clean leather. There are specific cleansing products available in the market only for leather.
- If you notice any mildew growth on the leather item, make a solution of water and rubbing alcohol. Use a clean cloth dipped in the solution to wipe the mildew.
- Almost all oil and grease stains can be treated by sprinkling Blackboard Chalk on the affected areas and leaving it on for a day.
- Just like your hair needs conditioning, leather needs it too. Conditioners contain fats or oils that lubricate and replenish leather.
- Avoid conditioners that leave behind residue.
- Condition often. This becomes a necessity if your item has been through extreme sun exposure or moisture.
- Apply some conditioner on damp leather. This will restore its flexibility.
- Use a fine polishing agent to achieve a glossy finish.
- Some products may contain coloring agents that may affect the leather’s natural color.
- Always test products before use.
- Animal fats and mink oil might darken leather so use only if needed.
- Protection of leather items is an integral step. This step cannot be ignored if you are dedicated to maintaining it.
- Protect your items from moisture and other liquid hazards. These hazards would include snow, rain and sweat. Leather will crack and stiffen if not protected.
- Avoid products that can clog pores. Accumulation of grease will make leather care a strenuous task.
- Apply the protector only if the leather is clean and dry.
- The extent of protection needed depends on the grade of leather. Most grades require specialized maintenance for which a professional would do justice.
- Store items in cool and dry places.
- Avoid plastic bags and other non porous covers for storage.
- Don’t use metal hangers when hanging leather garments.
Leather is beautiful. The urge to own it is hard to resist. Now that you know how to effectively care for your leather items, why don’t you go ahead and satisfy your urge.
IMAGE CREDITS: featherfactor.com, pinterest.com, gogappa.com