Looking After Leather
By Jane Lake
With a little care, you can keep leather clothing looking its best for years,
according to an expert on leather from The Olde Hide House in Acton, Ontario.
- Leather naturally repels water but, for additional protection, look for an
environmentally friendly repellent product to help prevent absorption of water
and body oils. It's best to avoid silicone-based repellents which retard
leather's ability to "breathe."
- Let wet leather garments dry in well-ventilated areas, away from heat. The
leather may stiffen slightly but should soften again after wearing.
- Hang leather coats and jackets on thick or padded hangers to keep the
shoulders in shape. Don't load pockets with heavy or bulky items, which could
- Plastic bags tend to dry out or discolor leather. Use a cotton garment bag
for off-season storage, or hang coats as usual, draping a tea-towel over the
shoulders to deter dust.
- Avoid pressure-sensitive labels (the stick-on type) as the gummy residue left
behind by these labels can stain or ruin the finish on leather.
- Professional cleaning is best for stain removal. Some commercial stain
removers can be absorbed and leave a mar. Home remedies include gently rubbing
at minor stains with a pencil eraser or rubbing alcohol (these methods work only
on finished leather;; test on the inside facing first, to be sure the leather
will not be marred).