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10+ Tips to Prolong the Life of Your Leather Garments and Accessories

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While charming and never out of style, leather accessories and garments require special care to keep them in good condition. However, if properly maintained, they can last almost a lifetime.

5 Minute Crafts brings you some tips and suggestions on how to take proper care of your leather items so you can wear them for longer.

1. Cleaning

  • To remove superficial stains, such as day-to-day stains, you can use specific cleaning products or use a soft cloth that is slightly dampened in skim milk. After cleaning, remove any excess with a napkin.
  • Greasy stains (make-up, oil, etc.) should be cleaned immediately. To remove them, put an absorbent paper towel on the stain. Then try the skim milk method above or apply specialized products that are made to clean leather.
  • If the item is suede or nubuck leather, you should clean it with a soft bristle brush, as these fabrics are much more susceptible to sunlight, fading, and stains. Rub gently in a circular motion.

2. Maintenance

  • Regular maintenance: If the garment is spotless, you can wipe it with a soft microfiber cloth once a month to remove dust and lint from the surface.

  • Annual maintenance: Once a year, apply a special leather conditioner to the item. This will create a layer of protection and will also restore the shine. This product is available at dry cleaners and specialized stores.

3. Hydration

  • This is essential for natural leathers, especially if you live in an area with a dry climate that can dehydrate the garments. To do this, take a soft cloth and dampen it with a special leather moisturizer or petroleum jelly. Then let the garment dry in a ventilated place, never in the sun. Remove any excess with a tissue. Do this once or twice a year.

4. Storage

  • To prevent the item from cracking or losing its shape, place it on a hanger. Don’t fold it, and make sure there is space between it and the rest of the garments to avoid rubbing and stains.

  • Store leather goods in places away from the sun and with good ventilation. Sunlight can irreparably discolor the fabric.

  • Never use plastic bags to cover leather goods. This material doesn’t allow your leather to breathe. In addition, it can generate condensation and mildew.

5. Shoes

  • After each use, remove any dirt that has accumulated on the shoes.

  • As with all leather goods, try to avoid getting them wet. If that happens, let them dry in a ventilated place, but away from the sun and heat sources like fireplaces and stoves.

  • Moisturize the footwear with a specific product once or twice a year.

  • Put paper balls inside the shoes to prevent them from losing their shape. If they are high top boots, you can insert parts of pool noodles. This will prevent the upper part of the shoes from falling under the weight, wrinkling, or cracking.

6. Bags and purses

  • Never place these items directly into the washing machine. Not only will this cause them to lose their shape, but it will also severely damage the material.
  • Many purses come with cloth bags for storage, but if they don’t, get some of this material and use it to store them. This will protect them from dust, rubbing, and keep them ventilated.
  • After use, place paper balls inside the purse to prevent it from losing its shape. Make sure the handles or straps are properly positioned, as keeping them wrinkled or folded can crack and damage them.
  • Avoid carrying too many things in your bag. Excessive weight can not only cause it to lose its shape, but it can also break the handles or unravel the item. In addition, carrying too much weight can cause muscle aches and health problems.

Things you should never do with your leather garments

🚫 Never wet natural leather directly.

🚫 Don’t use cloth or material with a rough surface to clean it. Leather is extremely delicate and can be scratched easily.

🚫 Prevent products like perfume, make-up, and cosmetics from coming into contact with the leather.

🚫 It’s important that the garment is completely dry before being stored, as moisture can generate condensation and damage the material.

🚫 Never apply any liquid or product directly onto the leather (unless instructed to do so by the label or by a professional). First, place it on a soft cloth.

Additional tips

✔️ Before using any cleaning method, test it on a small non-visible area of the item to see how the material reacts to the product.

✔️ Clean all of your leather items at the same time. Cleaning products can slightly alter the color of the materials. This will ensure that the garments maintain a fairly uniform color.

✔️ It’s always good to consult with professionals. They can recommend the most suitable product for each finish (natural leather, synthetic, or polished).

✔️ Once a year, you can take your leather goods to a specialized dry cleaner or launderer to undergo a special treatment and make them look like new.

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