Leather is a material that will never go out of style – it’s hard wearing, it’s durable, and it feels fantastic – but there’s just one little problem: everyone seems to disagree on how to clean it. There are people who throw caution to the wind and pop leather jackets into the washing machine, there are people who wouldn’t clean their leather if their lives depended on it, and, of course, there’s everyone in between. Do you know how to clean leather bag fabric, leather shoes, or a leather jacket? No? Then read on:
How to Clean Leather Accessories: Finished / Unfinished Leather
To work out how to clean leather clothes or accessories, you need to determine whether you’re dealing with finished or unfinished leather. Keep in mind that 100% unfinished leather is very rare (unless it’s still attached to the cow), and that ‘unfinished’ in this sense tends to be used to describe leather that is very lightly finished. The level of finishing will determine the best way of cleaning your accessories. Heavily finished leather items can withstand greater amounts of water than unfinished leather, and are a little easier to clean, but cleaning unfinished leather isn’t too challenging with the right tools.
To check what you’re working with, take a look at the label. If it’s not clear, or if you’ve cut the label off, here’s a clever trick: apply a tiny water drop to your leather on a small, unnoticeable area – if it’s absorbed straight away, you’ve got unfinished leather. If it stays on the surface, it means there’s a protective film that’s preventing the water from being absorbed. Don’t worry, this test is completely safe – one small drop of water won’t ruin your leather.
Spot Cleaning Leather Accessories
Due to the delicate nature of leather, it’s best not to give it a thorough, overall wash. Instead, leather should be spot cleaned as and when stains occur. You’ll want to employ different techniques based upon whether you have finished or unfinished leather.