Leather garments cleaning and caring

Unless leather clothes are very stained, avoid taking them to a dry cleaner, even one that specializes in leather. The beauty of leather is in the surface patina that develops over time; attempts to restore leather to brand new perfection destroy the patina.

Clean a smooth-surfaced leather garment yearly and condition it with oil to prevent drying and cracking. First wipe the garment all over with a damp cloth and a little mild soap or detergent. Rinse with a fresh damp sponge, pat off excess water, and let the garment dry at room temperature (not near a radiator). Then rub the garment lightly with a little pure neat’s-foot oil or mink oil. If the surface feels sticky, wipe off the excess oil with a clean cloth.

Spray a suede or sheepskin garment with a stain-and-water protector when it is new. Brush the surface regularly with a terry towel or a nonwire suede brush to keep it clean and raise the nap. If the inside of a suede garment has a smooth finish, condition it with neat’s-foot oil.

If rain causes water spots on suede, let the garment dry thoroughly; then rub it with a towel or brush. Remove minor stains by rubbing them with a pencil eraser, an emery board, or very fine sandpaper.

Hang leather coats and jackets on padded or wooden hangers. To store, cover them with a cloth (never a plastic bag) to keep the dust off. Don’t fold a leather garment; the creases may become permanent. If a garment gets creased, hang it in the bathroom at shower time. Or press it with an iron at low setting, placing heavy paper between the iron and the leather. Cleaning gloves

Leather gloves can be washed once a year in cool water with a mild soap. Squeeze water gently through gloves; do not wring. Rinse with cool water, press water out, and dry on a towel at room temperature. When the gloves are almost dry, rub a bit of leather conditioner into their surfaces to restore pliability.