Quality leather jackets or upholstery are big ticket items that require additional care and proper cleaning steps to ensure they last a long time. To help you along, we’ve put together the answers to some of your biggest leather care questions. Don’t worry, it’s not as difficult as you think!
Know Your Leather
There are 3 main grades of real leather, ranked according to the part of the hide it comes from and the treatment method.
At the top of the chain is full-grain leather. It refers to the top most layer of the hide that hasn’t been buffed out or sanded, so it still retains the original texture and markings. With its one-of-a-kind look and extreme durability, full-grain leather is widely coveted as the best and highest-quality leather money can buy.
The next best is top-grain leather, which has undergone light buffing to give it a uniform and ‘smooth’ finish. It’s one of the most common types of quality leather found in high-end goods - think luxury handbags and wallets.
At the bottom of the pyramid there’s ‘genuine’ leather, which simply put, is animal hide that’s been split many times, sanded smooth and stamped with an artificial grain pattern to look like high quality leather. It is not very durable and thus, not recommended for everyday use.
Clean up Spills Immediately
Regardless of the type of leather, it’s best to clean up spills immediately so that stains do not set. For water-based spills like soda or juice, just dabbing the affected area with a dry, microfibre cloth is sufficient. If necessary, damp the cloth slightly with lukewarm water, then leave it to dry.
Don’t use any water for oil-based stains like butter or body oil. Simply blot the affected area with a clean, dry white cloth and the stain will dissipate over time. And don’t use your normal cleaning liquids either! It’s best to seek professional help to prevent further damage for stubborn stains.
Condition and Keep Away from Heat Source
This is perhaps the most important step of all. Applying leather conditioner once or twice a year can extend the lifespan of your leather furnishings, accessories and clothing items. Like our skin, leather requires a ‘moisturiser’ to help maintain that soft and smooth texture over time. Furthermore, the chemicals in leather conditioner are great for removing stubborn dirt and grime. To be extra safe, always try the product on an inconspicuous spot first to check for any discoloration.
Prolonged exposure to heat sources can also prematurely age leather and cause it to dry out and crack. Cover leather goods in light sheets or a slipcover and keep it away from heaters, air-conditioners and direct sunlight whenever possible.
Quality leather goods are a great investment. When properly cared for, they can last a long time and add a touch of class and luxury to your home.
Dust and Vacuum Regularly
Simple dusting and vacuuming is always a good idea. Doing this frequently will prevent dust and grime - which can become quite abrasive - from building up and scratching away the protective leather coating.
You can use a large duster or a soft cloth to clean away dust and dirt that have accumulated on your leather jacket or bags. A convenient way to clean your leather furniture is to use a brush attachment or a small handheld vacuum to get rid of crumbs or other small lint in hard-to-reach places.