ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

How To Clean Leather Clothing

Updated on June 23, 2008
A variety of leather goods and leatherworking tools.
A variety of leather goods and leatherworking tools.

Stuff You'll Need Before Starting

* Saddle Soap

* Leather Conditioner

* Steam

* Stain remover

* Needle, sturdy thread, and thimble if anything needs to be sewn .

* Sprayable scent that won't damage lining of coat such as Febreze or essential oil diluted in water as per instruction below.

How to Clean A Leather Item

First, look over the leather item carefully. Only use this process for normal cleaning and maintenance, not major stain removal or damage repair. If the leather is damaged or deeply stained, you'll need to take it to a professional leather cleaner. In addition, never try to clean fur or suede at home, only use this on grained, finished leather. Many dry cleaners have a leather cleaning specialty, but check for it before trusting them with your leather garment.

Get saddle soap and leather conditioner from a local leather or hardware store. Use Febreze or scent of choice; I use 5 drops of essential oil in one capful of alcohol suspended in 1 cup of water. Test all substances used on item first by putting a few droplets on a hidden area for 24 hours to determine if any damage will result. Read and obey all instructions and cautions on products.

With a large bowl of warm water and a sponge, get a good lather from the saddle soap on the sponge. It's ok, you can really work up some suds for this part, it won't hurt your leather. Be careful not to soak your lining or cloth bits though, some cloth doesn't react well to water. Apply liberally to all leather surfaces. Rinse well with clean, damp cloth, but never submerge leather in water.

Use a clean, dry cloth to apply leather conditioner. Do not be afraid to apply a lot, the leather will keep absorbing conditioner until it has enough, at which point it will just sit on the surface and can be wiped away. Leather consists of fibrous bundles suspended in lipids (oil or fat) and it must have enough oil or it loses flexibility.

Apply scent carefully to any lining or cloth bits with a spray bottle. Try very, very hard not to get it on the leather. Apply steam from two or three inches away in short bursts to cloth or lining. Do not steam leather, just the lining. Place a barrier, such as a folded up sheet, between leather and lining if possible. Use either a steamer or an iron along with an ironing board or some surface that will be undamaged by the heat. Don't press down with the iron, just use the steam. Be careful, steam burns are both painful and dangerous. Leave yourself plenty of ventilation room.

Check item carefully for missing buttons or split seams. Sew back together with matching thread. If you have to sew through the leather, start with a heavy needle and sturdy thimble. Stitch one way through and then go back the other way to fill in the entire line with stitches. You should be able to see gaps between stitches when you're done. Examine other seams to get the look to match. Use the holes that are already there, do not try to punch new ones unless you really, truly know what you're doing. When sewing a button back onto leather, stitch very securely five or six times with doubled heavy cotton thread.

After everything has dried completely, the leather can be ironed with a dry iron set to low/medium heat. Be careful, and check often for burning. It helps to place a thin cotton rag between leather and iron. Never use steam directly on leather, it will cause the leather to distort and permanently hang wrong.

When done, hang or store leather item promptly and properly. Put away all equipment and supplies safely out of reach of children and pets. The steamer and/or iron will probably still be hot, so be careful with it.

Special Tips and Warnings

# Leather cleaning takes some time gets pretty messy, so set the proper time and space aside to do it right.

# Do the leather cleaning and conditioning all at one time instead of breaking them up into two sessions. If you don't oil soon enough, your leather can dry out.

# Saddle soap and leather conditioner can be dangerous for children and pets, do not leave these cleansers out.

# Steam burns are very dangerous and painful. Make sure you have plenty of ventilation, be careful about your skin, and again, do not endanger children or pets by allowing open access to the area. Both move in a quick and unpredictable fashion.

# Test all cleaners on hidden areas of the item first and leave for twenty four hours to check for compatibility. If you notice ANY damage, do not use the product.

# DO NOT try this on fur or suede. You will ruin your item, so smooth, grained leather only.

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)