Making leather last long

February 2, 2018 08:20 AM The Week Bureau


Whether they are boots, jackets or bags, when it comes to leather goods they are all investments. We say so because, first of all, there is the fact that they probably cost you a small fortune but, at the same time, you also know that with care they can help you make a style statement for decades to come. 

Stylists consider leather to be a crucial piece of outerwear in any wardrobe but keeping them in mint condition has been known to be a tad tricky. Shankar, who works at a leather goods store in Durbar Marg, Kathmandu, says he hears complaints of rain and sun damage on a regular basis.

“Clients refer to cracks, wrinkles, and even loss of the original gloss and shine in their leather goods,” he says. He lists out a number of culprits like UVB rays, water, wrong storage methods and shares experiences of when he has had to tell off some clients for blow drying their jackets or using plastic bags to store their leather bags. He says that not many are aware about how they ought to treat their leather items. 

Fear not. The Week is here to help you out with some tips on how you can maintain the season’s coolest accessory.

Leather jackets
There aren’t many things that are cooler than a leather jacket but this timeless, effortlessly cool and easy to pair accessory can be notoriously high maintenance. If you have owned one for some years, you know that leather jackets aren’t as tough as they appear to be. A lot of care is required and this how you can go about it.

Know your leather
First things first, know what you have bought. All leathers aren’t equal. There are many types of leather out there and you need to know what you are dealing with. Is your jacket faux leather or is it made of cowhide, goat skin, or sheep skin? Always ask your retailer or read the label. Chances are you will get specific instructions on how to treat them.

Keep it dry and clean
Water is leather good’s natural enemy. It can cause the most trouble. Once leather gets wet, the natural oil in the material seeps to the surface and, when it dries, the oils evaporate leaving your jacket (and boots as well) dry, dull, and brittle. Ideally, it’s best to avoid scenarios here you might risk your leather getting wet but in case you can’t, if you are somebody who likes to regularly use their leather jacket, then it’s best if you invest in a good leather conditioner. This will not only make your jacket more water resistant, it will also strengthen the leather and protect its condition. Thus many consider leather conditioners to be a crucial buy if you have leather goods.

Where cleaning a leather jackets is concerned, it appears that everybody has their own tips and tricks. From using olive oil to giving it a spin in the washing machine, you will be bombarded with suggestions. However, if you don’t feel that confident, you can stick to the good old pair of soapy water and a clean cloth to do the deed. Again, refer to the label for advice.

Keep away from heat
Another big mistake people make while drying off or cleaning their leather accessories when it accidentally gets wet is applying too much heat. Shankar says that in panic people have been known to blow dry their jackets, place it in front of a heater, and what not. This only makes the situation worse. In case of emergencies, it’s best to leave your jacket out in the open to dry slowly.

Store it well
You might think how one keeps his/her clothes in their closet isn’t exactly that important but where leather is concerned, you couldn’t be further from the truth. Never fold your leather jacket. Also never store it in a plastic bag where the material can’t breathe. Always hang it well, preferably on a wide padded coat hanger, in a dry and cool place. You also want to make sure that you are not hanging your leather jacket in the line of direct sunlight. This can cause discoloration of the material overtime. 

Leather handbags
Leather handbags are even more prone to being strained, worn, wrinkled and dried out over the years. You will have to put in some effort to maintain its look and, while all the above-mentioned tips apply here as well, it’s best to pay extra attention to cleaning and conditioning.

If you really cherish your leather handbags, you might want to ask around for leather cleaning materials like cleaning solutions and conditioner as well. For example, there are suede brushes for cleaning suede bags and other similar softer unpolished leather. You will also have to be careful about cleaning the hardware of the bag i.e. the buckles and chains or it might get rusty. 

Experts recommend you condition your leather handbags once a month to prevent it from flaking and wrinkling as well. If you make a habit of it, even constant sun exposure will not cause any harm.

Storage, again, is another crucial factor to maintain the look of your leather handbags. It’s important that you stuff the bags so as to help maintain their shape. Lastly, since mold is also an issue, be sure to air them out every once in a while.

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