Sadly for some, Summer is over and Autumn is upon us. For us here at Goldsmith Vintage, we're celebrating as it's finally time to free our luscious leather coats and jackets from the depths of our wardrobes! And do we have a range to die for?! (check out our staff picks at the end!)
Leather is warm, hard-wearing and never goes out of style, but what should you do to keep your leather looking it's absolute best? We've put together a handy guide that will cover how to clean, maintain and prolong the life of your leather!
Keeping your leather looking awesome long-term starts with day-to-day care. By sticking to a few simple rules, you can avoid unnecessary wear and tear, prolonging the life of your favourite pieces for years. Here are a few general 'dos and don'ts' to start you off.
Regularly clean leather with a soft brush or cloth
Clean spots and stains with a mixture of soap and warm water
Dry wet leather naturally, away from artificial heat
Use a steam cleaner to disinfect and remove build-up from regular use
Test any conditioners, cleaners, polishes or wax in a hidden spot beforehand
Regularly air out leather
Blot away water or moisture as soon as possible
Keep leather supple with a specialised leather conditioner every 3-6 months
Machine wash leather
Get leather wet, whenever possible
Dry wet leather next to a radiator or with a hairdryer
Tumble dry leather
Immerse leather in water to clean
How to Clean Leather Coats and Jackets
Keeping a leather coat soft and supple for years to come takes a bit of love and care, but thankfully it can be cleaned at home as detailed below. However, some more expensive items should be taken to a professional dry cleaner who specialises in cleaning leather so it's a good idea to check the label.
Hand-washing works for aniline leather finishes only, as it's better quality and more durable. Before you try to hand-wash your fave leather biker jacket though, it's worth it to test the colour fastness with a clean white cloth that's been dampened with water on an interior spot. If the colour transfers onto the cloth, the dye is not stable on the leather, and you shouldn't carry on washing.
Prepare for washing by emptying out all your pockets and turn the jacket inside out. Next, fill up a large sink or plastic container with lukewarm water, and add a small amount of a gentle liquid detergent (read the label and make sure it's suitable for delicate items) and swish through the water.
Submerge the jacket in the water, making sure the lining is completely wet. Gently squeeze the solution through the lining, and let it soak for about 10 minutes. You can use a soft-bristled brush to help lift any stains.
Lift your garment out of the soapy solution. Never wring a leather item, instead just squeeze out the excess water, then fill the sink again with clean water and rinse. You may need to do this a few times to remove all of the soap.
Next, turn the jacket the right side out and gently hang it over a bathtub to air-dry using a padded hanger to prevent marks on the shoulders. Never hang in direct sunlight or near a heat source. It can take up to 2–3 days for it to dry completely.
Use a good quality leather conditioner on the garment until it's gorgeous and soft again.
So now that your jacket is clean and soft, it's all about the maintenance! One of the reasons we love leather so much is for its unique visual details and textures. Any maintenance decisions you make can actually shape the look of your goods so you can actively tailor them to your individual style!
For example, polishing leather will keep its original shine, perfect for glossy garments and accessories which you want to keep in perfect condition. Alternatively, if you prefer a casual, more weathered look, regular dusting and a simple wipe with a damp cloth from time to time will do, and help them develop their own unique characteristics. Polish can also be used to spot buff scratches and scuffs on brightly coloured leather, while a specialist colour restoring balm is perfect for a full colour revamp.
Fine, smooth and patent leathers love a soft leather cream! It will hydrate, nourish and preserve their supple qualities. Gentle conditioners and creams can also get rid of light scratches.
Take extra care with leather items that you use a lot. Make time once a week to wipe away dust and spots with a brush or soft cloth.
Leather is a skin, and it can stretch. Try not to overfill or leave bulky items long-term in your jacket pockets, handbag or wallet if you want to keep their original shape.
If you need to leave your leather in storage for a long time, it's a good idea to wrap hardware like zips and clasps in tissue paper to avoid them creating any unwanted imprints on your beloved leather. If it's a coat, cover it in its original dust bag which will have been cut to the right size to prevent warping and squashing. If you don't have one, a white cotton pillowcase will be fine, but make sure to avoid using coloured fabric which could result in colour transferring. Never store your leather in direct sunlight or artificial sources of heat.