Leather looks good and you look good wearing it. To keep it that way, CLEAN IT EVERY YEAR.

A consumer guide from Santoros Cleaners

Our leather specialist knows how to best clean and restore your leather garment. Always clean all matching items at the same time. If staining occurs, bring it to us as soon as possible. DO NOT try to remove spots yourself. And because we are very good at what we do, if there are concerns about a particular garment, we’ll take time to advise you before proceeding.

Selecting a Leather Garment

  • Buy from a reputable retailer
  • Look for careful matching of textures and colors throughout the garment; however, suede will never be completely uniform
  • Avoid a snug fit. Some relaxation shrinkage can be expected in use and cleaning
  • Read and save accompanying care information

To Keep Your Leather Looking its Best Between Cleaning

  • Wear a scarf to protect the collar area from body oils and perspiration. Heavy staining of any kind and ground-in dirt is not a friend of leather.
  • Allow leather to air-dry away from heat if it gets wet.
  • When you’re not wearing it, keep it in a cool ventilated area. Leather can dry-out or mildew if stored in a hot or humid environment. Leather like the same comfortable environment that you like.
  • Never leave leather in a plastic bag.

It’s a natural animal hide-not a piece of fabric, so, even with the latest and best care technologies, some change of appearance can result. When you purchased your leather garment, it probably had a hangtag that emphasized the nature of the variances in color and textures as characteristics that make each garment unique. That’s a nice way of summarizing the following information.

  • Hides from different areas of different animals are used. A good manufacturer tries to match hides, texture, weight, and color with uniformity. But variations may be accentuated after cleaning.
  • Scar tissue and vein marks are inherent to natural hides. It is typical that scar tissue or other imperfections are ‘filled’ before dyeing. The result is cleaning may reveal these imperfections.
  • Naturally occurring wrinkles are made less noticeable by the leather tanner through a special process. These wrinkles may reappear over time with natural ageing. The agitation of cleaning can accelerate this condition.
  • The danger of overstretched hides – When cleaned relaxation shrinkage in one or more hides will cause a change in the dimensions of the garment. In most instances, when you wear your garment this snugness should dissipate, once again conforming to the size and comfort you enjoy. Snugness can also occur over time, as the various hides tend to return to their most natural dimension.
  • Poorly formulated construction adhesives can dissolve during cleaning causing shaded areas. This is most often noticeable around seams and hems.
  • Color changes. Although color may initially appear to be uniform, over a period of time, even without cleaning, color changes are likely to become more evident. Exposure to light and atmospheric gases can cause leather dyes to oxidize. Our professional re-dyeing methods may make this condition less objectionable, but it is a natural occurrence.
  • Spots and stains. Protein stains such as blood, egg or milk are, at best, difficult to remove from a natural hide because leather is also a protein. Dyes used to re-color a garment typically will not completely cover the stain. Saturated ink stains are virtually impossible to completely remove. Our leather specialist always tries to go as far as possible to remove as much as possible.
  • Chemical burns. Spots appear as puckered areas with a hard center. Caused by contact with moisture combined with heat or other staining substances containing salt, this circumstance results in permanent damage that cannot be reversed.
  • Texture and shading changes. Manufacturers sometimes combine a smoother skin with one that has a slightly more course texture. Different textures respond differently to the cleaning process resulting in some areas being darker than others. It is a natural phenomenon.
  • Leather trim. Leather buttons and piping on fabric sometimes cause problems by releasing color onto adjacent fabric. All attached trim should be able to withstand the care method prescribed on the care label. We test leather trim for colorfastness before cleaning in order to minimize the possibility of this happening.

You’ve probably seen ‘washable suede.’ Unfortunately, we sometimes see it after a trusting consumer has tried to follow care instructions at home. Some home stain removal agents, detergents, and fabric softener additives can cause permanent color disturbance. Even the use of a home washer can cause a problem if the spin cycle is too aggressive. If the drying temperature is off by even just a little, shrinkage or stiffening of the skins may result.

Imitation leather and suede can be difficult to distinguish from the real thing. Even using the most careful cleaning techniques, vinyl or urethane-based imitation leather or suede may be vulnerable to blistering, puckering, stiffening, or become sticky. When in doubt, let us take a look.

Article from Dry Cleaning & Laundry Institute International