How to care for your leather apparel?

Below is an excellent article that I fished out from http://www.clothingdictionary.com! A must read for all the leather lovers out there!

The care of your leather clothing and leather lingerie is very important to keep it in like new condition. The most important thing to do is to follow the manufacturers care instructions. Some other things that you can do are:

· If your leather clothing or leather lingerie becomes wet, let it dry at room temperature.

· If your leather clothing or leather lingerie becomes stained, gently blot liquid stains with a clean cloth.

· It is a good idea to use a repellent product to condition your leather item.

· Store your leather clothing or leather lingerie on a wide wooden, plastic or padded hanger to help maintain the shape.

· Do not store your leather clothing or leather lingerie in a hot or damp area.

· Leather clothing and leather lingerie needs to be stored in a temperature controlled environment.

· If you will be covering your leather when you are storing it; cover it with a breathable cloth like cotton sheets.

· Do not cover your leather clothing or leather lingerie with plastic. The plastic will cause the leather to dry out.

· Avoid exposing your leather to direct sunlight for prolonged periods of time.

All leather items can last for a lifetime if they are regularly maintained and treated well. Leather is skin and just as you would clean your own, you need to clean and nourish your leather to help retain its durability and texture.

Preservation:

· Leather conditioners should be applied with a soft cloth to not only help in the cleaning process, but to also provide good water repellent properties.

Cleaning:

· Continual contact with moisture (sweat, rain, urine, alcohol, etc.,) can cause the leather to stiffen. Before you start cleaning the full surface of your leather item, test out the cleaner on a smaller, less visible area. Wait a few minutes. If you don’t notice any color distortion, proceed with the rest of the item.

· When cleaning your leather NEVER use strong detergents such as laundry detergent. Always choose a product that helps preserve the leather’s natural lubricating oils rather than strip them away. Most cleaning products sold in department and shoe stores are safe. But, it never hurts to ask.

· Warm soapy water, using baby shampoo or a similar soap, is the best cleaning solution for removing difficult or oily marks, stains or odors. Rub baby shampoo into the area of any oily stains before rinsing. Try to avoid cleaners that leave any sort of grease or residue. Residue can make leather vulnerable to bacteria, which will tarnish the leather and eventually break down the stitching. To remove the excess cleaner, use a slightly dampened cloth or a small brush around the stitching.

· Make sure soap/shampoo is rinsed out thoroughly to avoid stiffening.

· Leather should never be dried in front of a direct heat source as this damages the leather and also causes the hide to stiffen. Make sure to clean and treat your leather before it’s dry. Never use heat to dry leather (it should air-dry) and always stuff the garment while it’s drying, in order to make sure it maintains its shape.

· When storing leather articles, don’t throw them to the bottom of the wardrobe, instead hang them up and make sure they are ventilated to prevent them from molding.

· Get a Nubuck cloth; it’s a great leather care tool for cleaning and restoring your item to its original look.

· Clean your leather goods as often as you need to and make sure they’re dust-free at all times.

· Never use caustic household chemicals to clean your leather items.

Removing Stains and Smells from Leather Clothing and Leather Lingerie:

Sweat: When the leather becomes slightly stiffened or an itchy irritation occurs, this is usually a sign that sweat has permeated the leather. Washing in warm water with baby shampoo or fabric softener will help soften the leather and remove the irritation.

Odors: To remove odors, use a teaspoon of bicarbonate soda crystals in about 1 quart/liter of warm water and let the solution soak into the skin.

Oils and Oil Based Lubricants: These can be difficult to remove. Use baby shampoo or a similar soap in a few tablespoons of water and rubbing slowly onto the spots can help their removal. Rinse thoroughly. As another alternative, most oil or grease stains can be lifted by grinding up blackboard chalk, sprinkling it onto the affected area, and leaving the powder on for one full day.

Wax: Place blotting paper or brown paper on the leather and then apply a cool/moderate iron to remove wax from leather. Keep applying the iron on clean blotting or brown paper, to the wax spot until the paper is no longer absorbing the wax.

Urine Stains: Uric acid found in urine is very damaging to leather. When leather has been in contact with urine, it should be washed out immediately after use with warm soapy water (baby shampoo). Leaving urine-stained items overnight can cause irreparable damage.

Blood Stains: Leather becomes stiff and odorous if blood is allowed to dry. If blood gets on your leather clothing or leather lingerie, hand wash immediately.

Hygiene: Germs can be killed by soaking leather clothes in 1 teaspoon bleach to 1 gallon of water for up to 1/2 hour. Rinse thoroughly and hand wash immediately after bleaching. Bleaching can damage leather so minimal use is necessary.

Removing Mold and Mildew: In case mildew builds up, mix one cup of rubbing alcohol with one cup of water. Dip a clean cloth in the solution and wipe the mildewed area. For more persistent mildew, use mild soap containing germicide and water. Wipe the excess soap with a clean cloth and let dry.

Washing Leather Clothing and Leather Lingerie:

· Hand wash in warm water.

· Use baby shampoo, mild soap or fabric softener. DO NOT use laundry detergent.

· Gently squeeze the water from the leather clothing or leather lingerie. Do not twist or wring as this can cause the garment to crease or wrinkle.

· Make sure to completely dry all metal fittings or they can rust.

· Lay out flat on clean, dry towel to soak up extra moisture. Dry at room temperature without direct heat. It can take 48 – 72 hours to dry depending on the garment.

· Apply leather conditioner with a soft cloth. Be sure to remove all excess leather conditioner. Do not apply leather conditioner to the suede side of leather.

· Always store in a well ventilated area.

If in doubt, have your leather clothing or leather lingerie professionally cleaned. Many quality dry cleaners offer this service.

Metal Fittings:

Most buckles, rivets, studs, snaps, rings, etc., are nickel plated steel with the exception of chain which is chrome plated steel and other metal fittings that are brass coated. If the fittings are not cleaned regularly or cleaned and dried after contact with moisture, rusting will occur. When cleaning leather with conditioner, applying the conditioner to the metal fittings will increase their longevity. Surface rust can be removed with chrome cleaner, Autosol, WD40 (nickel), or Brasso (brass).
For leather clothing and leather lingerie, it is recommended to look for manufacturers that no longer use nickel plating. Aside from the above mentioned problems, many people have a sensitivity or allergy to nickel which can cause painful irritations where it comes into contact with the skin.

Repairing Damage to Your Leather Clothing and Leather Lingerie:

If your leather clothing and leather lingerie becomes scuffed or scratched, scuff marks and scratches on leather can be disguised by applying a shoe polish/leather dye or marker pen. Test on inside of hem first to make sure shade isn’t too dark/light. Stitching which has been broken is best repaired with a heavy duty sewing machine. Many dry cleaners offer professional leather cleaning and repair services.

Conditioning Your Leather Clothing and Leather Lingerie:

· All types of leather need conditioning. The fats and/or oils found in conditioners help lubricate leather and replenish its suppleness.

· Beware of products that contain petroleum or mineral oils; they will damage your leather goods over time.

· Similar to cleaning products, avoid conditioners that leave thick, greasy residue. Instead, look for products that penetrate the leather’s fibers.

· Condition your leather items several times during the season. Do so more often if the item is exposed to hot sunny conditions or moisture.

· If your leather has been dampened, restore its flexibility by applying a bit of conditioner just before it dries out completely. Lexol is generally a good conditioner for most leathers.

Polishing Your Leather Clothing and Leather Lingerie:

· For a clean and glossy finish, polish your leather item with a fine polishing agent. Be careful when polishing, as some products contain coloring agents that might stain the leather’s natural color.

· Some products might also clog the leather’s pores, causing permanent damage. This is usually the case for waxes and many silicon-based products. (Again, you should always test out a new product on a small, less visible area before proceeding with the rest of the item.) Also, keep in mind that using mink oil or other animal fats might darken leather.

· Buff your leather to a shine.

Protecting Your Leather Clothing and Leather Lingerie:

· Protection is perhaps the most important step of leather care. Obviously, you should try to protect every new leather item before wearing it.

· It’s recommended that you protect your leather item against moisture such as rain, snow, sweat, and other liquid hazards. Unprotected leather will stiffen and crack rather quickly. Again, beware of the protector you choose. Some protectors might fill the leather’s pores with grease, which will eventually make cleaning, conditioning and polishing more difficult.

· Always apply leather protector on clean, dry leather. Apply it periodically and make sure the item is dry before wearing it.

· Several types of leather require more specialized maintenance. If in doubt, have your leather cleaned and maintained professionally.

· Tana Style 16 Protective Spray protects leather from moisture and staining, and is recommended for all types of leather.

Storing Your Leather Clothing and Leather Lingerie – Leather Storage Tips:

· Always store your leather items in cool, dry places.

· Never store leather in plastic bags or other nonporous covers or containers.

· When hanging leather pants or jackets, avoid using metal hangers.

· Always stuff empty leather handbags with newspaper and use shoetrees when storing leather shoes and boots.

The trials and tribulations of starting up a laundry service!

Earlier this year, I had a brainwave! A random article in the newspaper and the confidence of having all the synergies and expertise in place, propelled me to come up with a laundry service exclusively for leather products! I took the plunge! A typical start-up story unfolded! 6 months of going through the grind, and The Leather Laundry was launched! Yippee! I was super excited! Ready to take this unique market by storm. Who was to know what lay ahead of me! I got my first order for a pair of shoes! The boy had given his cherished pair of Nike leather sneakers to us!

Case in question:

He had given his shoes to a local cobbler a year back! The sod had generously applied dark shoe polish on his light tan/brown shoes, making them a horrendous dark brown/dirty black! Not to mention that he also managed to create a scuff mark on the shoe-tip in the process! The boy was aghast and decided to keep the shoes hidden away in some dark corner of his closet! Then TLL happened! I got his shoes picked up! There were spots of tan brown (the original colour) here and there but it was overall a dirty dusty black!

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Our technician got down to the job. The first hurdle was getting the right colour! Colour matching is one hell of a task, not to mention that colours take on different shades in different lights! What looks like a tan brown on yellow light, looks orange in broad daylight and a chocolate brown in tube light!

Lesson learnt : Always carry out the exercise of colour matching in sunlight/natural light!

Does the customer want a single colour/two-tone? Damn! I had to send him pictures of several iterations back and forth!

Finally he settled down on one!

Then I had to get the shoe fixed, to prevent colour bleeding! But the fixing coat spoilt the feel/finish of the shoe!

Once the original finish was restored , the last battle was to make sure that the edges of the shoe were fixed (white edges became a tan brown because of the colour sprayed by the air gun!)

Finally the pair of shoes were packed and ready to be delivered!

Phew!

End result : A happy customer!

Totally worth it!

The leather Laundry Founder

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How to remove an ink stain from a Sheep Nappa Bag

We got this sheep nappa bag from our patron recently! It was in a two-tone colour! There was a pen mark here and there and it was generally dirty all over.

The Leather Laundry’s expert team of technicians skilfully fixed both the issues!

The ink-mark was removed, the general dirt was wiped off and the bags came out as good as new! Original look and feel were retained! The two-tone was left undisturbed!

This is what we call a job well done!

Home remedies for leather cleaning are a myth! Leather is a technical product of nature! It has a specialised cleaning procedure which is designed to maintain the the natural oil and moisture content of the animal hide!

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