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 Leather Cleaning and Maintenance: Good Practices

A leather object, whether it is a garment, a bag, a pair of shoes, or a living room is an object that has a certain cost and that one wishes to keep as long as possible. It is therefore very important to give it certain care because proper maintenance of the leather will optimize its lifespan. It is a living material that cannot withstand all types of treatment. It is, therefore, necessary to learn how to treat it well so that it can stay with you for years to come.

But, before maintaining it, it is sometimes necessary to clean it because the treatment applied would deeply penetrate the dirt present on the surface, which would be irremediable.


Whether it is stained, more or less dusty, various techniques or stain removal products are often offered. Some common points serve as a basis for care and it is necessary to familiarize yourself with them before you start.


When cleaning saddlebags, and unless otherwise indicated, use cotton wool, in a ball or the form of make-up removing rings. You will proceed in circular movements, without ever insisting too much and limiting friction as much as possible. Another important point is to always test the stain remover in an invisible place before treating the entire surface. If ever a problem occurs, you could switch products without real disaster. In any event, if the color of the leather does show up on the cotton, there is a problem and the current treatment should be stopped.


The following products and their method of application are the most common:

The water

Although it does not seem very logical, water is a solution in case light dusting is sufficient. For smooth surfaces (which do not have the appearance of velvet), wipe with a slightly damp cloth and dry with another if necessary.

Cleansing milk

Cleansing milk or milk for cleaning babies is very effective. You should pour small amounts of milk on the cotton and apply it in circular motions over the entire surface of the sofa, jacket, or any leather object. Cotton should be changed as soon as it gets dirty. After allowing it to dry, wipe it with a soft cloth.


It will be used in the case of a fragile or slightly worn garment. The technique to be used will be identical to using cleansing milk. Glycerin can be purchased at pharmacies and relatively inexpensively.

Glycerine soap

It can be used as a substitute for pure glycerin, especially when cleaning pants, where the surface is more important. A damp sponge will be rubbed with the soap. The cleaning is done in circular motions and the sponge will be rinsed regularly. As soon as an area is cleaned, wipe it dry with a rag to remove dirt and do not rinse. Glycerin nourishes and softens the surface of the cloth. Then, apply a moisturizer and let dry for about eight hours, before polishing with a soft cloth. Thus, the skin of your pants will regain all its flexibility and shine.


It allows you to clean very dirty garments. Its effectiveness can go so far as to remove an ink stain on a vest, which is quite an achievement. Claystone can be bought in organic stores and the vast majority of DIY stores or supermarkets. To apply it, lather the stone with the sponge provided and moisten it. Run the sponge over the vest and rinse with another sponge to remove all traces of clay. Then dry the treated surface with a soft cloth.


Nubuck and suede require very specific care that requires the purchase of a specialized kit, and yes, it is not imitation adornment!

A scraper (soft brush) will remove all dust and dirt. A spray suede cleaner followed by immediate brushing will remove stubborn stains. Suede eraser and brushing should get rid of deeper stains a spray waterproofing will prevent the vast majority of stains in the future and facilitate the maintenance of nubuck.


Now that we have detailed some of the best practices for caring, it is equally important to list what absolutely must not be done. While some errors may seem logical, others are much more difficult to discern because they are anchored in our habits.

Never put your adornments in the washing machine or iron them. He would be ruined. Such clothing must not be exposed for too long a period to the sun, the moon, or a source of heat (radiator, fire). This exposure would cause it to dry out, a lightening of the color, or even cracks. A bomber jacket should always be stored on a hanger wide enough so as not to deform it. It should never be treated with an abrasive material (sponge, hard brush, sandpaper) and even less scraped to remove a stain, for example. This would change its texture or permanently remove its color. The application of acetone or another solvent irreparably strikes the shoe polish, while not inherently bad, can only be applied to shoes. Shoe polish is a paste that stays on the surface and clogs the pores of the leather. Although some good quality shoe polishes have some nutritional properties they will prevent the garment from breathing and will eventually crack.

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