Of all the items in our closet, you probably rely the most on your leather essentials (everything from jackets and skirts to bags and boots). Accordingly, we have a hunch you also might be interested in extending the life of these investment pieces. Happily, with the right products on hand, you can do it right at home without breaking the bank. All you need is the help of expert cobbler and owner of one of the most trusted and brand-approved leather cleaners in Los Angeles, Pasquale Fabrizio of Pasquale Shoe Repair. Keep reading for his foolproof tips and tricks for protecting, cleaning, and storing leather.
Before you take your new leather boots or jacket out for a spin, apply a protectant to shield the fabric from possible dirt stains. “Meltonian Water and Stain Protector ($5) works to prevent stains from actually penetrating the fabric, so they’re easier to lift out,” Fabrizio says.
1. Run A Test
Though protectors work on all leather, discoloration can occur, so Fabrizio suggests testing a small amount on the inside lining of clothing and bags.
2. Apply The Protector
If it passes the test, simply use a damp rag and apply the formula to the entire surface, then let it sit for a couple of minutes before wiping off.
Cleaning and Conditioning
Leather can withstand a ton of wear, but as we’ve learned the hard way, the sturdy fabric isn’t stain-resistant. Fabrizio recommends two products to help get rid of dirt spots and maintain the quality of the leather.
1. All-In-One Cleaner
According to Fabrizio, Meltonian’s All-Purpose Cleaner and Conditioner ($4) is one of the best cleaners, as it helps get rid of grime and restores the leather’s softness. Test before using and apply to the entire surface with a damp rag.
2. Mild Detergent
“Woolite Everyday Laundry Detergent ($8) helps lighten dirt sports and breaks down surface stains,” Fabrizio says. Using a damp rag, rub the detergent onto the spot--not the entire surface--and wait a few minutes before wiping clean.
Believe it or not, your leather goods can get damaged while sitting in the closet, so keep these next two tips in mind before storing away your favorite pieces for the season.
Fabrizio advises his clients to massage Meltonian’s Delicate Cream ($3) into the leather, which helps to condition and soften the fabric. (Note: the leather will darken at first, but returns to its natural color after a few minutes.)
2. Use Cloth Bags
Repeat after us: never use plastic bags when storing leather! “Plastic bags cause the leather to dry up quicker,” Fabrizio says. He suggests using cloth bags instead. Patent leather shoes should be stored individually, meaning one shoe per bag, to avoid prints or other leather goods from transferring underneath the surface.