How to Clean Patent Leather in a Few Easy Steps


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From '90s-inspired miniskirts to high-impact clutches, patent leather is definitely having a moment. With a retro-luxe texture and photogenic glossiness, few fabrics are as eye-catching. No matter what time of the year, there's no substitute for patent-leather jackets, belts, or ankle boots and their cool, sleek finish. But keeping these beloved pieces looking like new is often easier said than done, and knowing how to clean patent leather is an essential any time of the year. Luckily, there are a few easy, go-to methods to keep your patent leather clean. Read on to learn how to clean patent leather in just a few easy steps.

What You'll Need

To get started, gather the following:

Mineral oil or olive oil

Two microfiber cloths

A bowl of clean water

Scotch tape

magic eraser

For Scuff Marks

One of the most common issues afflicting patent leather is scuff marks, especially when it comes to shoes. Fortunately, this is also one of the easiest issues to resolve. Simply dip one of the microfiber cloths into a bit of olive oil, and then gently massage the surface of the leather, paying special attention to scuffed areas. Leave the oil on for about 20 minutes, and then wipe it off completely using the clean, dry cloth.

Routine Cleaning

For handbags, dust and grime can accumulate almost without one noticing. For routine cleaning, dampen a microfiber cloth with clean water and then thoroughly wipe the surface of the material.

Use the second cloth to dry the piece thoroughly, paying special attention to rivets and creases if you're working with a handbag that includes a significant amount of detailing or features an unusual shape.

For Stains

While stains vary widely in impact and ease of removal, there are two fairly reliable methods for cleaning patent leather:

For fresh stains, apply a bit of Scotch tape directly to the stain. Since patent leather is resistant to a number of common substances, peeling the tape off will, in many cases, remove the mark completely.

You can also try using a magic eraser sponge in addition to the regular cleaning process. If you decide to go this route, be sure to test a small, less noticeable patch of patent leather first, as certain variations can lose their finish with anything more aggressive than a soft cloth.

For Patent-Leather Clothing

While the outside surface of patent-leather clothing can be cleaned in the same way, some articles of clothing may call for dry cleaning. To be on the safe side, consult the care instructions on a case-by-case basis. When in doubt, it may be worth checking in with a professional.

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This story was published at an earlier date and has been recently updated.

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