Leather can be tricky to clean, which is why it’s never a bad idea to take it to a professional. But can you safely clean it yourself? Absolutely. Here’s what you need to know.
- Whatever method you try, always test it on a small patch of the leather that isn’t visible. The inside of a zipper lining, for example. That way, if anything goes wrong, you haven’t ruined the entire piece.
- Regularly dust the surface with a soft cloth – this is general maintenance.
- A damp cloth with saddle soap or moisturizing soap can be used to lather the leather. Never rinse the soap off: buff it off, and it’ll shine. A dry towel works well for this.
- When leather is damp, always blow it dry with a hair dryer. Never leave it in sunlight.
- You can polish leather with a dry towel
With those basic rules in mind, here are the specifics. To remove spots:
- Rubbing alcohol. Put it on a cotton swab or ball, and rub the spot. Leave it overnight; in the morning you can wipe it off with a damp cloth.
- From DIY Network, a homemade recipe: mix equal parts lemon juice and cream of tartar until it forms a paste. “Simply work the paste into the spot with a soft cloth, and if soils remain after working it in, let it sit for a few hours. Come back and apply a little more paste, work it in and wipe clean.”
- Also from DIY Network, a way to remove road salt from leather shoes or coats: mix equal parts water and white vinegar. “Take a cloth and dip into the solution, blot over the shoes or coat lightly to remove the salt. You may have to do this several times to clean the entire surface. When you finish they should look almost like new. Be sure to wipe leather shoes with a damp cloth frequently, and keep them well polished with a paste.”