DIY Leather Cleaning

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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.

DIY Leather Cleaning

  • 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.
  • To remove dirt, mix equal parts lemon juice and cream of tartar until it forms a paste.  Use a soft cloth to work the paste into the spot. You can let it sit for up to several hours if needed to remove the stain. Later, apply a little more paste and work it in, and then wipe all the paste off.
  • To remove salt deposits, mix equal parts water and white vinegar.  Dip a cloth into the mixture and blot it over areas the areas that have salt on them. Repeat this as needed until the salt is gone.
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