Before we start with the cleaning of leather and suede, – a small insight into the difference between leather and suede. Leather is a natural product which you get from the skin of animals. Animal skin is processed and tanned to make various useful items. Suede is obtained from the underside of the skin of cattle,deer or pig hide and thus is a type of leather. It is relatively soft and has a brushed feel and is more suitable for making accessories for women. Leather is more durable than suede.
- How to keep suede clean?
Suede is more flexible and softer than leather and hence, more expensive and much more difficult to maintain than leather. It gets dirtier faster and is difficult to maintain. It stains easily and even water can stain suede. So suede is not appropriate for wet climates as water damages its suppleness, removes its natural oils and makes it look scuffed.
- Save it from water
If you get caught in a downpour while wearing a suede coat or shoes, you should take care to blot as much water from the garment or shoes with paper towels and then dry the article at room temperature. If it is a pair of shoes or a hat, see that it is stuffed with paper towels so that they hold their shape as they dry off or else they will easily get out of shape.
- Use a Suede brush
You can also use a suede brush to clean your suede. These brushes have a wire bristled side for brushing off mud and dirt and a rubber bristled side for buffing up the suede. You can brush your suede garments, shoes or accessories first with the soft side of the brush and then with the hard side of the brush.
- Suede protector sprays
There are suede protector sprays available at leather stores and these protect the suede from water and other damaging elements. You can remover dry stains using a pencil eraser. Don’t go for a colored eraser as the dye will easily transfer onto your suede. Go for a colorless eraser. If the eraser doesn’t work, you can easily go over the area with a nail file but be very gentle while using it.
The very best way to clean suede leather shoes and apparel of any kind is to take them to the dry cleaners. They might turn out to be quite expensive to maintain over time, but then always remember the money that you have shelled out to buy them. You can save a few bucks by trying to clean them at home but you have to be extra careful or you can cause irreparable damage to your prized possession.
Coloured suede fades quickly and so it is best to store them in dark closets. Make sure that you store them in a dry place because moisture will attract mildew and once you get mildew on your suede or leather you are done forever, as it is very difficult to get rid of it. Do not put suede shoes in plastic covers. Use an old pillowcase instead to store them. In case your suede loses its colour, it can be easily dyed. First clean the article well and once it is free of stains, you can use a commercial dye to change or enhance the colour. You can obtain these dyes from leather repair centres.
- How to keep leather clean
Leather is much easier to keep clean when compared to suede. Water marks and stains can be removed from leather shoes with a little soap and water. If you have stubborn scuff marks you could try dipping a cotton swab in a bit of hand sanitizer and rubbing off the scuff. They come off magically and your fingerprints all over the leather item can be wiped away by using some window cleaner and viola! Your leather is all sparkling and new.
- Home remedies
If you wish to remove sweat stains from your leather you can do it at home very easily. Mix a solution of mild soap in lukewarm water. Swish and swirl the water about to get a great volume of suds. After that use only the suds with a soft sponge and rub it gently onto the leather and wipe it dry with a clean towel. You can clean your leather jacket and leather sofa in this way.
If your leather article has small marks or stains just use baby wipes and start wiping away in a circular motion. Never scrub! But if you have ink stains or tough stains then try using a hairspray. Spray a good amount on the spot and let it sit for around 20 seconds. Then with a piece of cloth rub in a circular motion. You will need to repeat this procedure a couple of times to get rid of the stain completely. If the stain persists you could try using alcohol swabs to take off the stain.
Once you use alcohol, you must be extra careful. Never forget to condition that area as alcohol tends to drain away the natural oils present in the leather. Take a small amount of olive oil or coconut oil and rub it on the spot you just cleaned with alcohol. Then let it dry off and your leather article is as good as new.
Leather can handle a bit of water. You can very well clean your leather jacket or handbag with steam. Your leather sofas also can be cleaned using steam and this is an ideal way to ensure that they are hygienic.
All being said and done,if you find some stubborn stains and marks on your suede or leather items it is definitely better to take these articles to a professional cleaner. They will be able to clean your garments for a reasonable rate and that too pretty quickly. You can get back your costly garments within twenty-four hours.
So, enjoy your leather and suedes and with a wee bit of care these jackets, shoes and accessories will remain your pride and joy for many years.