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Cleaning leather handbags, coats and furniture

Leather is a natural product and therefore is not an easy thing to clean once it has become dirty. It is best to maintain it and then it will be protected from accidental spills and accidents.

This advice applies to anything leather, be it boots, handbags, sofas, jackets anything really. there are so many types and different finishes, what method of care and cleaning to use can be hard to ascertain. Assuming the item is tanned and pigmented (as opposed to patent, suede, etc.) you can try these techniques.

If your item is of great value then I would always seek professional advice.

Leather is very prone to going moldy, mold forms on the leather when it has been stored in a damp place. So you should always bear this in mind when storing your leather products. If your item has got mold on it and you do not want to seek the advice of a professional then you must dry the product out. Do not put close to direct heat as that will damage the leather but hang it up in a warm room. When the item is fully dry then you can remove the mold with a damp cloth. Allow it to dry out again.

You now need to clean the leather. This advice follows for for items that have not become moldy.

The first thing to try is simply wipe down with a damp cloth or sponge then allow to dry. Another way and probably the best way to clean a leather is with 'saddle soap' which you may find at a good leather shop. Then you need to give it a good coat of quality leather polish, regularly. It'll keep the leather soft and semi waterproof. You can never fully waterproof leather regardless of what the manufacturers say.

You should also consider using a specifically made leather cleaner. Follow the directions. If the piece has cleaned up to your satisfaction then treat it with a conditioner to restore its luster and replace the leatherís natural oils. (Always test these products on an inconspicuous area before using).

If the leather has become discolored, there are available leather sprays that can restore color to the item. Simply match the color as close as possible to the original.

Finally, if you are in doubt, I recommend seeking the advice of a professional leather cleaner, especially if it an expensive item. They will have the expertise to repair the piece as close as possible to the original color and condition


Donít try cleaners, solvents and other usually normal cleaning solutions on leather. It is by nature a very porous material and often cannot be completely restored.

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