Leather and suede garments are not only luxurious and exotic, they are also comfortable, durable and versatile. Their higher cost and unique properties mean they require expert care and cleaning in order to prolong their useful life.
Garments made of leather and suede are prized for their uniqueness. When shopping for a leather and suede garment you should know that thickness, gaining, and oil content are not necessarily consistent, even within the same hide. This will impact the overall look and uniformity of your garment. Here are some tips to help you make an informed purchase:
Always purchase from a reputable retailer.
Although there will be some colour variation, particularly in suedes, choose garments with careful matching of colours and textures.
Avoid an overly snug fit, as hides are stretched during tanning and will experience some shrinkage in the cleaning process.
Look for care labels. Be sure to read the care information, follow the care instructions and save them for future reference.
Look for garments with as few panels as possible. The more panels there are, the more likely it is that your garment is made up of hides from several different animals, or from different areas of the same animal. Garments with many panels may wear unevenly.
Although leather and suede should always be cleaned by a professional, there are some things you can do at home to get the maximum life from your garments:
Wear a scarf to protect the collar area from perspiration and body oils.
If the garment gets wet, let it air dry away from direct heat.
Store suedes and leathers in a cool, ventilated area. Leather can dry out if exposed to dry heat or mildew, or if stored in a hot, humid environment.
Do not store leather or suede in plastic
When it is time to bring your leather and suede garments to your dry cleaner for a professional cleaning keep these things in mind:
Bring along any care information that came with the garment.
Point out any stains and identify what they might be and when they happened.
Clean all matching pieces at the same time to maintain consistency and quality of colour matching.
Unlike any other garment in your closet, leathers and suedes retain the individual properties of the animal from which they were taken. While the manufacturers make every effort to match skins as uniformly as possible, there may still be some variance in texture, weight, and colour. Dry cleaning may have an effect on your garment and some of these can be corrected by the cleaner:
There may be some loss of colour which can be corrected with spray dying in most cases.
Occasionally, some of the oils used in the tanning process may be lost. Special additives can help restore the suppleness.
After cleaning, your garment may feel snugger. It will relax as you wear it.
When it is time for cleaning, you can be assured your Ontario Fabricare Association member leather and suede specialists will make every effort to clean and restore your garments to a like-new condition. Ask your current dry cleaner if they use an OFA leather specialist. For a list of cleaners near you visit search OFA members.
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