Leather is one of the most expensive and popular materials from which clothing, shoes and furniture are made. Strong, durable and of natural origin, it has a long tradition.
As early as 5,300 years ago, people made their shoes from the tanned animal skin, as evidenced by the glacier mummy "Ötzi", whose shoes are made from three different layers of leather. Unfortunately, we don't know how Ötzi got them clean, but how it works today, so much the better.
Before you start cleaning, you should thoroughly remove dust and dirt from the leather. A soft brush or a microfiber cloth is suitable for this. Logical: The leather has to be dry. If you have just walked through a shower and now want to clean your jacket or shoes, let them dry first. However, this should not be done near a heater, direct sunlight or even with a hair dryer, because the heat could damage the leather.
Once the first dirt has been removed, it's time to get down to business. Saddle soap is particularly suitable for smooth leather. This is a special soap that not only cleans the leather, but also cares for it. Compared to normal soap, saddle soap has a moisturizing effect. This is important for leather because otherwise it runs the risk of drying out and cracking, which of course we want to avoid.
Fortunately, the handling is no different from normal soap: Simply apply to the leather with a soft cloth or sponge and work in carefully. Avoid excessive pressure or friction to avoid damaging the leather.
Then wipe the leather jacket or sofa again with a damp cloth and let it dry. If necessary, repeat the process until all stains or impurities are removed.
But that's not all: After cleaning, you should rub leather with a leather care lotion or leather oil to protect it from drying out and the associated risk of cracking. Important: The leather must be dry for this. You should also test the oil on an inconspicuous area of the leather and see how it reacts.
If everything is safe, apply the care lotion or oil thinly to the leather and rub it in carefully. Again, you have to wait until the leather has absorbed oil or lotion before you can use your shoes, jacket or furniture again. If the shoes you are cleaning are leather, it is a good idea to treat them with a waterproofing spray for extra protection.
First of all, it is important to differentiate between suede and nubuck as well as smooth leather. Suede and nubuck require special care because they are more sensitive than smooth leather, which is why the use of special brushes and cleaning agents is recommended.
So-called crepe brushes are suitable for suede. This is a natural rubber brush with a rough surface. In addition to removing impurities, the surface works to restore the texture of the suede.
As an alternative to the crepe brush, there are also special suede sponges. In the case of heavy soiling, you should also avoid using saddle soap or other strong cleaning agents. A gentle cleaning agent such as Schrader's sensitive leather cleaner is more suitable here.
According to the manufacturer, all you have to do is apply the cleaner to the leather with a damp cloth and clean the dirty areas. However, you should not treat suede with balm or oil afterwards, as this will damage the structure of the leather.
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