Buying and Cleaning Leather and Suede Clothing

March 23, 2019

Leather looks good and you look good wearing it. To keep it that way, CLEAN IT EVERY YEAR. Our leather specialist knows how to best clean and restore your leather garment. Always clean all matching items at the same time. If staining occurs, bring it to us as soon as possible. DO NOT try to remove spots yourself.

And because we are very good at what we do, if there are concerns about a particular garment, we’ll take time to advise you before proceeding.

Selecting a Leather Garment

  • Buy from a reputable retailer
  • Look for careful matching of textures and colors throughout the garment; however, suede will never be completely uniform
  • Avoid a snug fit. Some relaxation shrinkage can be expected in use and cleaning
  • Read and save accompanying leather care information

To Keep Your Leather Looking its Best Between Cleaning

  • Wear a scarf to protect the collar area from body oils and perspiration. Heavy staining of any kind and ground-in dirt is not a friend of leather.
  • Allow leather to air-dry away from heat if it gets wet.
  • When you’re not wearing it, keep it in a cool ventilated area. Leather can dry-out or mildew if stored in a hot or humid environment. Leather like the same comfortable environment that you like.
  • Never leave leather in a plastic bag.

Leather is a natural animal hide – not a piece of fabric, so even with the latest and best care technologies, some change of appearance can result. When you purchased your leather garment, it probably had a hang tag that emphasized the nature of the variances in color and textures as characteristics that make each garment unique. That’s a nice way of summarizing the following information.

  • Hides from different areas of different animals are used. A good manufacturer tries to match hides, texture, weight, and color with uniformity. But variations may be accentuated after cleaning.
  • Scar tissue and vein marks are inherent to natural hides. It is typical that scar tissue or other imperfections are ‘filled’ before dyeing. The result is that dry cleaning may reveal these imperfections.
  • Naturally occurring wrinkles are made less noticeable by the leather tanner through a special process. These wrinkles may reappear over time with natural ageing. The agitation of cleaning can accelerate this condition.
  • The danger of overstretched hides – When cleaned relaxation shrinkage in one or more hides will cause a change in the dimensions of the garment. In most instances, when you wear your garment this snugness should dissipate, once again conforming to the size and comfort you enjoy. Snugness can also occur over time, as the various hides tend to return to their most natural dimension.
  • Poorly formulated construction adhesives can dissolve during cleaning causing shaded areas. This is most often noticeable around seams and hems.
  • Spots and stains. Protein stains such as blood, egg or milk are, at best, difficult to remove from a natural hide because leather is also a protein. Dyes used to re-color a garment typically will not completely cover the stain. Saturated ink stains are virtually impossible to completely remove. Our leather specialist always tries to go as far as possible to remove as much as possible.
  • Chemical burns. Spots appear as puckered areas with a hard center. Caused by contact with moisture combined with heat or other staining substances containing salt, this circumstance results in permanent damage that cannot be reversed.

Utopia Cleaners provides dry cleaning and wash, dry and fold services for leather and suede garments. Bring your garments to one of our dry cleaners in Newton, Boston, Woburn or Arlington, or use our laundry delivery service.