Cleaning and Care: Caring for Leather Gloves and Shoes

Caring for and preserving leather shoes and accessories.

Caring for and preserving leather products is a simple process and one that is always worth the results. A few simple tricks that can be used will not only enhance the appearance of your leather shoes and accessories, but also extend their life.

Wipe the dust off regularly. Dust acts as sandpaper to leather, cutting away at the finish with every movement you make. You don’t need to use a special cloth or brush for this, an old rag or towel will do.

Before cleaning leather with any product, be sure and test the product in a place that will not affect the overall look of the shoe or accessory.

Spots on leather can be removed in various ways, depending on the cause of the spot itself. Pencil erasers work well on white leather. Hairspray will help remove ink and pen marks; spray, wipe and blot with a paper towel. Grease and oil stains can be cleaned with rubber cement; apply to the spot, let dry and then rub off.

If none of the above methods seems to work, you can try a solution of 1/2 cup of white vinegar and 1/2 cup of water. This is especially good for removing spots caused by sugar or alcohol.

For overall cleaning, Saddle Soap is still the most recommended product. Once clean, apply Neat’s-foot oil as a conditioner.

Other products that can be used to clean and condition leather are petroleum jelly and Good waterless hand cleaner. Apply a thick coating of either, rubbing in a circular motion and then wipe off with a clean rag. Many people recommend using an old pair of women’s pantyhose to shine the shoes or leather afterwards.

Suede cannot be cleaned with any of these methods. Your best bet is to pick up a ‘suede cleaning kit’ at a shoe store or shoe repair shop. Follow the directions that come with the kit.

In order to help make leather more water repellent, you can buy special products such as ‘Aquatec’ for your good leather and use WD40 for work shoes and gloves.

When the color of your leather begins to fade, you can use a shoe polish to restore the hue. Make sure you pick a polish closest in color to the original. Follow the instruction on the can or bottle.

If your shoes or accessories get thoroughly wet, stuff with newspaper to absorb moisture and help retain the shape. Allow the leather to dry naturally away from direct heat.

Shoe heals and soles can be repaired or replaced if they become run down or thin. Any good shoe store can recommend a shoe repair shop that can do the work, saving you the expense of replacing the entire pair of shoes. This can also allow you to keep wearing that favorite pair of shoes that you cannot replace.

With the right care and maintenance of your leather products, they can and will last for years. One point to consider is that, as in all things, you do get what you pay for. If you purchase a cheap leather product, the lifetime of the leather will be significantly shorter than the lifetime of high quality leather.

Written by Kat Yares – 2002 Pagewise

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