How to Clean Leather the Right Way

“How do you clean leather?” If you’re here, that means you’ve entered that question into your search bar at least once, if not multiple times. And it’s a good question to ask because, as you clearly know, leather is truly timeless. “Leather has become more versatile and, as a result, more luxurious over the years,” says Alton Hetariki, a fashion director with over 21 years of styling experience. “It’s no longer just an overcoat—it comes in various forms, styles, shapes, and it never goes out of style.” 

Only if you take care of it, that is. Regardless of whether you own leather clothing, accessories, luggage, or furniture—or all of the above—the material requires proper attention and treatment. We asked experts for simple steps on how to clean leather as well as which care products they recommend. Now you too can make your leather last forever.

How do you clean and restore leather?

According to “lifelong servant of the leather craft” Tanner Leatherstein, leather restoration “is a professional task that requires specialized experience and skills.” However, Leatherstein says, cleaning leather is different and can be done with a soft dry cloth via gentle wiping motions. 

But before you even begin, learn what kind of leather you’re dealing with, says Natalie Alexandrou, product development manager at Edinburgh-based luxury leather-goods maker Strathberry. That’s because each kind of leather requires different methods and products. It makes sense—much like your skin care routine, caring for the material should be tailored to the specific hide used and is usually a multistep process. And it’s all about cleansing and conditioning.

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