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Homemade leather treatment to keep it looking brand new

Strong and durable, leather will last a long time if treated with care. Instead of using expensive, chemical-laden leather care products, lean toward home remedies that have stood the test of time to protect your garments, gloves, belts and bags.

Homemade leather treatment to keep it looking brand new

We wear or carry leather products that come in a variety of colours and types just about every day. Follow these ground rules to ensure that they look and feel great:

Leather garments

  • Never leave leather items too long in the sun because intense sunlight can leave leather mottled.
  • Allow wet leather garments to dry at room temperature — not in the sun or near a heat source. Otherwise, the leather may become brittle, or in some cases, even release toxic compounds.
  • Brush suede well after drying. Occasionally treat suede and nubuck with a special brush that lifts the nap.
  • Use a rubber eraser or suede eraser to rub down dirty collars and cuffs.
  • Clean white leather with a little milk.
  • Wash leather garments in water no hotter than 30°C (86°F), and only when absolutely necessary.

Gloves

  • Rub black leather gloves with the inside of a banana peel to make them shine like new.
  • Wash suede gloves in soap and water with a few drops of ammonia. Squeeze the water through the gloves carefully by hand, and then squeeze it out again before laying them flat to dry.
  • Rub a little castor oil into old, stiff leather gloves to bring back their flexibility.
  • Place tight gloves between damp cloths for a few hours, then put them on while still damp to stretch them out. No need to keep them on until they're dry — just wear them for a few minutes.

Belts and bags

  • Clean coloured leather belts and bags occasionally with a damp cloth, then allow to dry at room temperature, far from the sun — otherwise, they may lose their colour.
  • Clean dusty, dirty leather suitcases long stored in the basement with a solution of equal parts milk and turpentine.
  • Clean your hardworking leather briefcase with 5 millilitres (one teaspoon) of rubbing alcohol and 250 millilitres (one cup) of water.
  • To maintain leather suitcases, apply castor oil generously. Let it soak in for a few hours, then buff with a soft cloth.

Proper storage

  • Leather needs to breathe. Never store in a plastic bag.
  • Hang belts in your closet or roll them in a cloth bag.
  • Store leather garments that you no longer wear in fabric clothing bags.
  • Fill soft handbags with newspaper to help keep their shape.
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