If you’re looking for a stylish and durable accessory to last you season after season, leather should be your immediate go-to. But if you want to start a long-term relationship with your new leather love affair, you’ll need to give it some regular TLC to keep it looking as gorgeous as ever.
The best place to start is to find good quality leather, like the bespoke leather used in Joules’ leather accessories and footwear. We’re also proud that all of our leather handbags are sourced from Leather Working Group approved tanneries – helping us to reduce the impact our leather has on the environment.
We’ve asked our Senior Accessories Technologist Frankie O’Dowd for her advice on how to care for your leather — a self-confessed “leather nerd”, we knew she was the right person to go to! So, if you’re looking for how to care for leather boots or how to care for a leather jacket, you’ve come to the right place, or if you want to treat yourself to some luxury leather accessories, our collection of women’s bags and purses is a good place to start.
“Caring for your leather goods will help them age gracefully and will extend the life of them too. As a natural material, leather will have irregularities, but they’re not imperfections. Often small marks can be reduced by lightly buffing the leather with a dry cloth — if you’re going to use any product on your leather, always try a small inconspicuous patch first.”
Below is a guide to help you keep your favourite leather clean and looking as good as new. Cleaning leather is a great way to preserve the beauty of a product and increase longevity so you can enjoy years of wear. Whether you have a collection of full grain leather, or you need advice on nubuck leather care, you will find the answers in our ultimate leather care guide.
“Leather is a natural product so it’s really simple and straightforward – be gentle, and if possible brush any dirt off first, then wipe with a damp cloth, and finally buff with a soft, clean cloth.”
“Use a specialist suede brush to gently buff away marks. For heavier stains, remove them with a damp cloth, but be careful not to use too much water as this could mark the leather.”
“Sponge the leather with a damp cloth to remove any surface dirt, and brush lightly in the direction of the pile with a soft brush to maintain its look and feel.”
“Leather should always be stored in a cool, dry place, out of the way of anywhere it could get scuffed or marked.”
“At Joules, we always provide you with a dust bag for your leather accessories. Make sure you use this, as it helps to keep them dust-free and safe from any scrapes.”
“Never store leather when it’s wet, as it can go mouldy. Let it dry out naturally, or dab with a dry cloth. It’s best to avoid prolonged exposure to wet conditions, so maybe keep your best bag at home on the rainiest of days.”
“Horror of horrors – a pen has leaked on your leather bag, or a large glass of red wine has landed on it. What to do? You love your bag, you’ve had it for ages, but it’s borderline ruined… nil desperandum. Wipe off any excess you can with a damp cloth and head to the dry cleaners ASAP.”
“As an Accessories Technologist I can only recommend dry cleaners who use a non-toxic, silicone-based cleaning solution instead of Perchloroethylene, which is a harsh, toxic petrochemical that can shrink and fade your leather.”
“Get to know your dry cleaner — the best ones are passionate about what they do and really care about looking after your garments.”
“Be nice to your leather – if it gets wet, don’t leave it near a radiator as this can dry the leather out and age it.”
“If a seam comes loose or a handle breaks, a cobbler or even a saddler will usually be able to mend it for you for a small fee.”
“I also recommend going to your local saddlery shop, cobblers or leather upholsters and having a chat with folk who work with leather all the time. They have great ideas and specialist products they can recommend.”
“If the handles on your bag are looking a little grubby, a wash with glycerine saddle soap then left to air dry soon sorts them out, followed by a buff with some leather conditioner. I prefer products that have lots of bee’s wax, lanolin and other natural ingredients in them, as I’m not a big fan of artificial polishes.”
“For coloured leather – treating minor scuffs with a matching shoe polish (be sure to make sure you clean it and buff it off fully or you may mark your clothes) can bring your leather back to looking lovely after a minor scrape or damage.”
Leather is a durable and hardwearing material made from the tanning of animal hide. Although leather is most commonly made using cowhide, it can also be made using the rawhides of other animals including sheep and pigs.
Leather shoes and boots make for great everyday footwear so it’s only natural they need a good clean every once in a while. First, gently beat the soles together outside to remove any dried-on dirt. Secondly, wipe all over with a damp cloth to remove any stuck-on dirt and then once dry, give them a good buff with some shoe polish.
Firstly, wipe the leather jacket down with a dry cloth to remove any dried dirt. Then wash all over with a damp cloth to give the jacket a thorough clean. Finish off with some leather protector spray to keep it protected from the weather and looking as good as new.
Thanks for the advice, Frankie! If you’re looking for that perfect piece you can cherish season after season, our collection of super stylish and fabulously functional leather accessories and footwear is definitely worth falling head over heels for.