Always store your leather items in a cool, dry place. Never store leather in plastic bags or other nonporous covers or containers. This can cause discoloration or odors that are almost always unable to be removed. When hanging leather pants or jackets, avoid using metal hangers. Never have colored leather items touching each other as the dies can bleed. Always stuff empty leather handbags with newspaper and use shoetrees when storing leather shoes and boots.
Choose a product that helps preserve the natural oils of your garment. Most are available in department and shoe stores, and Northbound Leather, where you can ask a salesperson to assist in your selection. Before cleaning your garment, test the cleaner on a less visible area, the inside of a waistband or cuff, or the inside of a bottom hemline is ideal. If after a few minute wait no discoloration is evident, proceed with cleaning the entire garment. To remove excess cleaner, use a slightly dampened cloth or small brush around the stitching. Never use heat to dry leather -- it should always air dry. Stuff your garment while it’s drying to maintain its shape. Never use caustic household chemicals to clean your leather items.
Mix one cup of rubbing alcohol with one cup of water. Dip a clean cloth in the solution and wipe the mildewed area. In cases of extensive, persistent mildew, use mild soap containing germicide and water. Wipe the excess soap with a clean cloth and let dry. Removing stains - Most oil or grease stains can be lifted by grinding up blackboard chalk, sprinkling it onto the affected area, and leaving the powder on for one full day.
Protecting your leather is perhaps the most important step in caring for it. Try to protect all your new leather items before wearing them. Unprotected leather will stiffen and crack against moisture from rain, snow, sweat, and other elements.
Ensure your leather protector is as grease-free as possible. Apply your protector on clean, dry leather and ensure your garment is dry before wearing it. Several grades of leather require more specialized maintenance and professional care is recommended. Asking your salesperson at the time of purchase is often your best resource in understanding how your garment or item should be protected.
When in doubt, ask a salesperson.