Leather Apparel

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Motorcycle Jacket Restored

This motorcycle jacket had many years of wear and a little abuse to go along! Exposure to rain and poor storage conditions resulted in mildew. The jacket was thoroughly cleaned, the mildew killed and finish restored. To those motorcycle enthusiasts who take pride in the “worn-it-for-years” look, don’t worry! We can give it a good cleaning but leave that distressed look you love!

Sentimental Restoration

There may come a time when it is better to buy new than restore the old. However, when the garment has “history” and sentimental value, we can do amazing things! This coat had seen better days, but the customer found it perfectly met his needs and wanted us to restore it. A leather panel in the sleeve was too worn and damaged to restore, so we put in a new panel. The rest of the coat was cleaned and refinished to like-new condition!

Risky Ornamentation

Risky ornamentation on garments can take the form of fragile buttons, laces, beads and stones, or unique clasps. According to the Federal Trade Commission, all ornamentation must be able to withstand the recommended cleaning process. However, that is not always the case. In the case of leather garments, the care label may simply state “Clean by a Professional Leather Cleaner”. Therefore, it is important that the company you entrust with your leather garments has the experience to recognize risky ornamentation so damage does not occur.

Some ornamentation such as buttons and some clasps can be removed prior to cleaning in order to avoid damage. In the case of beads, stones, and laces which cannot be removed, the garment may require a specialized cleaning process. When that is not an option, a Professional Leather Cleaner may contact the customer to advise of the risk and obtain a consent before cleaning.

Experience counts!

Miracle Make-Over!

When you have a favorite coat, sometimes nothing else will do! This customer was very attached to her coat and wanted us to make it look as new as possible. We started with a thorough cleaning and then restored the worn finish. We finished with a brand new lining. I think our customer got her wish and many more years of use!

What is a Professional Leather Cleaner?

The care label says  to professionally clean your garment by a leather expert. Can your neighborhood dry cleaner be considered a Professional Leather Cleaner because they take in leathers for cleaning? The answer is “NO”! However, the local cleaner that partners with a Professional Leather Cleaner can provide a convenient and safe way to have your leather professionally cleaned by the experts.

So what makes a company a Professional Leather Cleaner?

  1. They specialize in leather cleaning. This means that leathers are their primary business. A Professional Leather Cleaner will provide wholesale route and mail order service to dry cleaners.
  2. The equipment, cleaning products, and systems they have are specifically designed for leather cleaning. This will include special oils used in cleaning and refinishing, spray booths to restore color and oils, and pressing stations designed for leather.
  3. They will offer on-site leather repairs and alterations

A Professional Leather Cleaner cleans hundreds of leather garments a day so they can identify the best cleaning methods and avoid potential damage from improper cleaning. Check the Professional Leather Cleaners Association site for more information.

Vinyl By Any Other Name!

The quality appearance of vinyl used in apparel has reached new heights. Sometimes, it is only an expert that can tell the difference between leather and vinyl by sight or touch. However, care labels can level the playing field allowing consumers to understand what they are buying.

Care labels on vinyl apparel may refer to the fabric content as Polyvinylchloride (PVC), Polyurethane (PU), pleather, faux leather or imitation leather. The distinction between leather and vinyl may be more in durability and cost than in appearance. Vinyl may damage easier than leather, yet may also provide a lower cost fashion option. Some leather garments may also incorporate vinyl as trim, piping or in pockets making it doubly important to have it cleaned by a Professional Leather Cleaner.

Cleaning differences between leather and vinyl are important. We have seen many garments made from vinyl or with vinyl trim that call for “dry cleaning” on the care label. Please be aware that vinyl cannot be dry cleaned without cracking, melting or damaging! But vinyl can also be safely cleaned and even refinished like a leather garment by those who know how to do it.

Dye Transfer

While dye transfer can happen in cleaning items that combine light and dark colors, it can also happen while a garment is just hanging in your closet! Colors may bleed from one garment to another simply by touching each other especially if there is any moisture involved. Printing on a garment bag or plastic bag can also bleed onto garments.

In most cases, dye bleed can be corrected by a Professional Leather Cleaner who will seal the affected area and refinish the color. Vinyl items that are bonded with spandex, unfortunately, cannot be restored due to the stretch in the fabric. To prevent dye transfer, make sure you separate dark or colored leather garments from lighter garments and avoid using printed plastic bags next to light leather or vinyl garments. For more leather tips, see our post Caring for your Leather.

dye transfer vinyl 2

Dye bleed shirt before and after


Glue Bleed

What are all those dark stains along the seams and pockets of your beautiful shearling coat? Looking similar to grease stains, “glue bleed” is unfortunately a fairly common manufacturing defect affecting mainly sheepskin, but can also be found on pig suede and nubuck skins. Manufacturers will use a glue to hold seams together before stitching. Inferior glue can bleed through the skins over time and during the standard cleaning process. Glue bleed stains may be able to be lightened or masked after cleaning and refinishing.

Professional Leather Cleaners will be able to spot susceptible garments before cleaning and will take steps to minimize or avoid the problem. However, a customer risk may be requested before proceeding with cleaning.

Close-up of damage from glue bleed


Restoring Leather Finishes

Whether a designer Gucci coat or vintage snowmobile suit, there will come a time when cleaning alone will not restore your leather garment. Over time, the finish on most leather will wear off, scuff or become permanently stained. Professional Leather Cleaners are able to restore leather garments by replacing lost finish. Color matching is done by eye, so experience and expertise is essential.

This snowmobile jacket was faded and worn. Cleaning and refinishing really made the colors vibrant and restored the suit to an almost new look!

Snowmobile Coat Before and After Cleaning

Snowmobile coat before and after cleaning

This Gucci coat was a classic that had seen better days! The white finish was heavily soiled, discolored, worn and uneven. We were able to restore both the white and black finishes to bring this beautiful coat back to life!

Gucci coat before and after cleaning

Gucci coat before and after cleaning