10 Tips to Make Your Leather Last

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With leather as one of the hottest trends right now, it's important to know how to take care of it -- so it lasts through every season and trend wave. These tips from the Leather Cleaner's Association, a non-profit trade association, will help you make the most of your pieces, and keep them looking great for years to come.

1. Always hang leather garments on wide or padded hangers to maintain their shape. Use shoetrees in footwear and stuff empty handbags with tissue to help retain their shape.
   
2. Never store leather goods in plastic or other non-breathable covers. This will cause leather to become dry.
   
3. Allow wet or damp leather to air-dry naturally away from any direct heat source. Leather can be treated with a conditioner to restore flexibility while suede can be brushed with a terry towel to restore its look.
   
4. In winter, promptly remove salt deposits from garments and footwear by sponging with water; follow with the above treatment for wet or damp leather.
   
5. Avoid very humid and dry environments as well as direct sunlight.
   
6. Do not use waxes, silicone products or other leather preparations that will impair a garment’s ability to breathe.
   
7. Wrinkles should hang out. If ironing is desired, set iron on rayon setting, use heavy brown wrapping paper as a pressing cloth on right side of the garment and a quick hand to prevent overheating and shine.
   
8. Avoid spraying perfumes or hair sprays while wearing your garment and do not apply pins, adhesive badges or tape. Wearing a scarf at the neckline will help keep hair and body oil away from the collar.
   
9. Hems may be fixed with a tiny amount of rubber cement. For best results, see a leather care professional.

10. All products formulated for at-home use should be tested on an inconspicuous part of the garment.

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