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Cleaning Leather Tips

Leather goods are remarkably durable and hardwearing, but sometimes leather does need to be taken care of.  The subject of cleaning leather can be quite a sensitive subject amongst leather enthusiasts. 

Because of the properties of leather, using the same cleaning methods as you would when washing clothes is going to result in damaged leather goods. Basic methods for cleaning leather are generally simple, can be done at home, and can tackle stains, grease, and all the other bad stuff we get on our leather products.

  • Always start with a great leather protector 
  • Know your different types of leather 
  • Removing grease stains
  • Getting rid of denim stains
  • Cleaning leather bags or purses 
  • How to clean leather furniture 
  • Suede needs special treatment
  • Cleaning leather naturally 

Always start with a great leather protector 

Before you begin to think about cleaning your new leather product, you must first think about how you will protect it. It is imperative to protect your bag before taking it out for the first time.

For smooth leathers, we recommend using an appropriate leather cream. This will create a layer of protection over the leather and will defend it from scratches. Similarly, applying the cream after you have already used the product will minimise any existing marks the item might have picked up already. 

Know your different types of leather 

Leather products are not all created in the same way. So that also means we have to use different techniques when cleaning different types of leather. Leather, suede and nubuck all require different methods of cleaning. 

With this in mind, you should always approach with caution when cleaning leather. We advise testing the product on an inconspicuous area of the item first, making sure to apply with a slight hand – never use unnecessary force. When cleaning grained leather, you can use the same leather cleaner but must apply it differently. This can be done by using a leather-cleaning brush to apply the soap, ensuring the solution finds its way into the grooves of the leather. 

Removing grease stains

There are endless amounts of ways we can procure grease stains on our leather products. Hand cream is often one of the main culprits, which is why you so often find fingerprint-like stains on the handles of your leather bag. The problem with grease-based stains is that they absorb so quickly.

If you listened to our first piece of advice and protected your leather, you will have some time to remove the marks before they settle in. Although, if you haven’t followed this first step, the grease will absorb into the leather. Consequently, the stain will darken and leave an oily mark on the leather. If you are at home and can get to some cornstarch fast, then do so, apply it onto the stain to soak up the greasy residue. Talcum powder is also a great tool for soaking up the grease. We advise applying to the affected area and leaving overnight.

leather jacket

Getting rid of denim stains

Denim stains are some of the most common when it comes to leather products. These stains occur when the leather rubs against a pair of jeans (or indeed, a denim jacket). The dye used in denim is similar to hair dye, meaning it will penetrate fast and deep. If the leather is a pale colour, these stains will be painfully visible. 

A suitably protected (as mentioned above) piece of leather will repel the indigo dye for a longer duration than something unprotected. If, however, you have no protected that new leather handbag, then the key to cleaning denim stains depends on speed. The cleaner should be applied to the leather the second the dye has marked the leather. The longer the mark is left on the leather, the higher the chance it will be absorbed into the fibres.

Cleaning leather bags and purses

Leather bags and purses are the most susceptible to stains as they are used frequently and often come into contact with drinks, food and the floor. Thankfully, there is a simple method that can be done at home to tackle these challenging stains. 

Start with mixing one part mild soap – anything like facial soap or delicate clothes detergent – with eight parts water. We advise using bottled water, if possible, to avoid any harmful particles in tap water. After that, pour the mixture into a spray bottle and spray onto a microfiber cloth. Avoid spraying directly onto the leather as this can cause over-saturation. Next, gently wipe the stain, going with the grain of the leather. Once the stain has faded, leave the bag to dry, keeping it out of sunlight. Finally, once the bag is dry, apply a pea-sized amount of leather moisturiser to protect the material. 

How to clean leather furniture 

Many people love leather furniture, but few actually know a lot about leather care. This can lead to many sofas and cushions being wrecked by stains that are easy to care for. A common mistake is using heavy-duty household cleaners, which can lead to the leather becoming worn, so make sure to choose a much gentler soap. 

Firstly, vacuum the furniture to remove any dust or particles before cleaning. After that, use a cloth to wipe a small amount of mild detergent onto the furniture. With a separate cloth, wipe again with cold, clean water, making sure you don’t over-saturate the fabric. Lastly, leave to dry out of direct sunlight to ensure the colour does not fade. Remember to spot test your chosen cleaning product on a small area before applying to the whole sofa. You don’t want to do any further damage to your leather furniture when trying to clean. 

Suede needs special treatment

You should clean suede and nubuck more regularly than conventional leather products. This is because removing stains from these materials can be complicated. These materials need different treatment entirely. They can react very differently depending on finish, colour or stain, so we would generally recommend leaving this cleaning jobs to the professionals.

To start off, find a soft-bristled brush, ideally a suede brush but you can also use a toothbrush if that’s all you have. Use the brush to go over the affected area. Gently brush the stain using short, gentle strokes. Make sure you always go in the same direction to start with as this will help loosen the fibres and dirt. Next, lightly go over the affected area with a clean sponge. 

Cleaning leather naturally 

If you do not want to use cleaning products on your leather, you can try steam cleaning it. You can do this by hanging your purse or bag in the bathroom just after you take a hot shower. The damp air will loosen the stains. Once that is done, leave the bag to dry before going back over it with a soft-bristled brush. 

There are also a variety of household products that can be very beneficial for cleaning leather. Lemon juice mixed with cream of tartar works well for removing spots and stains. Likewise, white vinegar can be used for general cleaning to ensure the material remains healthy. 

If you don’t feel comfortable treating your leather products yourself, why not seek professional help? Laundryheap offers a quick and professional service with free next day delivery.


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How To Clean My Shoes? Top Tips For Fresh Looking Shoes

Unfortunately, there is just no way around getting your shoes dirty. No matter how much you try to keep them clean, walking around puddles or checking the weather forecast before leaving the house. Somehow, someway, they won’t stay clean.

While cleaning your footwear seems like a simple enough task, there are a few factors to consider. For instance, what type of material are your shoes made of, what cleaning product to use, and how you should apply the product. To help you figure this all out, we’ve put together this helpful guide. So, follow these handy tips to have your shoes looking box fresh once again.

  • Know Your Material Before You Start 
  • What You Will Need
  • Leather
  • Suede
  • Sheepskin Boots
  • Canvas Shoes
  • Running Shoes
  • White Sneakers
  • Don’t Forget The Laces

Know Your Material Before Your Start 

When thinking about how to clean your footwear, the crucial factor to keep in mind is what material they are made from. Cleaning leather is an entirely different operation than cleaning suede. Likewise, techniques for cleaning canvas footwear can vary from cleaning sheepskin boots. 

So, before you start cleaning your beloved new boots, make sure you know if they are leather or suede. Similarly, make sure you know the difference between your canvas’ and your running shoes. Having this knowledge will allow you the best possible chance of restoring your footwear to their former glory.

What You Will Need

Before you start the cleaning process, there are a few things you should have available before starting. A dry brush is useful for almost all types of shoes. If you don’t have access to an actual soft-bristled shoe brush, don’t fear. An old toothbrush should do the trick just fine. But, when cleaning suede, we would advise using a suede brush, as this material is more delicate than others. 

Also, access to some laundry detergent and vinegar will prove helpful depending on what type of material you are cleaning. 

Leather Shoes

Leather shoes are an essential part of most peoples work attire. Consequently, keeping them clean is necessary for people hoping to look smart at work. 

When cleaning leather, start by removing any debris by wiping a solution of equal parts water and vinegar over the affected area. Once the leather is dry, rub with a soft cloth. Likewise, when trying to remove scuffs, use a wet cloth dipped in baking soda. After this, wipe your shoes off, then buff them again once they’ve dried. 

Suede Shoes 

Cleaning suede often strikes fear into most peoples hearts. But, try not to panic, there is an art to cleaning suede, that can leave you with fantastic results. 

Start by finding a nailbrush or suede brush. Once you have one of these, work in one direction to gently buff away stains. Now you have removed the surface dirt from the suede, start adding pressure, going back and forth with the brush to work at the harder to remove stains. For the extremely stubborn stains, use a white washcloth to rub either white vinegar or rubbing alcohol onto the affected area. Don’t worry this won’t leave a watermark, but it will give your suede a new lease of life. 

Sheepskin Boots

Sheepskin is a material similar to suede, which means extra care is needed when dealing with it. Like with suede, use a nailbrush or scrub brush, to gently wipe off any dirt at the surface of the boots. After that, wipe the outside of the boot with a damp cloth. Make sure it is not too wet, as you could ruin the material. Next, using a mixture of equal part’s cold water and vinegar, gently rub the areas that need spot cleaning. Finally, finish by wiping the mixture off with a damp cloth and leave to dry.  

Canvas Shoes

People often use canvas shoes for playing sport or in their everyday activities. Because of this, they require cleaning more regularly than the other types of shoes already mentioned in this guide. 

Start cleaning by wiping dirt off the canvas shoes with a clean toothbrush. Next, make a paste of equal parts baking soda and water. Administer this paste onto the soles of the canvas trainers using the toothbrush to remove any unwanted dirt. Finally, run the gentle cycle on your washing machine with cold water, adding roughly half the amount of detergent you would usually use and toss in your shoes. Make sure you leave them out to dry, using the dryer could shrink your shoes and no one wants that! 

Running Shoes

Running shoes bring there own unique issues when it comes to cleaning. One of the major ones being the smell from the sweat produced when using them for sport. 

Start with removing loose dirt off with a toothbrush, then clean the brush after. Once the brush is clean, dip it into a teaspoon of laundry detergent mixed with a cup of water. Now use the brush on the fabric, mesh and rubber areas of the shoe. After this, use a wet sponge to wipe off the excess solution. Lastly, leave outside to dry in the fresh air to remove any unwanted odour picked up on your runs. 

White Trainers

White trainers are often the ones we want to preserve the most. Nothing compares to the look of a fresh white pair of trainers but keeping them that colour is often an uphill battle. 

To try and restore that pearly white colour your trainers was when you first purchased them, start with applying a small amount of nail polish remover to a cotton ball. Then use it to wipe away any stains you see on the white shoes. However, if the stains persist and you feel the need to resort to bleach, make sure you dilute it first, you don’t want to end up with discoloured shoes. Use a toothbrush to scrub the trainers with a solution of one part bleach to five parts water. Finish off by rinsing with warm water. 

Don’t Forget The Laces

Keeping your shoelaces clean is an imperative aspect of maintaining that fresh out of the box look. Often people will clean the exterior of their shoe but neglect their shoelaces, leaving them with an unflattering contrast of clean and dirty.

To start with, remove the laces from the shoes, this will make cleaning the laces easier for yourself. Next, use a toothbrush to loosen any dried dirt or grime, this should come off with relative ease. After this, you can start mixing a solution of 3 tablespoons of bleach to 1 gallon of water in a sink or basin. Once the solution is ready, place the laces in a small mesh laundry bag and soak in the cleaning solution for several minutes. Be sure to wear gloves as you don’t want the bleach to irritate the skin. Finally, place the laces in the washing machine, then launder with detergent and a 1/2 cup of bleach. You can then hang the laces outside to air dry for fresh, clean laces.

If you are having a bad case of laundrophobia and don’t want to clean your shoes, we are here to help. Laundryheap offers a same-day laundry & dry cleaning collection with free next-day delivery. 

suede pumps


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How To Clean Suede Shoes

Cleaning suede shoes uses almost the same methods as cleaning suede clothing. It’s essential to clean suede shoes properly if you want to keep them from discolouration and permanent marks.

How To Clean Suede Shoes

  • Scuffed edges: Use a suede brush in a vigorous back and forth motion ONLY on the scuffed area, avoiding the undamaged suede areas.
  • Stubborn dry marks: Use a white pencil eraser to remove dry marks and even scuff marks that won’t brush out. Apply light pressure first and increase pressure if marks are too tough.
  • Water stains: Water stains when dry can cause discolouration to the shoe but water applied properly can help remove them. Use a damp sponge or cloth and gently dab it onto the stain. Then, use a brush to brush it out. Repeat the process if necessary but let it dry before adding more water.
  • Mud stains: For fresh mud stains, gently dab or wipe away the excess mud and let it dry before cleaning. Once the mud is dry, use a brush to remove the remaining dirt. 
  • Oil/grease stains: Blot out excess liquid and sprinkle baking soda or cornflour to the stained area. Let it to sit for a few hours until fully absorbed and brush it off.
  • Stubborn stains: Apply a mixture of white vinegar and water to the stain with a soft towel or cloth and gently dab/ wipe away the stain. Let it dry and then brush it out.

If you want to invest in a proper cleaning kit for your suede shoes, you can purchase a suede care kit that can include a mixture of the following: suede shampoo, eraser, protector spray and shoe brush. Alternatively, you can take your shoes to get professionally cleaned by a cobbler.

Laundryheap can’t clean your suede shoes for you, but we are more than happy to take care of any suede garments that you need professionally cleaned.

leather suede


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How To Clean Suede Clothing

Suede is a type of leather that makes for cute and warm looking garments, shoes and accessories. However, unlike leather, Suede is a more soft and vulnerable fabric that needs extra care and maintenance, because as you can tell it’s trickier to clean!

Here are a few things to keep in mind when you want to clean anything suede:

  • Don’t spot clean suede with just a cloth and water.
  • Don’t put liquids directly onto suede.
  • ALWAYS follow the care label and instructions!

How To Clean Suede Clothing

  • Remove surface dirt: For light dirt that is sitting on top of the surface of the shoes, brush off the dirt with a suede brush or a toothbrush. Always brush in the same direction as your suede.
  • For water stains: Remove fresh water stains immediately by blotting with a cloth or paper towel. If the stained area turns a different colour, try wetting the entire shoe with a damp cloth and let it dry.
  • For oil/grease stains: Blot out excess liquid and add a reasonable amount of baking soda (cornflour or talcum powder works too!) to the stained area. Leave it to sit for a few hours, then brush it away. You can always repeat this step until the stain is almost gone.  
  • For tougher stains: For more stubborn stains like coffee or ink, apply a mixture of water and white vinegar to a damp wash cloth and begin to dab/ lightly wipe away the stain. 

If the stain on your suede is just way too tough and too tricky to get rid of, hand it over to a dry cleaner and let them get the stain out for you!

Protecting your suede

Here are some pointers to help maintain and protect your suede garments:

  • Use suede protecting products: These help prevent your suede garments from getting dirty or stained. Best applied before wearing the garment and can be found anywhere online.
  • Don’t get it wet: Ideally you shouldn’t wear suede in rainy conditions as it will ruin the fabric overtime.
  • Store it well: Store your suede garments in a breathable and dry environment. Keep away from damp places!
  • Use cotton/ breathable bags to pack suede when travelling.