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Cleaning, repair and care of leather clothing

Saturday, 31 October 2015 16:13:48 Europe/London

Leather clothing gets dirty but, unlike with other garments, people are not sure how to clean them. Without the right leather cleaners and leather maintenance products, it’s easy to ruin the item.

.How to clean leather clothing

The Colourlock LEDER FEIN Leather & Fur Wash Concentrate is a great detergent for cleaning leather garments. This product is designed for hand or machine washing. It will not only remove the soiling, but it will help making the leather soft.

Many top grain leathers, such as motorcycle leather suits and jackets, have a pigmented protective coating to make them waterproof, and increase their resistance to fading and staining. These are easy to recognise, as moisture will not sink in and darken the leather. Minor scuffs and wear can easily be repaired with leather colour restorer Colourlock Leather Fresh. We recommend applying Colourlock LEDER FEIN Leather Care & Waterproofing Oil twice a year to prevent cracks and stains. 

Porousd top grain leathers (aniline) are dyed through but the surface isn’t coated in order to retain the ‘natural-skin’ softness, flexibility, warm touch and exclusive look. Moisture will sink in and darken them. Clothing made from aniline leather should be treated with Colourlock Aniline Cream every 2-3 months to prevent water stains. Our Colourlock Aniline Protector will revitalise old aniline leather clothing by adding softening oils, anti-oxidants, UV-filters and intensifying the dyes in the leather.

To remove light soiling on suede and nubuck, brush the surface with our soft Leather Brush or use the Nubuck Eraser. Suede and nubuck should be treated at least 1-2 times a year with Colourlock Aniline Protector, which is specially designed to protect against fading and dryness. This product is also great for re-conditioning suede and nubuck clothing after washing them, as it will restore their colour.

Heavy fading of all kinds of leather should only be restored by a professional. Do not forget to waterproof the open surface of such leathers with LEDER FEIN Leather Waterproofing Pump Spray. You might require dry cleaning for very soiled items like leather jacket collars darkened through skin contact.

Cleaning leather garments

How to repair leather clothing

Scuffing or minor damage to your smooth leather garments can be repaired with a leather sanding pad and Colourlock Leather Fresh leather dye. You can find the DIY product on our website to apply on the damaged areas with a sponge. If the fading is bigger or there are rips on the smooth leather garment, you should seek help from a leather specialist to repair it.

Unfortunately, tears in suede or nubuck will usually need to be replaced as they are usually impossible to repair. It might be possible, depending on the rip, to hide it by resting the garment.

How to protect leather clothing

We always advise treating each piece of leather clothing depending on the type of leather it is made from In this blog we aim to give as much information as possible to help you chose the correct method for your item.

Smooth pigmented leather should be treated1-2 times a year with Colourlock LEDER FEIN Leather Care & Waterproofing Oil which helps keep the leather supple and protects it against humidity. 

Old and dry suede and nubuck, as well as aniline leather and fur clothing should be treated 1-2 times a year with Colourlock Aniline Protector. The oils in this product will protect the leather from ageing and fading. Aniline leather should also be protected with Colourlock Waterproofing for Leather & Textiles.

Leather Waterproofing

Posted in Info Articles By Ram Iyer

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Cleaning and care of leather shoes

Sunday, 25 October 2015 12:38:05 Europe/London

Shoes get a lot of punishment through wear, from scuff marks and scratches to water damage. In the UK particularly, it’s practically impossible not to expose footwear to rain. It’s therefore important to use the right sort of leather cleaner and leather protector. 

Many different types of leather are used to make footwear, the most common being pigmented leather (coloured), aniline leather (smooth porous), pull up, suede and nubuck. The best way to distinguish between them is to rub a small drop of water onto the surface and see what happens next:

  • If the liquid penetrates and darkens the area, it's porous aniline leather.
  • If the water stays on the surface, it means there is a protective coat on it so it is likely to be pigmented leather. 
  • The difference with pull up leather is that this has an oily or waxed surface - you can create scratches and easily wipe them off.
  • Suede and nubuck are both velvety but nubuck is much finer.
Leather shoes

How to look after pigmented leather shoes

Pigmented coloured shoes are the most commonly found and also the easiest to clean and maintain. We would always recommend appling Colourlock Elephant Leather Preserver to this type of shoes and boots to make them water repellent, this is particularly important for hiking or hunting gear.

To clean these pigmented shoes, you can use the LEDER FEIN Leather Shoe Washing Agent.When mixed with water it can be used to brush off any dirt. You should clean the whole surface to ensure an even colour. This detergent is also a disinfectant. It regulates the leather’s pH value and reduces odours. 

If damage to your shoes cannot be removed with this cleaning process, please consult a shoe specialist.

Changing the colour can be achieved with a Spray Can Colour for coated leather. Please refer to the appropriate manual for the colour spray.

How to look after aniline leather shoes

Aniline leather shoes are not suitable for wet weather as water would penetrate very easily, leaving permanent stains. 

You should protect this type of footwear with Colourlock Waterproofing for Leather & Textiles. This product is not as strong as the the Elephant wax used on pigmented leathers, so you should still avoid wearing them on rainy days!

In the event of stains you should always consult a leather specialist to ascertain the damage and find the best solution. You can wipe off recent stains carefully without applying too much pressure or rubbing and smearing them. If the stain has been caused by oil, you can use the Colourlock Fat Absorber Spray carefully following the instructions.

We don’t recommend re-colouring aniline leather shoes as this would destroy the character of the leather, making it pigmented. There are some coloured leather shoe polishes in the market that can be used instead. 

How to look after suede or nubuck leather shoes

The sensitive nature of suede and nubuck leathers make stains and scratches hard to remove. They are also not appropriate for wet weather conditions as stains are easily visible immediately. You should regularly brush this kind of shoe with a special brush like the Colourlock Leather Cleaning Brush. Protecting your suede and nubuck shoes is also very important with Colourlock Waterproofing for Leather & Textiles, or Colourlock Aniline Protector for older or dry shoes.

Light stains and dust can be brushed off, but more stubborn dirt will need to be removed with the Colourlock Leather Sanding Pad using very gentle strokes to avoid creating further damage! You can also remove heavy soiling with LEDER FEIN Leather Shoe Washing Agent which is mixed with water. This product contains oils to keep the leather soft after the treatment. This detergent is also a disinfectant, it regulates the leather’s pH value and reduces odours. We advise giving the shoes a final brush to bring back their natural velvety feel.

If the stain has been caused by oil, you can use the Colourlock Fat Absorber Spray carefully following the instructions.

We wouldn’t recommend re-colouring this type of leather shoe as it is nearly impossible to achieve a good result. 

How to look after pull up leather shoes

Pull up leather is waxed or oiled and it is prone to get scratch marks, but these are easy to remove by simply brushing some Colourlock Elephant Leather Preserve which will not only remove the marks, but will make the surface water repellent. 

For heavy soiling we recommend  LEDER FEIN Leather Shoe Washing Agent which contains oils to restoring the leather’s original conditions and softness. This product is also a disinfectant and it regulates the leather’s pH value and reduces odours.

As with aniline leather shoes, re-colouring is not recommended but you can use a colour shoe polish.

Leather shoe cleaning products

How to look after leather shoe soles

Some shoes can also have leather soles which require special treatment. Shoe soles will become dry and brittle with use. It is important to treat them from the start as they will suffer a lot of damage and be constantly exposed to wet surfaces. The LEDER FEIN Leather Sole Oil will dramatically increase the lifetime of these leather soles, as it reduces friction as well as making them waterproof. The first time you apply this product should be done extensively with a sponge or cloth to make sure it is fully absorbed by the leather. 

Other leather shoe issues

Tight shoes or boots can be treated with LEDER FEIN Leather Shoe Washing Agent which will soften the leather, making it yield slightly. A shoe specialist might be able to offer further help if they are still too tight.

Sometimes coloured leather shoes can transfer dye onto your socks or feet. This will happen if the leather dyes were not sufficiently fixed during manufacturing. Unfortunately, there is no easy solution for this. If the discolouration is high, we would suggest taking them back to the store. Using the LEDER FEIN Leather Fixative can reduce the dye transfer but it won’t stop it.

Posted in Info Articles By Ram Iyer

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Removal of ballpoint pen and biro marks and other inks

Sunday, 18 October 2015 14:12:02 Europe/London

Pen marks are not something you want to see on leather. But before reaching for the leather cleaner, it’s important to first identify what type of leather it is, otherwise you could end up making the damage worse.

 These are the different types of leather to consider when cleaning pen marks:

  • Pigmented leather - this is leather with a protective layer of paint on the surface. If you try to rub a drop of water it won’t penetrate into the leather surface. Pigmented leathers generally have a grained surface and satin finish.
  • Aniline leather – this is porous and smooth leather. A drop of water will sink into the surface and darken the area. 
  • Suede - is the reverse side of a smooth leather or both sides of spilt leather.
  • Nubuck – also known as split leather, is the sanded grain side of a smooth leather. It has a very soft velvety feel.
  • PU/ Bycast/Bicast leather – refers to split leather with a grained film of polyurethane on the surface. Usually shiny and plastic-like. If not sure, check with the manufacturer.

The following guidelines explain how to remove pen and biro marks from the different leather types

 Biro marks on leather

Pigmented leather 

Pen marks on pigmented leather upholstery are a common occurrence but, unfortunately, they are not always easy to remove. The more recent the pen mark, the easier it will be to clean off. If older than three days, it is rarely possible to just clean and remove the mark, so it will need to be re-coloured. Be careful not to use the wrong product as this will often increase the damage.

 Use the Ballpoint Pen & Biro Remover and test first on a hidden area and, if possible, create a mark. If the area is not visible you should be able to clean it without any risk. Depending on the type of pen, it might spill more or less ink. In order to avoid spreading the ink further, stick some masking tape on top of the mark and pull off several times to remove any excess ink. Once this is done, start using the Colourlock Ballpoint Pen Remover by pressing it until the tip is wet. Do small circular movements with the pen remover in a small area, applying a bit of pressure. The liquid will soften the area and help dissolve the ink. You should remove any excess ink with a clean cloth to avoid creating new stains. If necessary, clean the Colourlock pen remover tip if too dirty, again to avoid contaminating other areas. The tip has been designed to be removable and turned the other way around, so both sides can be used. Repeat the cleaning process as many times as required to completely remove the marks. It might be necessary to increase the pressure.      

In the case of older stains, it is very hard to get them removed without damaging the colour of the leather. They will need to be re-coloured. This is due to the fact that the ink has now penetrated too deep, so a light clean and re-colour won't stop the stains from resurfacing eventually. 

Aniline leather 

Because aniline leathers are as sensitive as they are porous, ballpoint pen and biro marks are best removed by a leather expert as there is a high risk of increasing the damage if not done properly. Usually, the Colourlock Ball Point Pen Remover would only cause further stains in this type of leather, and Colourlock Leather Fresh can only be used to re-colour one-tone leather. It is very unusual to be able to repair damages to aniline and we strongly advise you consult with a specialist before attempting to do the repairs at home. 

Suede or nubuck

Ballpoint pen and biro marks cannot usually be removed from suede or nubuck leathers due to their velvety surface. You should always seek the help of a professional, as the risk of increasing the damage is very high. Always test first on a hidden area and use masking tape to protect unaffected areas. You could also use a Colourlock Leather Sanding Pad, working from seam to seam with extreme care to avoid damaging the surface of the leather. Using the Colourlock Ball Point Pen Remover would likely cause further stains. Colour repair is not possible with this type of leather. 

PU or Bicast leather

PU leather or bicast leather is usually dark, so strokes from ballpoint pens and biros are not that visible. It is very easy to damage the foil surface on this type of leather when attempting to clean it. You should always test in a hidden area first without applying too much pressure. Colour repairs are only possible in the case of monochrome leather. 

Removing biro marks

Ink Stains on Leather

Other than ballpoint pens, stains could be caused by different types of pens or inks. It is important to distinguish the type of leather as ink penetrates different leathers in a different way.

Pigmented leather

The process is the same as described for ballpoint pen and biro strokes on pigmented leather. If the issue is just a stroke, the Colourlock Ballpoint Pen Remover will be the best tool to use, but if there are smeared lines or spots, you should use Colourlock GLD Solvent to dissolve the ink first, then re-colour with Colourlock Leather Fresh dye. We recommend protecting the area with Colourlock Leather Shield after re-colouring. 

Aniline leather

Aniline leather is very sensitive due to its open pores. You should seek the help of a professional before attempting to remove strokes and spots from this type of leather, as there is a high risk of damaging it further.

Suede or nubuck

Cleaning is not a good solution for these types of leathers, as the ink would have sunk into the fibres. The best option is to try and remove the ink marks using the Colourlock Leather Sanding Pad. If the marks are too deep, they cannot be removed. In which case we recommend you seek professional advice. 

PU or bicast Leather

The process is the same as described for pigmented leather. 


Ink stains on leather

To summarise, light ink stains from ballpoint pens or biro that are fresh (within three days aproximately) can be removed from pigmented leather with the Colourlock Ballpoint Pen Remover. If the stains are older or more spread than just a few strokes, you will need to use the Colourlock GLD Solvent (please follow the instructions for discolouration). If the colour has come off it might be necessary to also recolour using Colourlock Leather Fresh dye. If the ink stains have sunk deeper into the leather, only a professional can remove them from smooth leather. Ink marks on suede and nubuck leathers in most cases can't be removed even by a professional.

Posted in Info Articles By Ram Iyer

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