Angie's LIST Guide to
Shoe and leather care

Leather, an organic material, lasts longest and most attractively when properly conditioned and stored. It's often best to hire a leather or shoe repair expert for serious stains and tears.
 

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There are proper ways to take care of leather, but if it should get damaged, a repair professional can help. (Photo courtesy of Angie's List member Sonya P.)
There are proper ways to take care of leather, but if it should get damaged, a repair professional can help. (Photo courtesy of Angie's List member Sonya P.)
 
 

Leather care tips

Ways to keep leather in good condition:

  • Use an appropriate leather conditioning treatment on your new item as soon as possible. Untreated leather is susceptible to staining from water and other materials.
  • Use shoe trees in your leather shoes, stuff handbags with tissue and hang leather coats on padded hangers. An organic material, leather can lose its shape easily.
  • Allow a wet leather item to dry away from any heat source. Apply conditioner as soon as the item has dried. During cold weather, brush off and remove all moisture and salt from leather goods.
  • Don't store leather products in an airtight bag, which can lead to dryness and brittleness.

Leather services

Leather restorers and leather cleaners tend to offer many of the same services: cleaning, stretching, resizing, mending and altering leather goods. When searching for a service provider, ask pertinent questions about turn-around times and service guarantees.

These leather problems are best handled by a professional:

Stains

Deep staining requires special tools and supplies, and may best be done by a leather repair service. Dry cleaners sometimes provide this service as well. Depending on the size of the piece and effectiveness of the service provider, leather cleaning can take up to a week.

Tears

Leather's toughness means special tools are required to mend tears. Some leather repair products can be bought in stores, but aren't advised for large rips.

Resizing

To some degree, leather can be stretched and resized. The work requires skilled manual labor and can be pricey.

Shoe repair

Shoe repair experts, also known as cobblers, can help a quality pair of shoes last a long time.

Services can include:

  • Heel and sole repair
  • Buffing
  • Strap repair
  • Stretching
  • Dying

Vinyl care

Suggestions for vinyl care:

  • Use a vinyl cleaner marketed for use in vehicles.
  • Moisturize vinyl items by wiping on baby oil with a cloth rag.
  • Stores sell vinyl repair kits, but many leather and shoe repair experts can work on vinyl without too much cost.

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