Leather and Suede
Professional Leather & Suede Cleaning
At Bright and Klean we are proud of the fact that our leather and suede cleaning expert is one of the most knowledgeable in the country on the subject. We use only the latest techniques mixed in with our years of know-how to provide you with leather and suede cleaning, restoration and tailoring of the highest standards.
Advice before cleaning your leather or suede
- Make sure you take along all parts of your garment or item to Bright and Klean when you intend to have it cleaned
- Provide us with any care information or cleaning advice that came with the garment or item.
- Categorize any stains that exist on the garment or item no matter how insignificant you may feel it may be and ensure to tell us about old stains too; stains that are set cannot always be removed without some alteration to the gown.
- And please, also notify us of any spillages on the garment or item even if it is not clearly visible to the eye.
- In some instances our Expert Leather Cleaners may require customers to agree and sign a consent form to have the garment or item cleaned by Bright and Klean. We may also require a deposit prior to cleaning.
Our experts will usually carry out a colour-fastness test on leather and suede items before deciding on the method of cleaning, however, on occasion our experts might refuse to clean your garment or item according to results of the colour-fastness test. It should be noted that garments or items that transfer and bleed dye during the cleaning process are not expected to be restored to their original state [before cleaning commences] at the end of Bright and Klean’s cleaning process.
EXPECTATIONS AFTER CLEANING
Leather garments and items are made of skins taken from various parts of animals; usually from several different animals. Manufacturers usually attempt to match the skins so that your garment or item is as uniform as possible, but even with the best matching there is every chance that some variance in texture, weight and colour uniformity will exist. These variations may become accentuated after cleaning.
Loss of Colour
Be prepared for a slight variance in the depth of colour after cleaning. During the manufacturing process Tanner’s immersed the skins used to make your garment or item in a dye bath to obtain a uniform colour, but skins from various parts of the animal may vary in colour-fastness for cleaning purposes. Our expert cleaner can correct some of the loss of colour using a spray dyeing technique but it will not produce the same effect as the tanner was able to produce when immersing the garment or item in dye.
During the tanning stage of producing your garment or item it would have been impregnated with oil to keep it supple, however it is likely that some of these oils may dissipate during the cleaning process and therefore your garment or item may feel slightly different to touch even after our experts add special additives to the garment or item to restore the suppleness.
Scar Tissue and Vein Marks
Imperfections in leather and suede garments or items usually become apparent after cleaning. Skins used to make garments or items are prone to scarring through, possibly, the animal to which the skin once belonged having been injured by briars, barbed wire, diseases or fights with other animals. The resulting scar tissue rarely dyes evenly, so it is covered with fillers before dying. Some thick animal skins are split to during the manufacturing stage to make garments revealing the veins and when that skin is turned into a garment or item the vein is revealed as irregular wavy lines. These defects which are masked with fillers reappear after cleaning.
Skins taken from the loose neck or belly portion of an animal are naturally wrinkled. These skins are stretched during manufacturing so a smooth appearance is achieved. As the skins relax with age, the wrinkles reappear. The agitation that occurs in cleaning can cause greater relaxation of the leather, accentuating the wrinkles. The manufacturer tries to select skins of uniform texture for a garment, but sometimes a smoother skin is combined with a skin or portion of skin with coarser texture. Cleaning may make this variance more apparent.
Some shrinkage is likely to occur in your garment as the skins relax over time. This may be accentuated in cleaning. Most quality leather garments conform to wear when first purchased and worn, however, after a period of wearing that conformity is likely to fade and the leather is prone to relax permanently after the cleaning stage as during manufacturing the skin might have been overstretched. Knowing which items were overstretched in manufacturing is not possible likewise knowing which items will relax during the cleaning process is not at all possible to anticipate.
Some animal skins are extremely thin and too fragile for use in apparel. These skins tend to wear exceptionally fast even with normal usage. The agitation of cleaning will further aggravate the damage to the skins.
Oxidation (Colour Change)
Dyes can be oxidized from exposure to light and gases in the atmosphere. This is a slow, progressive condition that develops with age. It may become more noticeable after cleaning but protected areas such as under the collar will retain more of the original colour.
Colour Shading From Adhesive
Adhesives are sometimes used to glue seams, hems and other areas during construction. These glues or adhesives may not be solvent resistant. Sometimes the glues don't dissolve completely, but leach through the leather and cause shading in areas.
The texture of skins vary and some tend to absorb more of the fat liquors and additives during the cleaning process and on completion tend to be a little darker in some areas. Sometimes this shading can be seen on the garment before cleaning, but cleaning will accentuate it. It is a natural phenomenon that is beyond the control of the cleaner.
Leather buttons and leather piping on fabric will sometimes create problems during the cleaning process as they may bleed onto the adjacent fabric. All attached trim should be able to withstand the care method on the label; if this problem occurs, the item should be returned to the store where it was purchased. A fashion trend is to attach dark coloured suede, leather or snakeskin trim to white or pastel cloth garments. In many cases, the attached trim is fugitive to all dry-cleaning solvents. Cleaning by any method may cause permanent loss or transfer onto the cloth portion of the garment.