Patent leather definitely adds the finishing touch to any outfit! Ever wonder why?
With its shiny material it's the perfect way to make a statement, whether you're sporting a patent leather bag, pants, skirt, or shoes. And eventhough it can sometimes be an investment, it surely is the perfect way to make a huge impression!
However… regardless of the amazing material, we have to admit that excellent fashion choices comes with great responsibility. We have all been there before; imagine coming home from a night out and discovering that your favorite shoes do not look as shiny as they did before or, even worse, with scuff marks all over them. Ugh, WHY?!
So the question on every patent-leather lover's mind is: ‘How exactly do you clean this type of material to maintain that glam look??’ Well, we’ve got good news for you, it is not as hard as you think!
There are tons of products available on the market that will do the job, but chances are that you have most of what you need right in your closet or pantry. We have listed the best ways to clean patent leather for every scenario.
HOW TO CLEAN PATENT LEATHER IF IT IS LOOKING DULL AND HAS LOST ITS SHINE
Turns out, using a bit of soap and water goes a long way!
- Use a brush with soft bristles (or a soft paintbrush) to remove any dirt or debris, which can build up in the creases that develop on leather over time.
- Take a soft cotton washcloth and add small amounts of water and mild soap.
Be aware that you DON’T soak it, only get it a bit moist.
- Wipe down the patent leather and then dry it right after with a soft polishing cloth.
- Finally, let it dry for 24 hours at room temp and afterwards apply a leather conditioner that you can buy at any good cobbler to keep that shine.
HOW TO CLEAN PATENT LEATHER IS IT'S SCUFFED
The best way to remove scuff marks on any leather surface is a common household item: olive oil!
- Dip a microfiber cloth into a small amount of olive oil and gently rub it over the scuff marks. Let it sit for about 15-20 minutes.
- Afterwards, you can simply use a clean cloth to wipe it right off.
For smaller scuff marks: you can use unscented petroleum jelly (like Vaseline).
- Take a clean cloth, dab on a small amount of the petroleum jelly, and rub it on the marks using gentle, circular motions. Leave it on the surface for about 10-15 minutes, and just like the olive oil, wipe it off with another clean, dry cloth.
Probably the best way to remove a pesky mark is by using any type of patent leather cleaner, but you can also use furniture polish. It removes most marks on patent leather and is especially great for shoes.
HOW TO CLEAN PATENT LEATHER IF IT'S STAINED
Whether it's on patent leather shoes or your bag, a visible stain can freak anyone out.
While the material is less prone to stains since it's usually coated with lacquer, it can be more susceptible to color transfer and pen and watermarks. First and foremost, always make sure you spot test before using any products, even if they're technically leather safe.
This is when rubbing alcohol comes in handy. Dab a little on a cloth and gently rub it over the affected area in a circular motion until you see the spotting disappear.
For really tough stains like ink, there may not be a totally foolproof way to remove them.
A common method is to use a tiny bit of rubbing alcohol on a cotton swab and gently dab it on the ink stain without rubbing (or else it will cause the ink to spread).
However, this method can take color off, so avoid it if you're cleaning dark or colored leather. The easiest (and possibly safest) way to remove an ink stain is by using an ink removing stick or liquid, like this one, which may take a few attempts to fully get it out.
However; the safest option is to go to an expert cobbler. In our experience, the best is Luk’s Schoenmakerij in Amsterdam, a real magician when it comes to cleaning shoes. For any other location in Holland: have a look at schoenmaker.nl
OTHER TYPES OF STAINS
When in doubt, use soap and water. Take a damp cloth (make sure you really wring it out so there's as little water as possible!) and dip into a mild, moisturizing soap. Gently rub the moisturizing soap in circular motions on the water stain while avoiding contact with the non-stained parts of the leather. After that, take a dry piece of cloth and wipe the soap off and leave it to dry completely.
CREASES OR WRINKLES?
How do we get them out?
Those all too familiar creases and wrinkles can also be removed, but very carefully.
With FERAGGIO patent heels you will receive a pair of shoetrees.
We advise you to put the shoetrees in as soon as you take off your shoes, and when your shoes are still warm, insert them… leave them in overnight and then take them out. You don’t want to leave them in forever because, in time, your shoes will stretch out in all the wrong places. Trust us, you don’t want that.
In case you’re in the middle of a romantic evening and don’t want to ruin the moment (we get it, we wouldn’t want that either), just make sure to wear your patent heels the next day for about 30 minutes and then insert the shoe trees.
If you don’t have shoe trees, you can order them with our non-suede care kit or you can waist an entire roll of toilet paper, by firmly pressing the paper into the nose of the shoe. If you decide this is the way to go, we prefer you use sustainable toilet paper from The Good Roll because they give 50% of their profit to build toilets in third world countries. And at FERAGGIO we love to give back.
For the daredevils amongst us: we recommend using an iron and a brown paper bag (yes, you read that right!). Here are the steps you can use:
- Place the FERAGGIO shoe trees in your shoes
- Heat the iron and, while its heating, put the brown paper bag on top of the wrinkled or creased area. You can also use a clean, lint-free cloth.
- Once the iron is hot, unplug it and let it cool for about 10 minutes or until it's warm to the touch. Make sure the iron isn't too hot or it might damage the material.
- Press the warm iron very gently on top of the brown paper bag in a circular motion, which will help loosen up the leather and remove the wrinkles.
- Make sure you keep the iron in motion and don’t let it sit on one section for too long to avoid causing any damage to the leather.
IS THE CLEANING PROCESS THE SAME FOR ANY PATENT LEATHER ITEM?
The simple answer is yes.
However, there may be certain aspects to patent leather items that need extra attention. For instance, a leather jacket may have more creases than a FERAGGIO heel, since the patent leather may be a bit looser, you'll want to make sure you're cleaning and paying attention to those areas as well.
So are you ready to take care of your patent leather?