Leather Care Tips Two: A Comprehensive Guide to Cleaning, Maintaining and Storing Real Leather Garments

Leather Care Tips Two: A Comprehensive Guide to Cleaning, Maintaining and Storing Real Leather Garments

In the list of the most popular fetish materials, the first three positions are usually occupied by leather, latex (rubber), and PVC. And if rubber and PVC are relatively new materials that entered our everyday lives en masse only in the first half of the 20th century, animal skins were probably the first material that served man to cover his nakedness and later to make his clothing. In modern times, leather garments enjoy unfading popularity, while in BDSM practice, they are inextricably linked with sadomasochism and leather fetishism.

Leather is a durable material. And if, in everyday use, most leather garments, such as leather jackets, leather pants, and leather skirts, get dirty much less and require less care, leather garments used in BDSM usually face much more challenges in the form of body fluids such as sweat, saliva, semen, vaginal secretions, and urine. This applies even more to items such as leather masks, gloves, and leather underwear, designed to be worn naked on the body and which, during intense play, usually keep traces of everything you did in moments of passion and excitement.

Cleaning leather garments made of real leather, especially those that are used frequently in your BDSM practice, is not an easy task at all, even more so when you have to do it after every more intensive use. Usually, once the excitement of the game is over, caring about the leather clothing you've been wearing takes a backseat with a promise you make to yourself that you'll take care of it later. And this is where you make a mistake.


Wiping with a damp cloth the traces of body secretions on your leather masks, pants, skirts, and gloves immediately after your BDSM play is over can save you a lot of headaches later when the dirt has already penetrated deep into the pores of the leather requiring more effort for its removal. Often, these stains become invisible after drying, but this does not mean they have disappeared. As new and new dirt accumulates, your leather clothes gradually lose their shine and elasticity, and when the dirty overlays become visible, you are faced with a problem that has no easy solution.

So don't put off today's work for tomorrow, but take care of your leather clothes immediately after the play. Take a soft cloth, moisten it with water, and gently, without rubbing, remove traces of bodily secretions while they are still visible. When you are finished, leave the clothes in a dry and ventilated place to dry thoroughly before putting them away. The same advice—to let the clothes air out before putting them in the wardrobe—we would also give you if it comes to leather clothes you wear in everyday life.

However, if you've had a particularly intense game or your real leather clothing hasn't been cleaned in a while, you're probably wondering what more serious cleaning options are available. Perhaps you even opened this article with a single question: how to wash your real leather clothing. We'll cover this issue in detail below, but before that, we'd like to introduce you to laundry alternatives. Contrary to your expectations, there are not many at all, and some can be especially effective for spot treatment.

If you are wondering how to clean leather underwear, we recommend reading the article where we look at the main aspects of its care before returning to this article again.

If you're interested in how to clean your leather garments made of faux leather, see Our Article on Faux Leather Care Tips.


1. Dry cleaning:

Dry cleaning is the standard option for most leather garments. In reality, dry cleaning is not a panacea, especially with aniline leathers, as it dissolves the natural oils put into them during tanning, reducing with each successive cleaning cycle the softness and elasticity they had to begin with. Also, the aggressive cocktail of solvents used in dry cleaning is hardly the best option when it comes to leather garments that come into contact with your most sensitive areas, such as underwear (your genitals) or BDSM masks (your face). In any case, dry cleaning remains a recommended treatment for most of your leather garments, especially those that don't need to be cleaned often.

2. Wipe with soap and water:

If the initial wet wipe done immediately after your BDSM scene was not satisfactory, or as an additional form of cleaning, you can repeat the operation by adding liquid hand soap to ensure disinfection. Apply the soap to the wet cloth, rub it to create a nice foam, wring it out, and then wipe the soiled areas of the garment. Then wash off the soap residue with a clean damp cloth. When you finish washing, absorb the moisture and water droplets with a dry cloth without rubbing. Keep in mind, however, that the use of soap automatically deprives your leather garment of the opportunity to take it to dry cleaning because, along with the dirt, the soap dissolves the color pigments with which the leather is colored, and the subsequent dry cleaning will simply wash them away, discoloring the areas treated with soap. This method applies to leather garments that you will never take to dry cleaning, for example, masks, underwear, gloves, and in no case to clothes worn in daily life.

3. Deep cleaning:

The best cleaning you can do on the grain face of your leather clothes is with liquid paraffin. Paraffin penetrates deeply into the pores of the real leather, displacing from them the dust and dirt that were absorbed. In addition, paraffin gives shine, impregnates the leather in depth, and makes it less hygroscopic, at least until the layer of paraffin is completely absorbed or dispersed. Most wipes and leather care products usually contain paraffin. You can also use medical paraffin purchased from the pharmacy, which, unlike commercial or industrial paraffin, is certainly well-purified and will not stain your leather garment with impurities.

Use paraffin, not wax! Paraffin and wax have similar uses, but their characteristics are very different. Your leather garment will feel great from the paraffin, but the wax treatment will not do it any good.

Apply the paraffin to a soft cloth or soft sponge and gently spread it on the face of the leather without rubbing. If you apply more paraffin in some areas, the leather may temporarily change color, sag, create folds, or even look like you've rubbed it, but don't worry, the moment the paraffin is absorbed, the leather should regain its original structure.

Before waxing your leather garment or leather underwear, always test on a small area of one of the hems how the leather will behave during the treatment to avoid more serious damage in case the result is not as expected.

Paraffin cleansing is the best way to cleanse the leather. However, it has one small drawback. Paraffin is only suitable for the grain side of leather. You cannot clean suede with it.

4. Cleaning Suede:

In addition to being cleaned with a damp cloth and, if necessary, with a small amount of soap (see above), the suede side of the leather can be brushed. There are special suede brushes that would help you brush dried dirt from suede. Never use the suede brushes on the front of the leather because less robust leathers, such as lambskin, are easily damaged, and instead of cleaning the suede back of the garment, you can ruin the face of the garment. There are also suede sponges that, at least according to the trade label, allow for some form of deeper cleaning.

As an affordable alternative, especially for dry and superficial soiling of suede, you can use the rollers to collect hair and lint.

5. Cleaning with ethyl alcohol:

This type of cleaning is one of the most aggressive ways to remove dried body secretions, allowing at the same time some form of disinfection. Alcohol is an organic solvent, not as aggressive as acetone or gasoline, but with a similar effect, which allows you to dissolve organic impurities at the cost of some damage to the leather. How serious they will be will depend on the quality of the leather.

There are natural leathers with so much plastic on them that the alcohol will not penetrate the pores of the leather at all, or worse, will dissolve the polyurethane or silicone emulsion that covers the defects in the leather. Other possible side effects are the dissolution of dyes and discoloration, dissolution of collagen, which is again used to cover leather defects, wrinkling and cracking (actually its synthetic coating), hardening, etc.

In real aniline leathers, such as those with which we work, careful treatment with spirit should produce no undesirable effects. With them, the only risk remaining is discoloration, which can occur with aggressive scrubbing or if the alcohol treatment is applied too often.

As with cleaning with any other chemical, always test on an isolated area of one of the hems to avoid more serious damage if the result is not as expected.

Note that ethyl and methyl alcohols exist. Methyl alcohol is usually colored to warn of the danger of poisoning. Ethyl alcohol for medicinal purposes usually contains varying percentages of ethyl alcohol. For cleaning and disinfection, use ethyl alcohol with an alcohol content of up to 70%.

When cleaning with alcohol and alcohol solutions, remember that alcohol is flammable.

6. Cleaning with acetone and cleaning with gasoline:

Acetone and gasoline are strong solvents that we do not recommend you use. The effect of their application is uncertain, and the risks are unjustifiably high given the possible benefits. If you tried cleaning with alcohol and the result was not as expected, cleaning with acetone or gasoline will not help you.

7. Egg Yolk Cleansing:

This type of real leather cleaning is an urban legend, the origin of which is probably related to one of the historical methods of leather conditioning. Hard egg yolk is used in traditional glove-making to add luster and shape to already-finished gloves. The effect of cleaning with egg yolk is debatable, but the chance of irreparably ruining a leather garment is high. In addition, exposing the yolk over time guarantees you an unbearable smell, that is practically unremovable.


Washing leather garments made of real leather is a last resort, and we advise you to consider the alternatives before putting the leather garment in the washing machine. It is important to also keep in mind that this is an irreversible decision.

Once washed, your real leather garment will never be the same. It may look the same and retain a considerable extent of its shape, softness, and elasticity, but the leather from which it is made will have irretrievably lost the characteristics obtained during its tanning. From this moment on, you can continue to treat it with soap and water, but you will never again be able to take it to the dry cleaners to be cleaned like regular natural leather. If you do decide to take your leather garment to the dry cleaners after washing, it will discolor and lose its softness; it may even crack and become crumbly like old parchment.

What other consequences can laundry have?

Natural leather is a strong enough material that you don't have to worry about falling apart under the extreme conditions of the washing machine. Purely mechanically, it will tolerate washing if you don't make the conditions unbearable (very high temperatures or use of bleach or degreasers). However, the effects of washing will become visible after drying. What could they be?

1. Fading:

The soap can dissolve the leather dye, resulting in a faded color. Black and generally darker colors hold up better (due to the need for more pigment to achieve them), but lighter saturated tones (e.g., red) can fade by one or even several shades. That's a risk you'll have to accept if you choose laundry. It cannot be avoided.

2. Loss of softness:

Washing shrinks the natural leather, and it becomes denser and, from here, stiffer. Soft and elastic skins are the most vulnerable. The loss of softness can be reduced and largely avoided, but we will talk about that later.

3. Loss of shape:

Each leather garment is usually sewn from several pieces of leather. Not all parts of animal skin have the same strength and elasticity. Some are softer, others harder, and others more elastic. Usually, in cutting (the most responsible process in leatherwork), the details are distributed on the individual skin, according to its topography and the specifics of the product being made, and not simply lined up next to each other. This means that, by definition, you will have a garment made from pieces with different characteristics, each of which will tolerate water, soap, and drying differently. Some will shrink, some will sag, and some will twist, and as a result, your garment will lose the shape it had. Below, we will describe how to counteract this process.

4. The shrinking:

The loss of shape should also indicate the next, more serious problem: the shrinking of the garment. Drying usually shrinks the leather garment, which can be in one or even several sizes. This is one of the most overlooked side effects you would inevitably encounter after washing a real leather garment. Some leather enthusiasts more experienced in handling real leather can turn this disadvantage into an advantage by using it to shrink leather garments that have sagged from prolonged wear.

5. Loss of strength:

We are used to thinking of natural leather as a durable material. And it really is, if it's treated right. Some leathers have high natural durability, e.g., the kidskin, the goatskin, or the calfskin. Others, such as lambskin, are more susceptible to injury, deformation, and tearing. Below, describing the drying of clothes after washing, we will go into more detail on how to minimize this risk, which is essential, especially for clothes from less robust skins, such as lambskins.

6. Taping hems:

Gluing is a traditional process in the leather industry. Very often, the smell that we are used to associate with leather is not due to the leather itself but to the glues with which the details are fixed before sewing. Glues make the hems stiff, and over time glue begins to crumble and come apart, so in our work, we do not use glues but rely on the dexterity of our hands. However, most manufacturers still use them en masse because they speed up work and reduce the need for precision, and in some cases, with their help, operations are also saved. Most often, this saving is related precisely to the hems; they are only glued without being sewn. When they go through the washing machine, the adhesives used in making the garment usually dissolve. You can't avoid it if the hems aren't sewn.


If you've been paying attention this far, you've probably begun to realize that the hardest part of washing real leather isn't the washing itself, which is generally not much different from any other garment with its own specifics (e.g., wool or silk), but rather the need to control the drying process to prevent the garment from shrinking and deforming.

How do I wash a real leather garment in the washing machine?

Let's start with the simplest: detergent and washing mode.


Use liquid detergent. Pour the detergent into the appropriate compartment of your washing machine to be used at the correct time during the washing cycle. Do not use washing capsules that are placed next to the garment in the washing machine drum, nor dry washing powders, whose particles dissolve more slowly. If you don't have liquid laundry detergent, you can substitute it with gentle liquid hand soap.

To reduce the risk of skin discoloration, use less liquid detergent than usual.

In no case, do not use bleach or preparations containing it (its chemical formula is NaClO, which is usually noted on the label). Do not use degreasers to remove stains; they will not help but can discolor the leather.

We do not recommend that you also use fabric softeners. They will not make the leather softer, but if they penetrate deeply, they can damage it.


To reduce the penetrating effect of water and soap (although this is usually not the purpose of washing), as well as the negative effects of their action, you can apply liquid paraffin to the face of the leather in the way we described in the section "Deep Cleaning" when looking at laundry alternatives. Wait for the paraffin to fully absorb into the leather before proceeding with the next step.

Turn the garment with the lining inside out and put it in the washing machine without adding other clothes. If you intend to wash more than one garment, we advise you to wash each separately.


Our recommendation is to choose a hand wash mode or a mode for delicate fabrics by setting the temperature to 30 degrees Celsius with no spin and no drying mode (if your washing machine is combined with a dryer). The temperature of 30 degrees is sufficient to allow the washing powder to dissolve and work effectively while not subjecting the leather to unnecessary and excessive impact.

If you can adjust the duration of the wash, choose an abbreviated program, no shorter than 15 minutes and no longer than 35–40 minutes. The main problem you will face with the wash itself is washing out the detergent, so if you have the option, choose an option for more water when rinsing or for an additional rinse.

Again, no spin and no machine drying.


Remove the garment from the washing machine as soon as the wash is finished. Do not keep it wet in the washing machine for too long.

When you take the garment out of the washing machine, it will be thoroughly soaked with water. Allow the garment to dry naturally, away from heat and sunlight. Do not clamp it with clips or clamp it with weights; sharp edges and weights can imprint on the leather. Do not twist or wring the garment to wring it out. Allow the water to drain from the garment on its own. This process can be longer for thicker leather garments and shorter for thinner leather garments. Usually, in a few hours, the water is drained and the garment can be dried.

As soon as the water has drained, the most important part begins: drying. If you do it right, many of the negative consequences described in the first part of this article can be minimized and even avoided.


Allow the wet garment to dry by choosing a dry and ventilated place away from direct sunlight and direct heat sources. Sunlight damages the leather deeply, and exposure to heat can shrink it and make it hard.

Do not place the garment under the warm jet of an air conditioner or on the radiator of the heater, and in no case, use a dryer! Let your garment dry naturally. Turn it periodically with the lining facing out to ensure even drying. When turning, be careful with zippers and buttons, which can scratch the front of the leather, and in thinner leathers like lambskin, even tear it.

Be aware that the water swells the natural leather, and turning the garment can be a bit more difficult, especially in tighter parts like legs or sleeves. Do not pull or force the garment. Turn it carefully.

If, after turning the garment inside out, you notice drops or traces of drops on the leather (these are usually traces of lime dissolved in the water), absorb the drops with a dry cloth or gently wipe with a damp cloth to remove the deposits. Do not rub. Just soak up or wipe.


When the garment has started to dry but is still damp enough, the moment comes when your role is indispensable. You will have to put the garment on yourself and wear it until it is completely dry.

The warmth and moisture of your own body will help the leather dry gradually without the garment shrinking or losing its shape. Sorry, but that's the only way. When you wear the wet leather garment, you are not just drying it but also helping it take on a new shape—that of your own body and your own movements.

The moment in which you will put on the garment depends on you. The sooner you do it, the better the result of your sacrifice will be. On the other hand, wearing a damp leather garment can chafe and inflame your skin or catch you cold. The decision of exactly when to wear the garment and how long to wear it is yours.

Alternatively, you can put on and off the garment after a short stay, constantly moving while wearing it to allow the leather to stretch.

When putting on the garment, do not push or pull hastily. Wet leather is swollen and is more difficult to put on; it also doesn't have the same strength as dry leather, and hardware such as metal buttons, eyelets, and snaps can slip out of place. Returning them is impossible, and replacement can usually only be done with the manufacturer, who will certainly refuse a warranty for a leather garment that you have washed.

Do not make sudden and unusual movements while wearing the wet garment. When the garment is made of less durable leather, such as lambskin, you can tear or split it.

Change the position of your body from time to time, and periodically smooth out the folds that form on the leather with your hand so that they do not become fixed in the material when drying. If you are drying trousers or a shirt, you can smooth over the legs or sleeves lengthwise to prevent them from shrinking in length. Do not pull or stretch them, but smooth them with your palm in the desired direction. Use the same approach to make the leather relax in width.

You can raise the room temperature a few degrees above normal to aid drying. Do not stand with the garment against the heat source, and do not overdo the temperature. Make it comfortable for you. The garment will not dry faster if you sweat.

Ideally, the garment will dry on your body in 2 to 3 hours. If you've taken the more conservative approach of dressing and undressing, as drying progresses, increase the length of time you wear the garment to prevent it from shrinking at the end.

When your leather garment looks already dry, you must put up with it for a while longer. Let it stretch and relax on your body, even if it seems completely dry. The longer you wear it without taking it off after it looks dry, the more likely it is to regain the softness and elasticity lost after washing. If you take off the garment prematurely, no matter how long you wear it afterward, the effect of washing will already be fixed in the leather.

When the garment is dry and you are satisfied with its softness, take it off and let it air for a few days in a dry and airy place before putting it away in the wardrobe.


If the garment has unglued hems, this is the earliest time to tape them. Rubber-based adhesives are used in the leather industry. You can also find similar ones in the bookstore. Adhesives are different, so follow the instructions on the package. A word of advice from us: don't overdo it with the glue. The hem will become stiff as it dries and may even curl. Apply a thin film using an old credit or debit card to spread the adhesive over the desired area and remove any excess. If you don't have an old credit card to throw away, you can replace it with a simple piece of stiffer cardboard or a business card; they will do the same job.


Soap and washing powders dissolve the color pigment and natural oils put into the leather when it is tanned. Even if you dry your leather garment as best as you can, it will likely remain drier than it was before washing. To minimize this effect, before storing the leather in the wardrobe, you can condition the garment with paraffin cleaning wipes or with liquid paraffin from the pharmacy. We described this process at the beginning of this article in the "Deep Cleaning" section.

Wait for the paraffin to absorb well before putting the garment in the wardrobe.


Real leather garments have two simple wishes when it comes to storage. They want to be in a dry place and have space. Unfortunately, these two requirements are not always easy to fulfill, especially if the storage spaces you have are not that many.

As we have repeatedly noted in this article, prolonged exposure to moisture is the main enemy of leather. Prolonged exposure to moisture can cause mold to form or leather to rot. That's why it's a good idea to put your leather clothes in the wardrobe only after you've made sure they're really dry (if you've worn the garment before, let it "breathe" for a few hours before putting it away) and don't leave anything damp there.

Like other fetish materials such as rubber, for example, real leather has a porous structure that allows any dirt to penetrate deep into its tissues. When stored near other clothes whose colors are not well fixed, real leather can absorb their color and become dyed. Therefore, it is good to store your clothes made of real leather separately from the others, if possible, in an individual textile or polyethylene case. If this is not possible, hang your leather clothes a centimeter or two (1 inch) away from your other clothes.

If your leather wardrobe includes clothes made of different colored leathers, we advise you not to keep them close to each other. If their dyes are not well fixed and the clothes are pressed together on the hangers in the wardrobe, they can also dye each other. Usually, these types of stains are permanent, and if trying to clean them with liquid paraffin doesn't remove the stain, probably nothing else will.

We mentioned hangers. They are suitable for leather jackets, blazers, and coats and, to some extent, for leather dresses and flared skirts because you avoid creasing, but when real leather is left hanging for a long time, it can deform under its own weight. The most susceptible to this type of deformation are softer and more elastic skins, as well as skins with less natural strength, such as lambskin.

A possible solution is to keep the clothes folded in the drawer. When folding a leather garment, try to do it along the edges. They usually match the base seams. Smooth the folds by hand to avoid them being sealed into the structure of the leather and permanently wrinkling the garment. Do not apply pressure when folding. If you fold the garment in the right places, its separate parts will lie on top of each other without pressing them with force. You can place a foam pad or a rolled towel at the folds to pad the fold and prevent a hem.

You can store smaller, real leather items, such as underwear, masks, and gloves, in textile bags.

If you have purchased the product from us, you have probably noticed that it arrives to you packed in just such a textile bag. It comes with our tag and a convenient velcro closure. Even if the bag seems useless against the background of the product you have been waiting for a long time, do not throw it away. This bag is specially made for your product, and it will feel good in it.

In case you decide to keep the bag, you can wash it in the washing machine at 30 degrees in the hand wash mode.


In this article, we have looked at the main points related to the maintenance, cleaning, and storage of leather garments, especially those used for fetish purposes. We tried to comprehensively answer the most frequently asked question regarding real leather: can it be washed?

We've taken a detailed look at the risks involved in washing leather garments and the consequences you could face if you do. We've tried to combine our knowledge of leather as a material and our own experience in washing leather clothes to offer some easy steps that could help you wash your leather clothes in the best way possible if you really need to. We have paid particular attention to drying as a process that is inextricably linked to the washing of leather garments and which, if done correctly, can significantly reduce the damage your leather garments would suffer from the effects of water and detergent in the washing machine.

We also paid attention to the storage of real leather clothes because, as our experience shows, often staining and damage to leather clothes happen where they should feel safe—in your own wardrobe.

This article is probably the most comprehensive guide to the maintenance, cleaning, and storage of real leather ever published on the Internet, and in terms of washing real leather, it is probably the only one that describes the process in detail. However, all the moments we have focused on are mostly aimed at encouraging you to treat your leather clothes responsibly and with understanding. Because there are many types and varieties of real leather, no guide to cleaning and maintaining real leather, no matter how voluminous it may be, can cover all the variety of cases you may encounter when treating your leather garments. The most important thing we want you to remember from this article is to always test your solution on an isolated area before applying it to the entire garment. Because the damage you can do is sometimes greater than the benefits you can get.

Real leather is a very specific material that is difficult to work with, and this often determines its high price. All these specifics, however, also make it so desirable, turning it into an object of fetishistic adoration. With this article, we tried to show that you can enjoy leather clothes in a thousand ways in an intimate setting without the need to make them a victim of passion. You just have to take care of them at the right time.
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