Have you stepped into a puddle or spilled water on your leather wallet, jacket, or car seat? Maybe you have been caught in the rain and are worried about your leather boots, wondering whether the water will damage them. And if they are, how are you going to preserve them and restore their natural shine?
Small amounts of water spills or just a few droplets on a small portion of the surface are almost harmless to your leather items. On the contrary, large amounts of water spills or exposure to moisture for long periods and zero action will cause a lot of damage to the leather.
However, the good news is that if you take care of them carefully and correctly, these water stains or spills can be removed. In this blog post, I will explain what happens when your leather items get wet, whether or not some of them can be damaged, and most importantly, how to restore your valuable leather items when they get wet.
- 1 What Happens If Leather Gets Wet?
- 2 Does Water Damage Leather Jackets?
- 3 Does Water Damage Leather Car Seats?
- 4 Does Water Damage Leather Shoes?
- 5 Does Water Ruin Leather Coach?
- 6 Does Water Ruin Leather Wallet?
- 7 Does Water Ruin Leather Boots?
- 8 How Do You Prevent Water From Ruining Leather?
What Happens If Leather Gets Wet?
Leather comprises essential oils that contribute to some of its pleasant characteristics, such as its flexibility and durability. If leather comes in contact with and permeates leather, its molecules mix with the oils in the leather. After that, when the leather dries, the oils evaporate with the water molecules, leaving the leather brittle and with cracks.
The consequences usually become more visible as the leather dries. In addition, you are likely to get different results depending on the type and quality of leather. For instance, if a drop of water falls on the coating-covered leather surface, it will not damage the leather if you wipe it sooner.
If the item is made of suede or aniline, it will be a little difficult since the water will pass through the leather to the inner parts, and as a result, the color of that spot will change. Suede is more sensitive compared to the other types of leather, but the wet areas will dry quickly, just like and look similar to the other parts.
Faux leather is manufactured from a plastic form and has inbuilt waterproof characteristics. When this type of leather gets well, they don’t easily get affected. This quality makes them a lot easier to manage with just a simple wipe compared to other types of leather.
On the other hand, if you treat your leather items with waterproofing agents or compounds, it will be hard for them to get wet.
Does Water Damage Leather Jackets?
Too much water can ruin your leather jacket. The leather jacket is likely to rot or stiffen after exposure to moisture and water. They can also leave stains and fade out the dye of a leather jacket. And if you do not mitigate early enough, cracks will form on the coat and cause total damages.
Does Water Damage Leather Car Seats?
Although most leather car seats have a protective layer properly designed to allow you some time to wipe off the water before it can cause severe damage, it does not mean you should not dry water spills on your leather car seats as soon as possible.
If you leave contaminated water to sit on your leather car seats for extended periods, it will end up damaging the interiors of your car seats and leaving a foul smell.
Does Water Damage Leather Shoes?
Water is a great enemy of unprotected leather shoes as it weakens them and lowers quality. You should try to avoid it. Leather is a porous natural material that is not waterproof. But luckily there are a couple of options to protect your leather shoes from water damage.
There are several waterproofing products that are specially for leather. Not only for shoes but also for bags and other leather products. Some of them can be easily sprayed. Another option is to use natural waterproofing products like beeswax. I always recommend with that kind of products to test on a small part that to see if there is a big color difference.
If you wear your wet leather shoes before letting them dry completely, they will start to stink, and remember, nobody loves to be near a person with smelling shoes.
Does Water Ruin Leather Coach?
Large amounts of moisture on your leather couch will result in alarming damages, as it happens with other leather items. In addition, the water will create a stain on your leather couch and most likely fade out its color.
Nonetheless, small amounts of water on your leather couch should not worry you if you dry it immediately. The nasty stains will only form when you let the water stay for long until it dries on the coach.
Does Water Ruin Leather Wallet?
Water ruins leather wallets, and most of the stains you will see on a leather wallet are a consequence of water spills.
Also, the water spills are almost always unintentional. For example, it could be from tap water, a leak from your bottle, or unexpected rain.
Again, it is imperative to note that most leather wallets are made with no intentions to have them cleaned. For this reason, they may not handle any kind of water spillage or moisture on their surfaces well.
Does Water Ruin Leather Boots?
A few splashes on your leather boots may not have effects on them. However, the damage occurs when your leather boots frequently soak in water and are not adequately dried afterward.
Because water strips off the essential oils and nutrients contained in leather, failure to dry them properly will cause trouble. Also, failing to follow the right drying procedure allows the leftover moisture to keep the insides of your leather boots soft as water slowly leaches them away. As a result, the outer parts of your leather boots become dry and brittle.
Eventually, your leather boots will crack and tear, or in the worst cases, they will rot. So, a decent pair of leather boots, whether for work or everyday use, is an investment that requires utmost care. In the event that they get wet, particularly if they are thoroughly soaked, you will have to find a way to ensure they do not end up in the worst shape.
How Do You Prevent Water From Ruining Leather?
Your leather items will sure get wet a few times or once in a while going about your daily life activities. To restore your leather, you will need to apply a bit of skill, art, and science.
Unfortunately, if the damage is too much, it may be impossible to restore your leather items into a better or the wearable state they were in before.
Here are some steps to follow to ensure your leather items don’t become brittle and tear.
● Step 1: Clean your hands
Wash your hands whenever you are about to clean wet leather. Leather can easily absorb oil and grease from your hands. So cleaning your hands before making any contact with the leather item will prevent further stains on the surface.
● Step 2: Dry naturally
Gently wipe off any water spills and allow the boots, wallet, jacket, or the affected item to dry naturally. You can let them sit overnight and ensure you use a microfiber paper towel or sponge for this step.
● Step 3: Conditioning the leather item
Condition your leather item using a soft and clean lint-free cloth while still damp. While conditioning, make sure you do it in small circular motions for even application on the entire surface and make it supple again. Do not use a lot of conditioner, a thin layer will serve the leather surface well. Applying too much of it will make leather fibers squishy and eventually rot.
After applying the conditioner on the leather surface, allow it to dry overnight to allow the conditioner to penetrate fully through pores the water evaporated through. Then, look out for the overly dry areas on the leather surface and apply more conditioner.
● Step 4: Buffing the leather item
If you are trying to clean and restore your leather shoes or boots, the fourth step will be to buff them. Buffing your leather shoes and boots will allow them to regain their shine and have that ‘new look.’ Again, you will need to use a nice shoe brush with good quality bristles for this step.
● Step 5: Waterproofing the leather item
After following the above steps to clean and restore your leather items, you must protect them from getting wet in the future. For instance, if you wear your leather booths and jackets to work, where they are highly likely to get wet, consider getting them waterproofed for improved, and maximum protection.
If you decide to have your leather shoes, boots, or jackets waterproofed, please make sure they are clean to maximize the efficiency and effectiveness of the product you choose to use. It can be either wax or a spray protectant.
Remember, you should be cautious when trying any product on your precious leather items. Before applying any new products on the entire surface of your shoes, boots, jackets, or bags, test it on the less conspicuous areas and check for any unusual aftermath.
Better yet, you can get the restoration done by someone that has the skill, experience, and specializes in cleaning leather. Doing so will save you the struggle of learning how to restore leather under a lot of pressure and with less time to do it. It is also an excellent way to have it done perfectly, as minor mistakes are very probable if it’s your first time.