Fix Water Damage Leather. Tips From Professionals
The relationship between water and leather is more of “frienemies.” On one side, water could help you wipe some dirt off your leather couch, shoes or handbag. It can be used as a tool to shape leather into your desired shapes. But you should be concerned if your leather item is soaked in water. Of course, it’s normal to come across damaged leather due to water, and there are different fixing options, depending on the intensity of the water damage.
Fix water damage leather
The first step in fixing water-damaged leather is to let it dry naturally. Ensure it stays in the correct shape. Do not use a hairdryer to speed things up. When the leather is dry, clean it using a clean cloth or microfiber and some leather soap. When clean, condition the leather with a suitable leather conditioner.
In this article, I will explain in more detail how to repair water-damaged leather and some other items like a leather couch and purse. But first, I will explain something about the leather tanning process.
- 1 The Leather tanning process
- 2 How to repair water damaged leather
- 3 How to dry a leather couch that got rained on
- 4 How to fix water damaged leather couch
- 5 How To Fix Water Damaged Leather Purse
The Leather tanning process
It is vital to appreciate the composition of leather to understand how water affects it. Leather has some natural water resistance capabilities. However, this is not to say that water cannot permeate. Water actually permeates leather quickly.
Some materials such as oils are added to the leather to soften it and enhance its durability during the leather tanning process. The problem occurs once water is left to soak and dry on the leather before being wiped away. This allows the water to combine with the oils at a molecular level. As the leather dries, the water evaporates, so do the oils therein. The result? Dry brittle and cracking leather!
How to repair water damaged leather
Assuming that your favorite leather item has suffered water damage, there is a way it can be salvaged. Use the following steps:
● Step 1: Drying the Leather
The best way to go about it is to let the water dry out in the first instance. After that, it is advisable to allow the leather to dry most naturally. The urge to quicken the drying process by using a hairdryer or any heat source should be firmly resisted. This can cause more harm than good!
There is no need for that. The key ingredient is time, so take a chill pill! Let the leather dry out naturally in a warm environment. However, this is an essential factor, do not let the leather dry out completely; it is enough to have it damp.
Depending on the apparel in question, you must ensure it retains its shape as it dries up. If you’re dealing with a leather jacket, for instance, hanging it on a line to dry is your best bet.
For things like leather shoes and bags, stuffing them with paper will go a long way in ensuring that their shape is well maintained. Crumpled papers will also play a key role in moisture absorption from the inside. If you use paper, check it regularly at the start of the drying process that it doesn’t get too wet. If this is the case, replace it.
● Step 2: Cleaning the Leather
Before moving on to the next crucial step, ensuring that the leather surface is clean is vital. This is done by using a clean cloth or microfiber and leather soap to wipe the leather surface. The cleaning or wiping is done in a circular or sweeping motion. This goes a long way in ensuring there is no dust build-up on your leather surface.
● Step 3: Conditioning the Leather
Once dried or damp and clean. The next step in this process relates to the conditioning of the leather. Conditioning is a routine leather care process that can strengthen leather and make your leather items durable and improve their looks.
This step is too important to ignore. Remember when we discussed the oils-moisture molecular level binding and its negative impact on your leather? Well, this process restores the affected leather to its glory!
I recommend using a designated leather conditioner. But before you start working on the whole item, it is advisable to test a spot using the said conditioner. The purpose of this is to test how the conditioner works out. Then, leave it to dry for some time. Conditioned leather appears a tad bit darker on application but is restored to its original color upon drying.
What you’d want to avoid is a condition which either decolorizes your leather or makes it even darker than it is.
Once you’re convinced that your conditioner is a good one, you may go ahead and apply it on your microfiber and start applying it on the leather surface. Use circular or sweeping motion while at it as it ensures the conditioner soaks in nice and easy. After you’re done, leave it to dry overnight.
After this, you may dry out any excess conditioner using a dry cloth. Then, as day, your leather will appear hydrated and restored.
How to dry a leather couch that got rained on
If you don’t do something about that leather couch that got rained on, you’re simply allowing mold and mildew to have a party on it. It will continue to grow and ruin your couch. But I guess you don’t want that. So, act fast! Wet leather smells terrible if not handled carefully.
If your leather sofa has cushions you can remove, do precisely that to expose the surface beneath the cushion. Using a soft dry cloth, remove the moisture on the leather surface by rubbing gently. Ensure you do this on every part of the couch you can access.
While others may prefer using a source of heat such as a hair drier to dry the couch, the same has some potential of damaging your precious leather. You are better off drying with a cloth and allowing the room temperature to do the rest of the work for you. A fan and proper ventilation will help as well.
Using a dehumidifier can be a great option if you want to speed the drying process. You can use a residential dehumidifier, but I always recommend renting commercial dehumidifiers. They can remove a lot more water per hour than a residential dehumidifier. A dehumidifier pulls in the moisture from the air and dries it out to release dry air back into the room. When used with a fan, this can be highly effective.
How to fix water damaged leather couch
If your leather couch gets rained on or has water damage for some other reason, it will likely contain some stains. Depending on how wet the sofa got, the damage can be quite extensive. If your leather couch was soaked, besides the leather, you’ll have the actual wood to deal with as well. Preventing wet wood rot is also crucial.
The first thing to do is dry the leather as soon as possible. You can use a dry cloth, sponge, or microfiber. Using de dehumidifier and good ventilation can speed up the process considerably. Quick action goes a long way in preventing mold and mildew from taking root and ruining your precious leather. You want to avoid that as it will be difficult to restore.
Applying saddle soap on the leather will work quite well. First, it removes any dirt and unwanted material clinging to your couch. Next, the saddle soap is applied by using a sponge or microfiber. As earlier advised, circular or sweeping motions work in this case.
Once done, let time do its thing. Leave it to soak in and dry. What follows is conditioning. Using a designated conditioner is the best way to ensure whatever you apply on your leather couch will not end up ruining it.
I recommend avoiding DIY chemicals. These often lead to bad results. You might notice a color change as you do this. It’s no cause for alarm at all. Just keep doing your thing on the entire leather surface until you see the conditioner is evenly distributed and all stains have disappeared. Allow it to dry.
How To Fix Water Damaged Leather Purse
Leather is a popular material in the fashion industry. It is used in a myriad of fashion items, including purses. Yes, purses! And trust me, a leather purse rocks different from the rest, and it stands out. However, it’s regrettable that most people owning these leather purses don’t know how to maintain them. That’s why most get damaged.
Sadly enough, only a handful know how to handle or fix water-damaged leather purses. Fixing a water-damaged leather purse is made possible by using the most readily available common tools and materials. Use the following steps to fix your water-damaged leather purse:
● Step 1: Analyze the damage
First, how bad is the damage? This is something you must assess. Are the straps intact, or do they need some repair? Water tends to make the straps joints weak and susceptible to tear. If that is the case, fret not. Remove the straps entirely and work on the damaged leather first.
● Step 2: Use saddle soap
Saddle soap is a fundamental ingredient in this procedure. Apply it on the surface using a damp cloth and clean the entire surface. However, don’t use force, do it gently. Give the purse some time to dry out thoroughly. Once dry, you may now apply a standard leather conditioner like you applied the soap.
● Step 3: Fix the straps
As for the straps, the procedure is the same. Additionally, fix them back to their original position using an appropriate needle and thread. They usually can be easily sewn back and attached to the purse to make it look as good as new.