Leather & Sheepskin

One of the world’s oldest textiles, leather is still more or less unmatched in its comfort, beauty, and usefulness. Made from the hides of cows and other animals, leather has been used for a huge range of crafts since prehistory, and still is to this day.

Even as time’s moved on and cheaper alternatives have been developed, a lot of us are still madly in love with the peerless, rustic authenticity of original leather.

A relatively new addition to the WoolOvers collection, we’re also head over heels with leather, and once you experience the rugged, high-quality construction of our leather gloves and diverse sheepskin products, you will be too!

How to Clean Leather

One of the best things about leather is that it’s so durable and resilient against wear and surface blemishes. Still, every now and then you’ll need to treat your leather for stains, grease, or the gradual build-up of dirt in the seams.
Even though most people have at least a few pieces of leather in their home, very few know the best way to care for leather. Leather clothes and accessories, spending a lot of time outside and exposed to the elements, run the risk of wear and stains. Your initial impulse might be to go at your stains with a normal soap or fabric detergent. This should be avoided, as it tends to leave residue in the material which will prevent it from breathing. This can often lead to those brittle-feeling dry patches and unsightly cracks you see in old leather sofas or armchairs. To help your leather last for as long as possible, take a slower, gentler approach, following the guidelines below…

- Mix any kind of soft soap – a mild clothing detergent or facial wash are usually good choices – with water. 1 part soap to 8 parts water is perfect. If you live in a hard water area, it’s best to use filtered or bottled water. This will keep any particles or diluents out of the equation and minimise the risk of accidental damage.

- Pour this soap solution into a spray bottle and spray it onto a sponge or cloth. Avoid spraying any cleaning solution straight onto leather, as too much of this can cause oversaturation and stop the fabric breathing.

- Gently wipe marks or stains in little circles.

- Once the stain or mark is more or less invisible, put your clothing or accessory out somewhere it can get a lot of air and dry naturally, but away from direct sunlight.

- Once your leather is fully dried, treat it with a pea-sized drop of moisturising leather conditioner to give it longer-lasting integrity.

How to Wash Sheepskin

Just like leather, sheepskin is exceptionally hard-wearing, and you generally don’t have to worry too much about stains and other blemishes. Still, when accidents do happen, it’s good to know the best way to wash sheepskin and get it looking brand new again! Be sure to treat the soft suede right and keep it looking better for longer with these simple pointers…

- Before you do anything, check the care tag on your sheepskin garment. A lot of sheepskin items are designated “dry clean only”, and washing these conventionally can cause irreversible damage, even by hand. If the label carries the “do not wash” symbol, you can still usually spot-clean sheepskin with just some warm water and a cloth.

- If the manufacturer’s instructions recommend hand washing, this can be done in a bath or basin of lukewarm water.

- Add a capful of a detergent that’s designed for use on natural fibres, like our very own wool wash.

- Submerge the sheepskin in the water and let it sit for a minute or so, then give it a light swish around the tub to wash off any clinging particles of grease or dirt.

- Once the sheepskin looks clean, give it a thorough rinse in cold water, then squeeze it out without wringing the material, as this can run the risk of permanently stretching or misshaping it.

- After that, gently pat down your sheepskin with towels to draw up any excess moisture.

- Leave it out to dry on a flat towel, somewhere where it can get some air flowing through it, but out of any direct sunlight and not too close to any heat source.

- As an optional extra step, take a small, stiff-bristled brush to your sheepskin to gently fluff up the suede shell. This will get the garment back to its original, velvety texture.