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How To Restore A Black Leather Jacket

Some loyalties go on and on. If you have a faithful, beautiful, timeless, designer or knock-about black leather jacket that needs some love, here’s a step-by-step guide to restoring it. Banish scuffs, marks, fading and general surface wear and give your favourite leather jacket a new lease on life.

Black Jacket Reviver (No.18)

This intense potion is a black restoring cream that coats leather with colour and finish. It boosts faded blacks, covers minor scratches and scuffs and leaves a protective coating. Easy to apply, fast-drying, sheer or nearly complete coverage, it’s ideal for replenishing and reintensifying your black leather apparel and accessories. Use it on your black leather jacket and handbags.

Black Jacket Reviver Kit - Leather Hero
Super simple. Just 2 steps to go from shabby to sharp

UV fading has bleached the colour from this jacket

“Thanks heaps – I love this jacket but have been annoyed at the fading for years…Really appreciate such a great product :)”

Kat C

Method

Clean & Prepare the surface

STEP 1
Spray Cleanse (No.1) onto one area at a time. Spot & Prep (No.4) can also be used on most leathers. Do a test area before proceeding
STEP 2
If the leather is soiled, gently agitate the cleaner into the grain using a soft bristle brush or scourer – don’t rub. If the scourer seems too course, rub it on hard surface to flatten and soften the fibres. Treat delicate leathers with care
STEP 3
Wipe clean with a cloth and allow to dry
STEP 4
If there are any scuffs or damaged areas, lightly sand to remove any loose matter and smooth the area. This step also opens the pores of the leather which can help to improve the penetration and adhesion of the products. Use a cloth to wipe away any sanding dust

Restore Colour

STEP 5
Pour some Black Jacket Reviver (No.18) on to an applicator sponge
STEP 6
Using moderate pressure and even strokes, apply to one area at a time. Complete one side then flip the coat and do the reverse side.
Continue until all areas are coated. Allow drying. You can use a hairdryer at 30cm to speed up drying
  1. Apply additional coats as needed. One coat gives a sheer makeover, several coats give a complete colour refresh
  2. Clean up any metal parts using a cloth and the cleaner
  3. When dry, buff lightly using a microfibre cloth
  4. Allow 48 hours before conditioning the leather

“Wow – I have just used the repair kit to restore a much loved leather jacket. So quick, easy and I am amazed at how the jacket looks like new. Could not be happier with the product”

Michelle S

Tips

  • Tape up the edge of the lining and metal parts with masking tape to avoid over-painting
  • Protect the workspace because Black Jacket Reviver (No.18) carries a potent colour punch

Not Just Jackets

Jackets, handbags, footwear, belts and pretty much any black leather or vinyl accessories can be given a colour boost using Black Jacket Reviver (No.18.

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How to Clean & Condition Aniline Leather

Anilines are often considered the finest of all leathers. They are soft, supple, warm to touch and are naturally beautiful. Usually, full-grain, they are strong and display natural markings including pores, wrinkles and even, minor scars. With minimal or no coatings on the surface, they are also vulnerable to stains. Accidents can happen and normal use over time takes its toll. But with the right strategies, this leather can age very gracefully and with character.

Prevention

With aniline leather, every bit of grime that hits the surface penetrates into the structure of the leather. Putting a few strategies in place to minimise spills and to catch everyday soiling can be the smart approach.

…you don’t want to wrap your designer couch in cling film just to avoid stains!

We know you don’t want to wrap your designer couch in cling film just to avoid stains – and, it’s entirely up to you to decide – but here are some ideas to consider:

  • Protect the headrests and armrests from the impact of hair and body oil using decorative throw rugs. Permanent greasy marks can develop when oils penetrate into the leather
  • During the day, lay down a sheet or throw rugs to catch the kids handiwork
  • Keep pens, textas, slime and nail polish as far away as possible – like, on another planet!
  • Make the sofa a no-food zone. Greasy hands and spills will leave permanent marks
  • Implement a ‘Shirts On’ rule. Bare skin = body oil and perspiration = stains
  • Place throw rugs strategically to protect the sofa during the day and remove them in the evening when the family have had showers and are nice and clean
  • Keep pets off the sofa but if you want them up there with you, consider placing a plush pet bed on the sofa for them to use
  • Keep Leather Hero’s Nubuck, Suede and Aniline Cleanse (No.10) on hand to treat spills immediately
  • Maintain a regular schedule of maintenance that contributes some protective benefits
  • Unfriend everyone you know who drinks red wine, tea or coffee….kidding

OK, we know for most people, these ideas are a bit over the top but for those of you who want to do everything you can to protect your sofa, they are worth considering. These concepts apply equally to aniline leather handbags, footwear and apparel. When it comes to aniline furniture and apparel, beware dark denim. The dyes can transfer from your jeans to your jacket and once set-in, may not be removable.

When oil soaks into aniline leather, it’s difficult to remove

Regular Cleaning Beats Extreme Cleaning

More than any other type of leather, anilines will thank you for a regular maintenance schedule. A once a year special will not do much to nurture or clean your aniline leather. After a year of absorbing soiling, the damage is largely, done.

A 3 monthly service is recommended and, if you have a busy home, more often may be ideal. Service apparel and accessories at the beginning and end of the season and more often if they are in everyday use.

When cleaning is regular, it’s quick and easy to do. Integrate a lounge wipe over with a lightly dampened cloth into your regular cleaning schedule then, every 3 months or so, use the right products to give them a thorough service.

Method

Test

  1. Start with Nubuck, Suede & Aniline Care Kit. Test each product in an inconspicuous place to assess compatibility with your leather. If there are any unwanted changes, do not proceed

Clean

  1. Vacuum any dust and particles
  2. Pour the cleaner onto a lightly dampened microfibre cloth or spray it directly onto the leather one section at a time. It will be absorbed quickly, so…
  3. Working quickly and gently, agitate the cleaner into the grain using a scrubbing brush
  4. Wipe clean with a microfibre cloth
  5. Repeat if needed

Condition

  1. Pour conditioner to a lightly dampened microfibre cloth and squeeze to incorporate
  2. Wipe over the surface evenly and repeat until all areas have been treated

Protect

  1. Pour onto a lightly dampened cloth or spray over one section at a time
  2. Working quickly, wipe over the surface evenly and repeat until all areas have been treated

Regime

  1. Repeat every 3 months or more frequently in busy environments
  2. Have products on hand to tackle accidental spills and marks

Cleaning

Aniline leathers are porous with an open fibrous structure. They easily absorb cleaners and conditioners. Avoid general purpose leather cleaners, homemade recipes and household cleaners. Instead, opt for one that is formulated for unfinished leathers.

Leather Hero’s Nubuck, Suede and Aniline Cleanse (No.10) is a mild, non-toxic, water-based, cleaner suitable for aniline leather. It gently removes dirt and is mild enough to avoid damaging the leather.

Most marks on aniline leather quickly become permanent stains. When cleaning, you won’t see them magically disappear. However, with regular cleaning, marks tend to soften in appearance, blending in a more aesthetically pleasing way over time.

The cleaner absorbs quickly and may not leave much soiling or residue on the cloth. This can be frustrating because you may feel that nothing is happening. But rest assured, this process helps to remove the soiling you can see and soiling you can’t see, thereby maintaining the health of your leather. With regular cleaning, marks or stains can soften over time.

Prada bag
Protect aniline leather designer accessories with regular care using products formulated for unfinished leathers

Accidents & Spills

Keep a suitable leather cleaner on hand for accidents and spills and treat them immediately. Use a blotting technique to draw the unwanted liquid or contaminant from the leather into the cleaning cloth.

Method:

  1. Pour some cleaner onto a lightly dampened microfibre cloth and fold it into a multi-layer square shape
  2. Using the palm of your hand, press and hold the cloth to the spill for a couple of seconds
  3. Repeat using a fresh part of the cloth

Strong Cleaner

Leather Hero’s Spot & Prep (No.4) is a strong cleaner than can be used with caution on unfinished leathers. As it is a strong cleaner, testing is important and it should not be used as a general-purpose cleaner. For accidents and spills, spot clean by blotting the mark a few times then allow the area to dry.

Ink Stick

Ink can be quite deadly on unfinished leathers. A large ink spill and markers are very difficult to remove but a pen mark may come out if treated immediately. Have an Ink Stick on hand so that you can take action as soon as the accident happens.

Water

Avoid saturating the leather. Too much moisture can subtly change the structure of leather, leaving water-marks and stiffening. If your leather is prone to water-marks, finish with an outward sweeping technique to minimise the chance of a noticeable edge to the treated area.

Nubuck, Suede & Aniline kit without accessories - Leather Hero
Ideal for the regular care and maintenance of aniline, nubuck and suede leathers

Conditioning

Some leather conditioners can permanently darken aniline leather, making it look wet or greasy. Leather Hero’s Nubuck, Suede and Aniline Nourish (No.11) is light, penetrating and moisturising. It is formulated to nurture unfinished leathers without changing the natural appearance of the leather.

Leather Hero’s Nubuck, Suede and Aniline Nourish (No.11) has a light lotion consistency. It leaves the leather feeling beautiful to touch and won’t change the natural aesthetic characteristics of unprotected leathers.

Protecting

The last step towards beautiful nubuck, suede and aniline leather is an invisible, anti-soiling, breathable shield that helps keep your leather clean for longer. Helping to protect the leather from the uptake of spills, grease, transferred dye and stains, it’s a smart inclusion if you want to make light work of maintaining your upholstery. It also contains a UV barrier that can help to reduce fading in bright environments. Try Leather Hero’s Protect (No.3) on your unfinished leathers. Again, test products for compatibility in an inconspicuous place before proceeding with a full service.

Test First

Always test products in an inconspicuous place before proceeding with a full service. There are many makers and treatments used in tanneries so it is prudent to ensure compatibility before using products.

What type of leather? semi-aniline - Leather Hero
There are many different leather treatments used in tanneries

Simple Accessories

To service your aniline leather, you’ll need a soft-bristle scrubbing brush, some microfibre cloths and a sponge. Nail brushes with flexible synthetic or pig-hair bristles are ideal for agitating dirt from the grain. Use a light circular motion with light to moderate pressure.

Semi-Aniline Leathers

Semi-aniline leathers can have light colour coatings and clear topcoats. As they are light coatings (meaning comparatively thin), they can be abraided easily. Avoid the use of harsh scrubbing, intense rubbing, kitchen scourers and magic sponges.

Semi- aniline leathers often have light colour and top-coatings. This is one we restored after years of fading, stains and coatings wear.

UV Light and Fading

In a sun-drenched room or beside a window, aniline leather furniture can fade quite dramatically. Unlike pigmented leathers, the beautiful aniline dyes used to colour the leather in the tannery tend to fade when exposed to sunlight. If possible, protect anilines from direct sunlight by installing blinds, window tinting or placing them away from windows.

Leather Hero’s Protect (No.3) contains a UV barrier. Use it every 3 months to slow the fading of aniline leathers.

Leather Protector 250ml - Leather Hero
Easy to apply, Protect (No.3) can help to prevent stains

Older Aniline Leather

If your lounge is older and the leather is dry, you may choose to use a richer conditioner. Waxy Nourish (No.9) is a more robust conditioner that leaves a noticeable waxy coating which can be buffed to a luxurious shine. The look has a pleasing vintage appeal. With multiple applications, anilines can take on a waxed leather look and feel.

This vintage lounge suite was treated with Waxy Nourish (No.9)

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How To Paint With Leather Paint

If you love making art, leather paints open up a world of possibilities. With these chroma rich paints, you can customise your leather and vinyl accessories to your heart’s content. Get creative, your imagination run free and make a statement with customised leather cushions, footwear and apparel.

Colours

The Leather Hero range of colours starts with 15 master colours. All other colours are blended from these shades. For artistic painting, you can use any colours within the Leather Hero range. However, these core colours make the ideal art set, enabling the creation of a universe of new colours.

Leather Hero Master Colours Chart
Water-based, mixable and chroma rich colours for your creative projects

Getting Started

The Master Colour Set is a great place to start. The colour dots we mixed are just a few of the many possibilities that be created using black, white, ochre, blue and scarlet.

Master Colour Set 5 x 50ml - Leather Hero
THE MASTER COLOUR SET

These 5 core colours can be mixed to create many unique colours; from pastels to mid-tones to vibrant and dark tones, they offer a world of creative opportunity

Black, White, Ochre, Scarlet, Blue

Consistency

Leather Hero paints are a liquid consistency. They are applied in layers. This means you can achieve a range of effects. With a single brushstroke, you can make ethereal water-colour effects. With a few layers, a solid, opaque finish is achieved. Have a jar of water on hand to wash your brushes as needed.

Low viscosity paint enables fine detailing

Customised Creations

When you are looking for a truly personalised gift, a custom designed, hand-painted leather or faux jacket really does fit the bill. Paint the sleeves and leave the back blank. Paint the back and make some small references on the front or decorate the entire jacket with random or repeated motifs. There really are no limits.

Making it personal

What do you give to a girl who lives by the sea and loves orcas and her Italian Greyhound equally? Answer: A custom painted leather jacket featuring them all.

On some scrap paper, we sketched the design, decided on a solid colour painting style and got the go-ahead from the client.

A truly personalised and unique jacket

Painting On Black Leather

Here’s how we completed a customised commissioned for our client. She wanted the magnolia motif to be simple and pretty so we suggested a single stem with a flower and buds.

The first step was to clean the leather thoroughly with Spot & Prep (No.4). The leather may have been coated or conditioned at the tannery or thereafter with products containing waxes, oils or silicones. It’s important to remove them before painting to optimise the bond between the leather and your artwork.

Soft bristle brushes enable smooth, flowing strokes
Speed up the drying process by using a hair dryer at 30cm from your artwork
Leather Spot Remover & Surface Prep 50ml - Leather Hero
STEP 1:
Spray Spot & Prep (No.4) onto the leather one area at a time. Gently agitate the cleaner with a soft scrubbing brush and wipe clean with a microfibre cloth
STEP 2:
Sketch your design using an erazable pencil
STEP 3:
Paint the entire area of your design with white paint
Creating a white or light coloured base helps subsequent layers pop
STEP 4:
In thin layers, add in the mid-tones, highlights and shadows to form your subject
STEP 5:
Add in the details and you are done!
Paint your way using as much detail or expression as you like
A very happy client

Painting With Colour Restoration Cream

Colour Restoration Cream (No.32) has lots of resins to create a rub-resistant, serviceable finish. Blended with leather paints, it creates beautiful colours and a smooth, glaze-like brushstroke, similar to a traditional painting medium. Due to the semi-transparent coverage of this product, working on a light coloured substrate is best.

Painted directly on a piece of crust (tanned and unfinished leather) using Colour Restoration Creams, this lovely image has a delicate, sheer aesthetic. It would make a unique floor cushion.

Working quickly and painting wet-in-wet allows for artistic blending. To build depth of colour and create multi-dimensional effects, allow your work to dry between each layer. Results with Colour Cream are soft and similar to water-colour or acrylic paints blended with lots of medium.

We love to see your works of art. Send them to us via info@leatherhero.com.au or 0490 796 012

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How to Clean Suede & Nubuck Leather

Warm, velvety and natural, suede and nubuck leathers are widely considered some of the most valuable and beautiful. They are also the most vulnerable to damage. Having said that, quality unfinished leathers can age gracefully, arguably better than pigmented leather that can delaminate and degrade in other ways after years of use. With aniline, nubuck and suede, sometimes, the compromise is a patina of marks that, over time, blend to create a vintage appeal. Regular care and maintenance with the right suede leather cleaner and suede conditioner help to prolong the health of these leathers whilst softening the appearance of marks and minimising stains.

Regular care with the right products help to keep nubuck and suede leather at its luxurious best

From Day 1

More than any other type of leather, it’s important to commence and maintain a regular regime of cleaning and conditioning from the day your new lounge or coat is delivered. When that first spill hits your leather, you will be glad you have a suitable cleaner on hand to immediately treat the affected area. You will also be pleased that you have conditioned the leather thereby providing a level of protection. Whilst there is no physical barrier to prevent spills from penetrating into the structure of the leather, regular conditioning adds some factors that may buy you some time as you race to soak up the spill before it enters the leather. Similarly, a leather protector, if suitable for your leather, can also create an invisible shield that helps to prevent stains and repels soiling.

Using a professional grade nubuck and suede care system from Day 1 helps to preserve that brand new look and feel for longer

What Not To Use

Due to the open and porous nature of leather and the lack of protective coatings on anilines, suedes and nubucks, the use of harsh cleaners can dry and damage the leather at the structural leather resulting in long term problems. Similarly, overly ‘rich’ conditioners can permanently darken the leather, making it look wet or greasy. Avoid the home-made recipes and so-called clever hacks you find on the internet. They are usually ill-informed and risky. Leather care has already been cleverly hacked by engineers and scientists who have, through decades (if not centuries) of research and development, created dedicated products that are safe and beneficial to leather. Also, avoid the use of household cleaners. They can cause irreversible damage that may show immediately or later on. Rips and stripped colour can result from the use of cream cleansers, cleaning wipes, oils and other unsuitable chemicals.

Avoid the costly mistake of using inappropriate cleaners and ‘conditioners’ on your valuable leather

DIY Care

Good suede and nubuck leather care involves just a few steps; cleaning, conditioning and, if suitable a protective anti-soiling barrier often referred to as leather protection treatment.

How Often To Service Leather

Consider how often we wipe down our kitchen benches and wash our clothes… Imagine going a month without doing either. Lounges in regular use gather soiling, spills and ‘human grime’ at the same pace as everything else we use daily. A 3 monthly maintenance clean is recommended or more often in high traffic environments.  For apparel, a service at the beginning of the season and another one at the end of the season is recommended. The more regularly you wipe over your leather, the quicker the job. Light and regular is infinitely better for leather than harsh spring cleaning or worse still, the one in 5 or 10 years clean. It ensures your leather is always a joy to use and looks good too. Mark it on your calendar so that you don’t forget.

Regular servicing is the most effective.

Cleaning

The ideal cleaner gently lifts dirt and is mild enough to avoid damaging the leather.

Leather cleaning needs to balance short term results against long term effects

Leather Hero’s Nubuck, Suede and Aniline Cleanse (No.10) is a professional-grade general maintenance cleaner that is ideal for everyday maintenance. It’s formulated specifically for unprotected leathers, is water-based, non-sudsing, non-greasy, non-abrasive, non-toxic and easy to use. With regular use, it minimises marks and removes some of the soiling, body oil and perspiration that damages leather.

When it comes to unprotected leathers, you won’t see stains magically disappear when cleaning. Most often, soiling, spills and marks have penetrated, set-in and are permanent. However, with regular cleaning, marks tend to soften in appearance, blending in a more aesthetically pleasing way over time.

Besides improving the appearance of the leather, regular cleaning helps to minimise the harmful impact of body oil, hair oil and perspiration on leather. With long term exposure, unprotected leathers absorb these contaminants and are degraded at the structural level. They may become dry from perspiration or rot when soaked in oil.

Nubuck, Suede & Aniline kit without accessories - Leather Hero
Ideal for the regular care and maintenance of aniline, nubuck and suede leathers

Conditioning

For aniline, suede and nubuck leather that feels beautiful to touch and is nourished throughout, a light conditioner is best. Products containing the wrong types of waxes and oils can be too ‘rich’ for these leathers. They may clog the pores, look waxy, add unwanted shine, create a greasy appearance or permanently darken the leather.

Unlike a dense wax or thick cream-style conditioner, Leather Hero’s Nubuck, Suede and Aniline Nourish (No.11) is more like a lotion. Whilst a test spot is recommended to determine compatibility with your leather, it typically leaves a beautiful feel without changing the natural characteristics and physical appearance of unprotected leathers.

The Right Accessories

A suitable cleaner, a gentle scrubbing brush and some microfibre cloths are the all you need to clean unprotected leathers.

When it comes to leather cleaning, you want to strike a balance between using gear that makes light work of the job and not damaging your leather. Gentle is best.

For cleaning anilines, look for a bristle brush similar to a nail scrubbing brush with pig-hair bristles or a synthetic domestic cleaning brush. The bristles should not be too hard or inflexible. A light circular motion is usually ideal for agitating dirt from the grain.

Due to the absence of protective coatings, cleaners penetrate quickly. Spray across one area of the leather then, working quickly, use a lightly dampened microfibre cloth to work the cleaner into the leather, then wipe over the leather. You can also pour the cleaner directly onto the cloth, squeeze to incorporate and wipe over the leather.

Semi-aniline leathers can have light colour coatings or clear topcoats. As they are light coatings (meaning comparatively thin), they can be abraided easily. Avoid the use of harsh scrubbing, kitchen scourers and magic sponges. For all leather types, too much heat and water can cause irreversible damage. Whilst steam kills germs and can dislodge some soiling, it is very risky and is not recommended.

Nothing does as good or safe a job as hand detailing

Leather Care Accessory Pack 4 Piece - Leather Hero
Simple accessories get the job done

Test First

There are many leather finishes and qualities so regardless of the instructions on the pack, it’s important to test and observe how your leather responds before proceeding with a full service.

Protecting

The last step towards beautiful nubuck, suede and aniline leather is an invisible, anti-soiling, breathable shield that helps keep your leather clean for longer. Helping to protect the leather from the uptake of spills, grease, transferred dye and stains, it’s a smart inclusion if you want to make light work of maintaining your upholstery. Again, test products for compatibility in an inconspicuous place before proceeding with a full service.

Leather Hero’s Protect (No.3) leaves a transparent barrier to spills and stains.

Leather Protector 250ml - Leather Hero
Easy to apply, Protect (No.3) can help to prevent stains

Brush The Nap

After cleaning, conditioning and protecting, brushing the surface can lift the nap revealing the soft, fuzzy feel of the leather. It can also greatly improve the look, hide marks and leave a lush, velvety finish. A synthetic or fine wire-bristle brush can be used. Brush the surface gently. If there are marks, go over these areas a few times, gradually increase the pressure whilst watching carefully for any unwanted changes.

Uncoated, natural looking and soft to touch, regular cleaning and brushing can help to keep unfinished leathers looking and feeling great

How to clean suede & nubuck leather

Test

  1. Start with Leather Hero’s Nubuck, Suede and Aniline Care Kit. Test each product in an inconspicuous place to assess compatibility with your leather. If there are any unwanted changes, do not proceed

Clean

  1. Vacuum any dust and particles
  2. Pour the cleaner onto a lightly dampened microfibre cloth or spray it directly onto the leather one small section at a time. It will be absorbed quickly, so…
  3. Working quickly and gently, agitate the cleaner into the grain using a scrubbing brush
  4. Wipe clean with a microfibre cloth
  5. Repeat if needed

Condition

  1. Pour conditioner to a lightly dampened microfibre cloth and squeeze to incorporate
  2. Wipe over the surface evenly and repeat until all areas have been treated

Protect

  1. Pour onto a lightly dampened cloth or spray over one section at a time
  2. Working quickly, wipe over the surface evenly and repeat until all areas have been treated

Brush

  1. Brush all areas to lift the nap and render a luxurious, velvety feel. On upholstery, use a strong bristle brush and on apparel, use a soft bristle brush

Regime

  1. Repeat as needed, say, every 3 months depending on usage
  2. Have products on hand to tackle accidental spills and marks
A heavily soiled nubuck lounge
Cleaned by hand using Leather Hero Nubuck, Suede & Aniline Cleanse & Nourish

Other Care Strategies

Over time, hair and body oil can create dark areas, usually on the backrest, headrest or armrest of the favourite seat of a lounge. We have even seen the shadow of a full human figure sitting on an aniline lounge – made of grease! True story.

So, whilst it’s entirely up to you to decide, the use of throw rugs can be part of a strategic plan to minimise the effects of oils on aniline leathers. They are removable and can be washed regularly, unlike your lounge. In the old days, our great grandmothers used antimacassars; decorative cloths that were put over the back of a chair to protect it from grease and dirt. A crocheted doily may not be your idea of style especially when paired with a sleek contemporary lounge, but a stylish throw rug can serve as the modern alternative.

If you want to share the lounge with your pets, place a pet bed on the lounge and train them to use it.

Antimacassars; decorative cloths that were put over the back of a chair to protect it from grease and dirt.