If you're like many consumers, you consider immersion in water to be the kiss of death for your leather items such as purses, jackets, luggage, and furniture. However, strategies exist for minimizing the damage water wreaks on leather. Following are three of them that are particularly helpful for situations where significant amounts of water are a part of the picture such as flooding or the aftermath of a household fire that was put out by water.
The Objects Should Be Thoroughly Cleaned
The first step in restoring leather that has been damaged by water is to clean it thoroughly. If it's been damaged by flood waters, keep in mind that the water may contain contaminants such as sewage and other toxins and may therefore require more special cleaning techniques and procedures than if the water had been clean. You should probably call a local water damage restoration company because they'll have the knowledge and the equipment to safely clean the objects without leaving any toxic residue behind.
If the water is relatively clean and has not totally saturated the leather, you might be able to get good results with an over-the-counter leather cleaning product after the object has been allowed to thoroughly dry.
The Objects Should Be Conditioned
Exposure to water dries out leather items, so the next step after the leather has been thoroughly cleaned and dried is to condition them in order to restore lost moisture. A variety of leather conditioning products are available -- most are applied in circular motions using a soft, clean cloth. Whatever conditioner you decide to use, it should be allowed to soak in for about 24 hours before wiping off any excess conditioner with a clean, lint-free rag. Keep in mind while it's a good practice to apply leather conditioner to all leather items on a regular basis, those that have sustained serious water damage may need it more often.
The Objects Should Be Treated With a Color Restoration Product
Exposure to water as well as the cleaning process can cause water damaged leather to fade. A good leather color restoration product can help bring back your object's former beauty. Just like with cleaning after water damage, you can perform this yourself with over-the-counter products, but if the damage has been severe or you want to ensure the best possible results on an expensive piece of leather furniture or luggage, you should think about hiring a professional water damage expert.
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