How to Restore Water Damaged Leather Clothing

A leather jacket close up.
  • 1 hours
  • Beginner
  • 30-60
What You'll Need
Leather stain removal products (such as Saddle Soap)
Leather protective coating products (such as Scotchgard)
Soft nail brush
Shoe polish or leather dye

Leather clothing can last a lifetime if it's well maintained. One of the main causes of damage to leather apparel is water. Very porous types of leather, including some types of suede, can often be ruined by water. If your leather clothing gets wet, the first thing to do is let it dry thoroughly. Always dry wet leather immediately. A hair dryer on a low setting can speed up the process. Damp leather accumulates mold and mildew. Once mold and mildew form, restoration becomes more difficult.

Removing Water Stains

Leather shoes.

When leather is marked with water, it leaves a stain. Saddle Soap is usually a good product to use to remove the remaining stain. After initially drying the stained areas, wet the saddle soap and work up a lather with a sponge.

Apply the soap with the sponge and pat it dry. If stains remain, repeat the process. To remove mold or mildew, use a soft nail brush. You may need to repeat the process a few times. If the areas that you treat become faded, a leather dye or shoe polish in the appropriate shade can be applied once the material is dry.

Protecting the Leather

A man's leather jacket.

Finally, it's best to apply a protective coating. Many products, including Scotchgard, can be readily found in supermarkets. They should be used regularly to avoid future damage to the leather.