We all know that leather is a sturdy and durable material. But, can you iron it? In this article, I’m going to share with you my research on whether you can or cannot iron leather goods such as bags, jackets, etc. I will also go over some factors to consider before deciding to iron your leather items and the pros and cons of ironing your leather goods.
So can you iron leather? You can iron your leather jackets, bags, skirts, etc by setting the iron to a temperature, not more than 120 degrees Fahrenheit and then putting a piece of cotton fabric between the leather you’re ironing and the iron to prevent the iron from having direct contact with the leather. Ironing leather, however, comes with some caveats such as discoloration.
Before we head over to the pros and cons of ironing leather, let’s get into a few important factors to consider before ironing your leather.
Factors To Consider Before Ironing Your Leather
1. Iron Temperature
The first factor to consider before ironing your leather is the temperature of the iron. Ironing at temperatures over 120 degrees Fahrenheit can damage and dry out your leather items.
So it’s important not to high-heat setting on your machine if you’re unsure what that should be set as.
Lower heat will seal in moisture while a higher one will melt any waxes used for protection against stains and liquids. The best way to know what level of temperature is right for you would be by experimenting with the different settings until you find one that suits all types of materials such as man-made fibers, natural fibers, cotton blends, and more!
In some cases, the leather item will have a recommended heat setting and whether at all heat from the iron could be applied to it. Most important of all, with the right heat setting you should be able to iron any leather items.
2. Type Of Leather Item
The type of leather item will also determine if your can iron it or not. There are some leather items that can get deformed right away when you iron them. An example is shoes.
The leather items you should be able to iron will include leather items like bags, skirts, pants, jackets, to mention a few. This is because you would want the iron to push firmly be able to penetrate the leather deeply to remove wrinkles.
3. Type Of Leather
There are different types of leather that are used in making leather goods. The type of leather that has been used to make a particular leather item can also determine if that leather item can be ironed or not.
For example, it is advisable not to iron suede leather. The reason for this is because suede leather is often too delicate and thin and can be easily deformed when ironed.
Also, the suede material does not have enough wax to protect it from heat damage and can result in some damaging effect on your leather garment when you try to press out wrinkles with an iron.
4. The Type Of Finish On The Leather Item
The type of finish on the surface of the leather items can also determine if you could actually iron a particular leather item or not.
For example, there are some items that have been made of leather and then coated with wax. These items will need to be ironed at low heat or else the wax may melt off of your item.
So it is very important to know what type of finish your leather item has to ensure that you are taking good care of it.
Pros Of Ironing Leather
There are some advantages to ironing leather especially if it is done properly.
1. Ironing Helps To Remove Creases From Leather
One of the benefits of using an iron on your leather is that it can help remove creases and wrinkles from leather items; especially garments. Ironing leather is probably one of the most effective yet easy ways to deal with wrinkled leather items.
This may be important if you are trying to make sure your outfit looks sharp and professional. That way, people will take notice of how nice your leather apparel looks in contrast with those who simply use a hanger for their garments or just don’t care about the appearance at all.
All you do is put your iron on the lowest heat setting and then gently iron the leather item in circular motions. Make sure to put something in between your iron ad your leather items like brown paper or 100% cotton fabric or towel.
Ironing leather also works for leather that hasn’t been used to make items yet. Meaning leather work crafters who get their leather pieces or scraps shipped to them which arrives all wrinkled up can also iron their leather.
In this case, the leather can be ironed on the flesh side without using any brown paper or cotton towel. The raw leather can be ironed by spraying a solution containing 1 part of rubbing alcohol to 1 part water).
After spraying the flesh side with the solution, the iron in this case is set to the highest heat setting for cotton fabric and then you can begin to iron the flesh side. This works like magic!.
An important trick when it comes to using leather to remove creases, wrinkles, and dents is to allow the leather to cool before lifting it up to use”
2. Ironing Helps To Break Into Leather
Ironing helps to break in leather, which can make it more supple. When you buy a new leather item, especially those you wear, it is important they fit you and make you feel comfortable. Leather is a material that will eventually adapt to your body type. This, however, happens over a period of time.
But ironing your leather items like jackets, pants, skirts, etc is a great way to break into them as quickly as possible without having to wait very long. So you will feel comfortable and have that sense of ownership right away.
The way this happens is that when leather is warmed up, its fibers soften and become extremely shapeable for lack of a better word. So once you iron and wear the leather item, the fibers will take on your shape, and they won’t go back.
3. Ironing Your Leather Helps To Remove Stains
Another awesome advantage of ironing your leather items is that it is a great way to remove stains. The way you do this is by applying a damp cloth to the stain and let it sit for about 15 minutes.
Then you will take your iron, set it on low heat of course, and place it over the wet spot with an old t-shirt or scrap material in between. This is done by placing the hot surface onto that area until no more steam comes out of the other side.
4. Ironing Leather Prevents The Leather Item From Stretching Too Much
Ironing also helps to keep the fibers of the leather in place so that they do not stretch too much over time. Leather will generally stretch out quite a bit with time. Ironing the leather will cause the leather fibers to return to their original position.
This will help prevent the leather from stretching too much and keep it more durable for a longer period of time.
It is important that you use a low heat setting so that there is no chance of damaging your expensive purse or bag with the hot iron.
Be sure also not to apply pressure while using iron on any area as this can cause even more damage to your luxury item, which then makes it less desirable by decreasing its value.
Cons Of Using Ironing Leather
There are a few cons to using iron on leather.
1. Takes Time
Although you will need to iron leather as quickly as possible, it tends to a bit of a pain since you must be extremely cautious so you do not damage your leather items.
This is probably one of the very first downsides you will notice about ironing your leather item. Simply put, it’s going to take some time for you to fully finish your task of ironing-which might not really work for those who need their clothes quickly.
It is imperative that you keep an eye on the areas you have already applied the iron to so that you do not overheat a particular spot of the leather item.
2. Ironing Could Discolor Your Leather
Another downside to ironing leather is that it can potentially discolor your item.
This situation typically occurs when you are using an old or dirty cloth on the surface of the fabric and then apply too much heat from the iron-leaving a darkened, yellowish appearance in areas where there has been contacted with heated metal.
It’s important to note that this will not happen if you use clean clothing for both sides of the ironing, but rather only one side.
Thankfully, this effect should wear off after some time period (though I cannot say for sure how long it’s going to take). If possible though, try avoiding contacting the same spot of the leather item with the iron multiple times.
3. Ironing Leather Can Weaken The Protective Coating
The surface of most leather items is often sealed and protect so that it does not lose its original luster and color over time.
Typically, this is achieved with an oil-based protector that gets applied to the surface of the leather goods at some point during their production process (e.g., when it’s being tanned).
Ironing can cause heat from the iron to seep into these sealed areas and risk removing or damaging that protective coating.
This can result in a weakening of the overall durability/life expectancy for your item as well as damage-specific colors present on the surface.
It should be noted though that if you are using cotton fabric or brown paper in between the iron and the leather item then this effect is greatly minimized.
4. Ironing Leather Can Dry Up Leather
Heat typically causes leather to dry this is because the heat from the iron can quickly dry out the essential oil and moisture the leather needs to remain soft and supple. This can eventually cause the leather to dry out and crack.
This is particularly worse for leather items that are made of very thin leather materials. In this case, you will need to replenish the leather oils and leather conditioners to help restore lost oils.
All in all, it is clear the decision to iron leather is something that requires taking into consideration a lot of things. And while this process is something you can do, it will absolutely come with some caveats.
If you’re still unsure about whether this process would work for your particular leather item(s), consult a professional beforehand!