Items like clothing, bedding, and towels typically shrink when washed. But what about leather? Can you wash leather and expect it to come out the same size as it was when you started?
Leather items, when carefully washed or cleaned, conditioned, and properly dried, will retain their original size and shape. In most cases, the leather will slightly soften and stretch. But if the leather is made too wet during washing or cleaning and not conditioned, the leather will shrink.
Continue reading as I share with you the details on instances washing or cleaning leather will cause your leather to shrink, how to properly wash and dry leather so that you don’t have to deal with the headache of shrunken leather, and so much more.
What Instance Will Leather Shrink When Washed?
Just like I mentioned in the above summary, here are a few of the common instances that will cause your leather to shrink when washed:
1. Too Much Water During Washing
One of the main reasons your leather items will shrink when you wash them is if you use too much water.
Even if you don’t soak your leather item in a tub of water, simply using too much water during the cleaning process can cause the leather to shrink.
If you’re going to wash your leather item, be sure to use as little water as possible. And if you must use more than a small amount of water, be sure to condition the leather afterward.
We’ll talk more about conditioning leather a little later on.
But for now, just know that if you use too much water during the cleaning process, your leather is likely to shrink.
So be sure to use as little water as possible and avoid soaking your leather item in water altogether.
2. Poor Quality Cleaning Products
Another instance that will cause your leather to shrink is if you use poor-quality cleaning products.
There are a lot of cleaning products on the market that are filled with harsh chemicals and other ingredients that can damage leather.
So if you use one of these products to clean your leather item, it’s likely that the leather will react with them, and the result may be a shrunken leather item.
To avoid this, be sure only to use cleaning products that are specifically designed for leather.
There are plenty of high-quality, gentle leather cleaners on the market that will clean your leather without causing any damage.
Just be sure to do your research and choose a quality product before you start cleaning.
3. Not Conditioning the Leather After Washing
Conditioning leather is an important step in the cleaning process that is often overlooked.
Leather conditioner helps to replenish the natural oils in the leather that are lost during the cleaning process.
Without these natural oils, the leather can become dry, brittle, and more susceptible to damage.
Conditioning leather after washing will help to prevent shrinkage and keep your leather looking its best.
So be sure to condition your leather every time you wash it, and you’ll avoid any shrinkage issues.
4. Not Drying the Leather Properly After Washing
Another common mistake that leads to shrunken leather is not drying the leather properly after washing. Leather needs to be dried slowly and carefully to avoid shrinkage.
The best way to do this is to let the leather air dry naturally. Avoid using a hair dryer, clothes dryer, or any other type of heat source to speed up the drying process.
Heat can cause the leather to shrink, so it’s best to avoid it altogether. If you need to speed up the drying process, you can use a fan to help circulate the air around the leather and speed up the drying time.
5. Incorrect Washing Techniques
Another thing that will cause your leather to shrink is if you use incorrect washing techniques.
This often involves methods such as soaking leather items in water, using a washing machine or dryer, scrubbing the leather harshly, or using too much water during the cleaning process (as we talked about earlier).
So if you want to avoid shrinking your leather goods after cleaning them, be sure to use the proper washing techniques. We’ll talk more about that a little later on.
For now, just know that if you use incorrect washing techniques, your leather is likely to shrink. So be sure to use the proper methods when cleaning your leather items.
6. The Temperature of The Water You Use To Clean Leather
The temperature of the water you use to clean leather can also have an effect on whether or not your leather will shrink.
If you use hot water to clean leather, it’s more likely that the leather will shrink. This is because hot water can cause the fibers in the leather to contract.
On the other hand, cold water is less likely to cause shrinkage. Your best bet is rather to use lukewarm water, especially if you’re dealing with colored stains and grease stains, so you do not run the risk of damage.
How Can You Properly Wash Leather So That It Won’t Shrink?
Now that you know a few of the things that can cause leather to shrink let’s talk about how you can properly wash leather so that it won’t shrink.
I will talk about cleaning your leather using leather cleaner.
- Start by removing any debris or dirt from the surface of the leather using a soft brush.
- Next, put a small amount of leather cleaner on a microfiber cloth and rub it into the leather in a circular motion.
- Once the cleaner has been evenly applied, use a clean damp microfiber cloth to wipe away any excess cleaner.
Allow the leather to air dry completely before using or wearing it again.
Here are a few tips to help you avoid shrinking your leather goods:
- Use a gentle, leather-specific cleaner. Avoid using harsh chemicals or cleaners that are not specifically designed for leather.
- Be sure to condition your leather after every cleaning. This will help to replenish the natural oils in the leather and prevent shrinkage.
- Allow your leather goods to air dry naturally. Do not use a hair dryer, clothes dryer, or any other type of heat source to speed up the drying process. Heat can cause leather to shrink.
- Use proper washing techniques when cleaning your leather items. Avoid methods such as soaking in water, using a washing machine or dryer, scrubbing harshly, or using too much water during the cleaning process.
- Don’t place things on your freshly cleaned leather items until they are completely dry.
- Don’t use leather that is not properly dry. This can cause the leather to mildew and shrink.
We hope this article has helped to clear up any confusion about whether or not leather shrinks if you wash it.
As we mentioned, there are a few things that can cause leather to shrink. But if you use the proper washing techniques and take care to condition your leather after every cleaning, you should be able to avoid any shrinkage issues.
Thanks for reading! Did you find this article helpful? Share your thoughts in the comments with me! And be sure to check out our other articles on all things leather care.