In an attempt to be chemical-free, many people turn to steam cleaning as a way to clean their household items, including leather. While this is safe to do, most people tend to be concerned about the steam shrinking of their leather goods.
To summarize, leather is a natural product made from the skin of animals. It’s very strong and durable, but it can also be sensitive to heat and moisture. So, while steam cleaning leather is safe, it’s important to be careful not to expose the leather to too much heat or moisture, as this can cause shrinkage.
If you’re concerned about steam shrinking your leather goods, there are a few things you can do to prevent it. But first, let’s take a look at how steam can shrink leather and what you can do to prevent it.
How Does Steam Shrink Leather Goods?
Steam cleaning has become very popular as a way to clean household items without the use of harsh chemicals.
But there are instances where steam cleaning your leather items can cause damage, including shrinkage, and here’s how
1. Excessive Steam Can Shrink Leather
All steamers come with options to choose the amount of steam you want to use. For example, if you’re using a handheld steamer, you can usually control the steam output by turning the knob to low, medium, or high.
The same goes for larger floor models. Choosing the right setting is important because too much steam can damage your leather goods and cause them to shrink.
When leather gets exposed to excessive steam, the heat causes the fibers to contract, and this can lead to shrinkage. So, if you’re going to steam clean your leather furniture or clothing, make sure you use the lowest setting possible.
2. Holding The Steamer Too Close To The Leather Can Shrink It
In addition to using the lowest setting possible, you also need to be careful about how close you hold the steamer to the leather.
If you hold it too close, the steam will quickly affect the leather fiber, causing it to contract and shrink.
Usually, when using a steamer on your leather items, you’re required to hold the steamer about 12 inches away from the leather surface and make sure you move it around so that the steam is evenly distributed.
3. Prolonged Steam Exposure Can Also Shrink Leather
It’s important to steam clean your leather items in short bursts rather than one long steam cleaning session.
This is because prolonged exposure to steam can distort the leather, causing it to become so soft that it shrinks.
So, when steam cleaning your leather furniture or clothing, make sure you do it in short bursts of about 30 seconds to one minute. After each burst, you should leave the leather for a few minutes before steaming it again.
This way, you’re not holding the steamer over the leather surface for prolonged periods of time, which will prevent the leather from shrinking.
4. Drying Wet or Damp Leather Too Quickly After Steaming Can Cause It to Shrink
After you’ve steam cleaned your leather items, it’s important to let them dry naturally. If you try to dry them too quickly using a hairdryer, the leather can shrink.
This is because the heat from the hairdryer and the moisture in the leather makes it susceptible to shrinking.
So, after you’ve steam cleaned your leather furniture or clothing, make sure you let it dry naturally at room temperature. Avoid using a hairdryer or any other type of heat source to speed up the drying process.
How To Safely Use Steamer On Leather
Steaming leather is a great way to clean, disinfect, and soften leather without using any harsh chemicals.
However, as we’ve seen, there are some risks associated with steam cleaning leather, and it’s important to ensure the right application process, so you do not ruin or damage your leather items.
Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to safely clean your leather with steam:
- Brush off or vacuum your leather furniture or clothing to remove any dirt, dust, or debris.
- Fill your steamer with distilled water and turn it on to the lowest setting.
- Do not use tap water, as it can contain minerals that will damage your steamer.
- As I have already mentioned, hold the steamer about 12 inches away from the leather surface, and make sure you move it around so that the steam is evenly distributed.
- Do not hold the steamer in one spot for too long, as this can cause the leather to shrink.
- After each burst of steam, leave the leather for a few minutes before steaming it again.
- This way, you’re not holding the steamer over the leather surface for prolonged periods of time, which will prevent the leather from shrinking.
- Once you’ve finished steam cleaning your leather furniture or clothing, let it air dry naturally at room temperature.
- Finally, apply your regular leather conditioner to keep the leather hydrated and prevent it from drying out.
- Allow the leather to air dry completely before using it or putting it away.
By following these simple steps, you can safely steam clean your leather and keep it in good condition for many years to come.
How To Prevent Steam from Shrinking Your Leather Goods?
The above then begs the question, how do you prevent steam from shrinking your leather goods? If you’re going to use a steamer to clean your leather furniture or clothing, there are a few things you can do to prevent shrinkage.
- First, as I mentioned earlier, make sure you use the lowest setting possible when using the steamer.
- Second, be careful about how close you hold the steamer to the leather surface. You should always hold it at least 12 inches away and make sure you move it around so that the steam is evenly distributed.
- And third, don’t steam clean your leather items for too long.
- Do not hold the steamer over a particular part of your leather for too long.
- Do not steam clean leather that is too soft, thin, or weak.
- Do not steam clean your leather items too frequently, as this can also lead to shrinkage.
- Wipe away any excess moisture from the leather surface during and after steaming.
If you follow these tips, you should be able to clean your leather furniture or clothing without shrinking it or causing any other damage.
I hope this article has helped to clear up any confusion about whether steam can shrink leather.
As we’ve seen, there is a risk of shrinkage if you’re not careful, but by following the proper steps and taking the necessary precautions, you can safely clean your leather without causing any damage.
Thanks for reading!