Is Patent Leather Hard To Maintain? (Plus Easy Care Tips)

Is Patent Leather Hard To Maintain

There are different types of leather most of which can be hard to maintain. But is patent leather also hard to maintain?

If you came for a quick answer, then I have to tell you that patent leather is easy to maintain because, generally, all you do, in terms of their care and maintenance, is to wipe it with a clean damp cloth. However, when patent leather takes on serious scuffs and scratches, it can be hard to restore its former luster.

Patent leather is usually either made of natural or synthetic leather but with the same kind of finish which is a shiny glossy finish. It is made by coating genuine leather or synthetic leather with a layer of polyurethane.

The end result is a shiny, stiff, and water-resistant material. Due to its shine and glossy surface, patent leather can be very easy to maintain.

Having said this there are also a lot of things that make patent leather very easy to maintain. Below are some of the main properties of patent leather that makes it easy to maintain;

What Makes Patent Leather Easy To Maintain?

1. Patent Leather Does Not Require Conditioning

While most other types of smooth leathers will need you to apply a conditioner at least once a month (for hardwearing leather items), patent leather, no matter how often you use them does not require any kind of conditioning.

For most other types of leather such as full-grained leather or suede leather, conditioning them is vital as doing this prevents the leather from drying out and also keeps it looking new.

But with patent leather, you don’t need to worry about this as the polyurethane layer will help to keep the material hydrated and prevent it from cracking or becoming stiff.

So no need to buy expensive leather conditioners every few months – patent leather will look good as new with just a simple wipe down.

Although not a requirement, there are some conditioners you can get to give your patent leather added protection. But like I mentioned, it is absolutely not a must.

2. Patent Leather Needs No Protection

Patent leather is highly resistant to all weather conditions and as such, you don’t need to put any type of weather protection on it.

Other types of leathers which are not as hardwearing or water-resistant will require a waterproofing agent in order to protect them from the rain and snow.

Or some sort of leather conditioner or protectant with UV protection in order to prevent the leather from fading.

But with patent leather, you don’t need to worry about any of this as it does not absorb liquid nor fade in sunlight. All you do is wipe it down with a damp cloth and it will be good as new.

3. Patent Leather Is Very Easy To Clean

One of the first things you will notice about the care and maintenance of patent leather is that it is very easy to clean.

All you need to do is take a damp cloth and wipe the surface down. You can also use a mild detergent or soap if there are any tough stains on the material.

Make sure you dry the surface off afterward with a clean towel so that no watermarks or suds are left behind.

This is not to say you cannot get a good patent leather cleaner and polisher for your patent leather items. These cleaners are specially made to help remove any dirt, dust, grime, on top of that helps to polish them

But generally speaking, patent leather is very easy to clean and does not require a lot of effort to maintain its shine.

4. Patent Leather Is A Good Choice For Outdoors Wear

Since patent leather is highly resistant to water and other weather conditions, making shoes or boots out of them will make for a good choice for outdoor wear.

Leather boots and shoes are a popular choice for those who love the outdoors as they provide both comfort and protection against harsh weather conditions.

But with other types of leather such as suede, you would need to be careful in what kind of weather you wear them in as they are not water-resistant and will get ruined very easily.

But with patent leather, you can wear it in any kind of weather and not have to worry about them getting wet or damaged.

5. Patent Leather Is Non-Porous

One of the main reasons why patent leather is easy to maintain is because it is non-porous.

This means that liquids and other contaminants will not be able to penetrate the surface, which can make it difficult for dirt and dust to accumulate on the material.

This means it is not easy for patent leather to get liquid stains like wine or soda, which can be good news if you are looking for a material that is easy to maintain.

6. Patent Leather Is Water-Resistant

Another reason why patent leather is so easy to maintain is that it has an improved moisture resistance over other types of leather.

This means that while most natural and synthetic leather materials will start to degrade when they get wet over a period of time, patent leather will not.

This is because the polyurethane layer on top of the material creates a water-resistant barrier.

This is why you can often see patent leather used in products that are designed to be used outdoors or in moist environments like jackets, raincoats, boots, etc.

What Makes Patent Leather Hard To Maintain?

As a matter of fact, patent leather is a type of leather that is very easy to care for and maintain but there are a few things that can make it a little difficult.

1. Color Transfer

One thing that you will never cease to worry about when you have patent leather is color transfer.

What this means is that if the material gets in contact with another colored fabric, it will start to absorb the color of that fabric and over time, it can leave behind a permanent stain on your patent leather.

The best way to avoid this from happening is by making sure you keep any materials that may come into contact with your patent leather away from it.

2. Polishing

With time, your patent leather will lose its shiny or glossy look. So meaning that from time to time, you will need to polish it in order to maintain its “patent” look.

However, this can be a little difficult as patent leather is not very porous so the polish may not stick to it well and your material could come out looking dull or with white patches on them instead of shiny.

To avoid this from happening, you will need to make sure you use a good quality patent leather polish and that you apply it in a consistent manner.

3. Scratches And Scuffs

When you have a piece of patent leather another thing that can make it pretty hard to maintain is how easily they get scratched and scuffed.

This is often mainly due to the fact that patent leather is very smooth and it can be easy for sharp objects to leave a permanent mark on the material.

With time, these marks will start looking more visible as they get deeper into the surface of the fabric which means you may need to have them repaired or replaced sooner than other types of leather materials.

Tips On How To Maintain Your Patent Leather

  • Make sure you keep any materials that may come into contact with your patent leather away from it to avoid color transfer
  • Use a good quality patent leather polish and apply it evenly from time to time so that your patent leather does not lose its shine
  • If your patent leather starts to get scratched and scuffed, you should have a professional look at it to avoid any permanent damage
  • Make sure you keep your patent leather well stored up and in a cool, dry place to avoid any moisture damage
  • Remove dust, debris, and dirt from your patent leather surface before wiping it down with a damp cloth or a patent leather cleaner. This will help prevent minor scratches and scuffs.
  • Never use harsh chemicals or solvents on patent leather. This will damage the surface and cause it to lose its shine and color.

Final Thoughts

So there you go! These are a lot of things that make caring for and maintaining patent leather easy and not as hard as most people make it seem.

Just make sure you follow the tips that I have given and your patent leather should look good as new for years to come.

Also, let’s not forget the few things that could make it a little difficult or hard for your to maintain your patent leather items – like color transfer and the fact that it can be easily scratched or scuffed.

If you’re able to get these under control following some of my tips, your patent leather will be maintenance-free and look fabulous!


Hi! I’m Kwabena, the owner and founder of Favored Leather. I’m a huge Leathercraft enthusiast and I’ve been that for almost 13 years now. I'm excited to share my experiences and all the new stuff I learn each day about leather craft, leather cleaning & care, and everything in-between!

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