Leather is a beautiful and luxurious material that can last for many years with proper care and storage. One common question I get asked is whether leather should be or could be stored in plastic.
My answer is always a big fat No, but I have never taken the time to explain why this is such a big no-no in the leather care world. So, here are the top five reasons you should not store your leather items in plastic:
Reasons Not To Store Leather Items In Plastic
1. Leather Will Develop Mold or Mildew When Stored In Plastic
Leather is a natural material that needs to breathe. When you store leather in plastic, it does not have the opportunity to breathe and will instead start to develop mold or mildew.
This is because mold and mildew love damp, dark places- exactly what you are creating when you store leather in plastic.
Not only is this unsightly, but it can also cause the leather to break down and become brittle over time.
So, if you want your leather to last, make sure you store it in a breathable material like cotton or linen. More on this later!
2. The Tannins In The Leather Will Break Down
Another reason you should not store leather items in plastic is that the tannins in the leather will break down.
The tannins in leather prevent the leather from decaying or decomposing. When you store leather in plastic, the tannins are not able to do their job, and the leather will start to decay.
This is another reason why mold and mildew love leather stored in plastic- because the tannins have already started to break down, making the leather the perfect breeding ground for these nasty fungi.
The tannins also give leather its natural smell and uniqueness, so if you store leather in plastic, it will start to lose its signature scent over time.
3. Leather Items Stored In Plastic Will Smell Bad
Just right on queue, the third reason you should not store leather items in plastic is that they will start to smell bad.
Leather has a natural, pleasant, and luxurious smell that we all love. But when you store leather in plastic, it cannot breathe and will instead start to develop an unpleasant musty smell.
The smell will come from the tannins, dyes, and mold that are breaking down on the leather. Not only is this incredibly off-putting, but it can also be difficult to get rid of.
This is because the smell will be coming from the fibers of the leather.
4. The Leather Surface Will Become Discolored
The worse part of storing leather in plastics is that it will cause the leather to become discolored.
Leather is often dyed with natural dyes that can also break down when it is stored in plastic. This will cause the leather to become dull, fade, or become stained.
Unfortunately, discolorations of this nature are very difficult to reverse and can often be permanent.
While the discoloration can occur from the leather dyes breaking down, it can also be caused by mold and mildew that will grow on the leather if it is stored in plastic.
Mold and mildew can cause brown or yellow stains that are very difficult to remove. On top of that, you will have to deal with mold residue that can be irritating to the skin.
5. The Leather Item Will Lose Its Shape
When you store your leather items in plastic or any air-tight container. There is a lot of humidity build-up, which can make the leather wet.
When the leather gets wet, it will start to lose its shape. This is because leather is a natural material that is porous and will absorb moisture from the air.
The humidity that builds up in plastic containers will cause the leather to expand and warp. Once the leather starts to warp, it can be very difficult to get it back into its original shape.
Best Ways To Store Leather Items
Now that we have gone over all the reasons why you should not store your leather items in plastic let’s talk about the best ways to store them.
One of The best ways to store your leather items is in a dust bag. A dust bag is a bag made out of breathable material that will allow the leather to breathe while protecting it from dirt, dust, and other debris.
Most high-end brands will send their products in a dust bag, but you can also purchase dust bags online or at your local craft store.
Just make sure that you get a dust bag that is large enough to fit your leather item and that it is made out of a breathable material like cotton or linen.
Cedar Chest, Hangers, Ball, Or Closet
Another great way to store your leather items is in a cedar chest or closet. Cedar is a natural material that repels insects and prevents mold and mildew from growing.
Just make sure that you do not store your leather items in direct sunlight or in a humid environment, as this can cause them to warp or discolor.
Breathable Box Or Container
If you cannot use a dust bag, cedar chest, or hangers, then you can also use a breathable box or container.
Just make sure that the box or container has holes punched in it or is lined with a breathable material like cheesecloth. This will allow the leather to breathe while preventing dust and dirt from getting on it.
You can also put your leather items in a pillowcase or fabric bag before putting them in the box or container.
Just make sure that the fabric is also breathable so that your leather items do not get damaged.
The Original Package Of The Leather Item
If you still have the original package of the leather item, then that is also a great way to store it. The original package is designed to protect the leather item and will usually be made out of breathable material.
Wrap The Leather Item In Newsprint Or Brown Paper
Another easy hack is to wrap your leather item in newsprint or brown paper. This will protect the leather from dust and dirt while allowing it to breathe.
Just make sure that you do not use newspaper, as the ink can rub off on the leather and cause permanent damage.
As you can see, there are many reasons why you should not store your leather items in plastic. Plastic is not breathable, which can cause leather damage.
There are better alternatives to storing your leather items, such as in a dust bag, cedar chest, or even the original packaging. Just make sure that you do not store your leather items in direct sunlight or humid conditions.
Thanks for reading! I hope this article was helpful. If you have any questions, please feel free to leave a comment. Happy days!