I clean a lot of leather and suede and normally don’t have many problems. Lately, though, we are seeing a fair number of garments that have thin areas or actual tears after even the most careful cleaning operation. What causes this? A:
It is known that after a short period of wear alone, some leather garments can show local areas of damage without any chemical spills or any severe trauma during use. Usually, microscopic examination of the skins in these damaged areas shows them to be thinner or at least a little less compact than other areas of the garment. Some skins taken from different animals or even different places on the same animal can have a variety of thicknesses and/or inherent natural defects.
These weak areas can show rather rapid damage from minimal wear, and the agitation of later cleaning will aggravate the situation causing holes or tears. It is suggested that leather garments be carefully inspected at the time of drop off and any irregularities in color, texture, scars or worn places, wrinkles, vein marks, etc. be noted and pointed out to the garment’s owner. This inspection may prevent some later surprises that could arise during cleaning.