Light areas, stiff spots, or cuts and holes in suede or leather are often a sign of scar tissue. During the tanning process, natural marks formed during the animal’s lifetime may be masked by filler materials, but the filler may be removed during wear and cleaning, exposing the original damage. When skins are dyed by immersion, the dye is even and uniform, but it is not absorbed by the calloused areas as readily as other areas. The surface dye in the damaged area can be removed and the calloused areas may become apparent after cleaning.
Sometimes the filler material may not completely mask all the holes in suede or leather. The garment manufacturer may notice this and patch the holes on the reverse side. During cleaning, the hole may widen, exposing the patch. In addition, adhesives used to attach the patch may dissolve in cleaning, causing the patch to fall off and exposing the hole.
Manufacturers are responsible for selecting the skins used in leather or suede garments. If an item includes objectionable scars and/or veins or was constructed using non-durable methods to mask these skin defects, the manufacturer is at fault. Leather cleaners cannot predict or prevent this phenomenon.
There is little drycleaners can do to prevent damage from scar tissue. In some cases, professional leather re-finishers can obscure these scars and skin defects to some degree, but the leather may not be completely restored to the original condition.