How To Keep Your Patent Leather Goods Shining

When it was first developed, patent leather was more about usefulness than style, but nowadays, this glossy material is commonly used as a way to add some shine to an outfit. The well-loved method of leather preparation was created as a way to keep the material waterproof, but the high cost of the oils used in the process quickly transformed the look into a status symbol (via Liberty Leather Goods).

Nowadays, we have a much larger variety of materials at our disposal, and thankfully, the cost of producing patent leather has gone down. Instead of the expensive oils and natural leather base that were first used, it's more common to see faux leather patent products with a similar shiny and protective coat, or higher-priced natural leather items with a durable, rubber-like coat. Even if your items are less expensive than they were in the late 1700s, they still deserve the same level of care, so keep reading to learn how to properly clean and maintain your shiny pieces.

Routine cleaning

If your patent items are just looking a bit dull and dingy, it's likely that all they need is a simple clean. Luckily, this process is very simple. According to Dr. Martens, all you need is a damp cloth, patent cleaner, and a brush.

First, start by wiping down your items to remove any debris. This is especially important when it comes to shoes that have likely collected a bit of dirt. Because patent leather is waterproof, unlike most other leather products, using a soft, damp cloth does the trick. From there, grab some patent cleaner. It's a good idea to spot test this on an inconspicuous area, especially if you're not buying a cleaning product specifically designed for your item's brand, but if you don't have any issues with staining, you should be good to go. Apply the product to the item, then wipe off any residue with a soft cloth. After, buff with a soft bristle brush if you're still looking for some more of that classic shine, and your patent pieces will look as good as new.

Removing scuff marks

One of the downsides of patent leather is that the shiny surface easily showcases scuff marks and routine wear and tear. It's important to protect these pieces because it's nearly impossible to fully restore them, but there are ways to make any scuffs or marks less obvious. You'll only need a few household items — an eraser, rubbing alcohol, and mineral oil or petroleum jelly (via How to Clean Stuff).

Start by fully wiping down and cleaning your items to remove any dust or dirt, then start working on the damage. Gently rub the eraser in the direction of the scuff until most of the marks are gone, making sure to not apply too much pressure — this can remove the patent coating. After, wipe down the spot with rubbing alcohol — after spot testing, of course — to get rid of any eraser residue. Once you're done, apply your oil of choice to condition the material and restore the shine. It may not look perfect, but it will greatly improve the look of the damage and ensure your patent products keep their classic sheen.