How to Store Leather

Leather is a beautiful material that has been used for over 7,000 years. The material may be considered a luxury and can be found in jackets, bags, shoes, furniture, and more.

Leather requires a bit more maintenance and storage requirements than your typical fabric. Don’t feel intimidated just yet. With the steps below, you can preserve your goods for the long haul. Here’s what you need to know.

How Can I Store My Leather?

The best ways to store leather will vary slightly depending on what it is. For example, storing leather hides will require different methods than a leather jacket. There are a few basic requirements such as cleaning, humidity levels, breathable containers, and using acid-free paper.

The Top 6 Ways to Store Leather

Taking care of your leather goods and storing them properly is crucial to their longevity. Following these tips will keep your leather goods in prime condition regardless of whether you’re storing leather hides, jackets, or bags.

Avoid Humidity

Leather is a porous material that can absorb moisture or produce moisture depending on the storage conditions. When it is exposed to too much moisture or humidity, leather can rot or develop mold and bacteria. On the contrary, leather can start to crack when it’s too dry.

Be sure to store your leather in a dry area. The ambient temperature should be around 50-70°F (10-20°C). The humidity levels should ideally be around 30-60%, aiming for the mid-40s. If you’re worried about the ambient humidity, you can purchase a dehumidifier online or from your local hardware store.

Avoid Direct Sunlight

Leather can crack, fade, and become brittle when exposed to direct sunlight for extended periods. Leather furniture is especially at risk of sun damage. Be sure to keep your leather out of direct sunlight when possible and during storage. If you can’t move your leather furniture out of the sunlight, use shades or blinds during the day to help prevent damage over time.

Use Acid-Free Paper

Be sure to use acid-free paper If you’re storing leather bags, shoes, or jackets. The acid-free paper serves as a protective layer against moisture, dirt, debris, and other pests.

The main benefit of acid-free paper is that it can help balance out the moisture levels of your leather products, preventing moisture damage over time. Stuff any shoes, sleeves, or bags with acid-free paper before storing. You can also wrap your garments entirely in the acid-free paper if you feel the need.

Use Breathable Containers

Be sure to store all of your leather goods in breathable containers. Fabric bags, plastic bags, and other plastic wrapping materials will lock in unwanted moisture, causing damage over time. Leather needs to air to avoid mildew and bacteria.

You can use a briefcase or wooden trunk. Or, you can use a special storage bag for leather jackets. If you’re having trouble finding a solution, you can poke holes in a plastic bag for a quick DIY option. Just be sure that air can pass through wherever you’re storing your leather goods.

Clean Before Storing and Use a Leather Conditioner

Before you start storing your leather, the first step is to properly clean and condition your goods. Cleaning the leather ensures there isn’t any dust, debris, pests, or moisture when you place it away for storage.

Wipe down your leather using a cloth and a bit of warm soapy water. Don’t go overboard and apply too much. You can dry the leather with a muslin cloth afterward. Be sure to clean and wipe down the container or bag you’re using to store the leather goods.

If you’re storing leather furniture or upholstery, you can use a vacuum to remove any dust and debris. Follow the same steps above using the warm soapy water solution.

You should also apply a high-quality leather conditioner. Don’t go overboard with these products, and be sure to use thin layers. Be sure to test the product beforehand to see if it causes staining, discoloration, or other negative side effects. Follow your leather conditioner’s instructions and guidelines for the best results.

Use Professional Storage

If you don’t have access to proper storage areas or products, it might be best to use professional storage services. Professional storage services can provide you with climate-controlled environments with adequate space to store your leather goods.

The costs of a storage unit will vary depending on the size, company, location, and other factors. Generally speaking, you can expect to pay anywhere from $100 to $300 per month. If this price range is within your budget, you should consider going with professional storage solutions.

What About Furs and Hides?

The storage methods will vary slightly if you’re storing leather furs or hides. Leather furs and hides are typically used for crafts and projects. There are two types of leather hides: untanned and tanned. Both of these products require different storage methods. Let’s break them down below.

Storing Tanned Leather Hides

Tanned leather hides need to be stored out of direct sunlight. Sunlight can fade, damage, and cause tanned leather hides to crack over time. Some options for storing tanned hides away from sunlight may include a dark area of your home, a storage container, or using black-out curtains.

Be sure to store them using a dust cover made of breathable cotton. Dust particles can have sharp edges that cause damage to leather over time.

Ensure you’re storing tanned hides flat. Use even support by storing longer pieces horizontally. Do not fold or crease the leather to prevent cracks over time.

Be sure the ambient humidity levels are around 45 to 55 percent. You should also maintain a temperature of 65 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit, but no higher than 75 degrees. You can use a dehumidifier to control the humidity levels.

Storing Untanned Leather Hides

Untanned leather hides are a bit different. Untanned leather hides need to be frozen immediately if you don’t plan on starting the tanning process the same day. Freezing untanned leather reduces the volume to save space. You’ll also need to flesh your hide or wet-salt it before freezing.

To freeze untanned hides, wrap them tightly in freezer paper and place them in a plastic bag. Put them in the freezer until they’re frozen.

Most store-bought hides are tanned, so most people won’t have to worry about untanned hides. Storing untanned hides is usually a special scenario for hunters and farmers.

How Do I Store My Leather?

The best leather storage options will depend on the type of product or garment. However, you should be sure to avoid humidity, moisture, high temperatures, and direct sunlight. You need to use acid-free paper for leather bags, jackets, and shoes.

Use breathable containers to prevent unwelcome moisture over time. Leather conditioner and cleaning your goods beforehand are also crucial steps to preserving your goods.

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