We’ve compiled this handy fact sheet to help you understand more about the cleaning methods for natural skins.

  • Leather and suede garments may contain as many as 8 animal skins. The skins are matched as best as possible during the manufacturing process, but changes may occur to individual skins during cleaning.2. Dyes used during the tanning process of skins may not be colour fast, and some degree of colour loss or colour change is normal.
  • Natural defects in skins such as scars, bite marks or skin disorders may be covered up during the tanning process, but often become apparent following cleaning.
  • Certain types of stains are impossible to remove without the risk of damage to the skin. These include, but are not limited to; ink, milk, blood, egg, urine, vomit, deep soiling.
  • Most suede skins will fade when exposed to natural light. This may become more apparent after cleaning.
  • Over exposure to heat and/or moisture can cause some leather and suede items to become tender, stiff or brittle.
  • Cleaning will greatly improve the appearance of a soiled item, but cannot restore it to its original condition.
  • Many leather and suede items now contain glues and/or adhesives to aid manufacturing. These glues / adhesives are often not compatible with the necessary cleaning processes and staining may occur on the surface of the skin.
  • Following cleaning, it is very possible that leather and suede items may be subject to change of colour, texture and finish.
  • The above risks are greatly increased the more a leather or suede item is cleaned.

Please Note: We recommend the use of our consent forms for any items that are sent to us for treatment. These consent forms help manage expectations and highlight all possible risks associated with the cleaning and treatment of leather, suede, fur and specialist items.
Click Here to download a copy of our Consent Form.

Facts About Leather

The major distinction between leather types originates with the animal that the hide came from. The general rule is the larger the animal, the thicker and heavier the leather.

Cow and Buffalo

The toughest of the hides and used in shoes, furnishings as well as jackets. The leather is on the stiff side and offers excellent abrasion resistance and protection but at the expense of weight, drape and comfort. You will often find it used in motorcycle protective gear. and biker styles where toughness is the prime consideration. Jackets made of cow hide can take a long time to ‘wear in’. Of the two, buffalo hide has more grain than cow.

Sheep and Lamb

finer-grained, more supple and lighter weight than cow but still tough and durable, this leather is often described as having a ‘buttery’ feel. Sheep hides offer a good balance between comfort, style and strength. They particularly suits jacket styles where suppleness is important such as bomber jackets, blazers and reefers.


Cheap and not particularly cheerful. The leather made from pig skin is thin, plasticy with a shiny finish and very poor durability. Pigskin is often used when price is the most important factor so we recommend you avoid it where possible. Be particularly suspicious of leather jackets retailing for less than £100 ($150) as pig may have been used to keep the price down.

Leather Finishes

Once you’ve established the type of hide you require then the next step is to look at the tanning process that has been applied to the hide. Different processes produce distinct finishes which affect the handle and the appearance of the leather.


Is a lengthy and complicated tanning process applied to full grain sheep or lamb hides that results in exceptional softness, suppleness and durability. A hide that is described as nappa is therefore amongst the highest grade of leather that can be achieved but is correspondingly expensive. Any that claim to be made of a nappa leather and are retailing for less than £100 ($150) should be viewed with some scepticism.


This is leather that has been treated with aniline, a transparent chemical which allows the hide to be coloured and softened without concealing the natural tones and shades and blemishes of the animal. It is applied to cow, buffalo and sheep hides and produces a natural, mottled appearance that also allows the skin to breathe. Particularly good for brown and tan leather jackets.


In this process the top layer of full grain hide is buffed or very finely sanded to produce a soft, velvety finish similar to suede. However the quality is much higher and so is the price. Nubuck leather jackets are more susceptible to water staining and therefore benefit from waterproof finishes.


In which the underside of the hide is used. This is more fibrous with a matt, napped finish but lacks the durability of the a full hide. Like nubuck it is prone to discolouration when in contact with water unless a treatment has been applied.


Used as a cost cutting measure, the top layer of the hide is sliced away resulting in two thinner layers. It allows some retailers to market jackets at very low prices whilst still claiming they are ‘leather’. Avoid.