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Now included with any Leather CARE Specialists™ purchase is a free re dye.

Ask Dena

Here we give our customers and leather enthusiasts a chance to ask our leather care expert, Dena Hamilton, a question.  Please send your question through the form at the bottom of this page.

You may also want to check out our Helpful Information page.  Many questions are answered there: How to Clean Leather, How to Store a Leather Jacket, How to Get a Spot out of Leather, and more.

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Dena's Q & A

Ask Dena - Joe

I have a 25-year-old Bachrach leather jacket that has a shredded lining...shredded. The entire lining would need replaced. Can it be done? Is it worth it in your opinion?

Dena's Answer
Yes- we can do it!
However, a lining that is totally shredded can run fairly high because it can be pretty difficult to get an accurate pattern for the new lining. Estimate an additional $15 to the $135-150 depending on whether there is a warm filler included or just a layer of fabric. I have priced linings at this price just so people can get them at all. Our cost on a quality lining fabric can run up to $20 and it is much more work than you would imagine it get it right - so that the internal ribbons are caught correctly, it doesn't hang out below the hem or pull the sleeves up, etc.
Whether it is worth it or not, is up to you. Check the zipper at the pin, the hand pockets, the leather itself - if you need these other things as well, it adds up. Even so, if the leather is good, if you love the jacket, it fits you just the way you want it to, or you can't find anything like it, then even if it is the cost of a new jacket to have it restored, well... you will have a like new jacket!

Ask Dena a question
I have an old Avirex B-3 style,  leather w/shearling on the inside, bomber jacket. It feels a little dry, slight scuffs and what looks like a scratch(I say looks like because I bought the Jacket used. Do you sevice shearling jackets and what do you suggest I do to it?

Dena's Answer
I am very familiar with those jackets. If the leather on the top is not cracking significantly, you are in luck. You need to get a good quality leather care product on it asap. I recommend URAD. It is a superior product that delivers amazing results. Urad products are the only ones I recommend or use. As for the scratch, I could put some refinishing product on it, and I could redye the entire jacket for the scuffs and to restore it. Send your jacket to me and I can help you with whatever it needs - or purchase a jar of the Urad for our own use to keep it moist and perk it up. Also read  How to Store a Leather Jacket on my Helpful Info.

Ask Dena - Jolene
I bought my husband a black leather coat from Eddie Bauer several years ago.  The dye or something has seemed to rub off on our car's leather seats.  Is there a way to prevent this or is the coat junk?

Dena's Answer
That is called crocking. The coat can be redyed and finished, and possibly stop the process for a short while. However, crocking is generally an indication of poorly tanned skins and dying and finishing will be like a band-aid. Other factors can cause this in leather too, but with garments, that's usually the reason. I have seen jackets do this from day one though, so if it's been several years and it just now started, you might try applications of Urad yourself to prevent additional crocking. If it is losing it's color you would need me to redye it.

(Urad is a fantastic care product! Your husband would love it for his shoes too. No buffing. Light application, they look like new:)

Hope this helps!

Ask Dena
Karin How do I let you know how much to shorten the sleeves in a leather jacket?

Dena's Answer
Double check the sleeves to make sure they are the same length now. Occasionally they are not and it's not noticeable when they are too long. If they are the same, you only need to mark one sleeve.

In front of the mirror, standing straight with shoulders square, coat buttoned or zipped, turn the sleeve under to the desired length. Close pin or paper clip it (you have to be more careful with a paper clip!) Square up again, and check if this is the length you want. Then turn up the sleeve the same amount around at the seam area and move the close pin there (so it won't be leaving a mark in the front). If you don’t have a close pin, have someone turn it up while you are standing up straight looking in the mirror and then have them measure the amount that is turned under from the fold to the edge of the cuff.

Ask Dena - Mary Beth
Does Great Leather sell leather dye? I have a simple knee-length leather coat from Kenneth Cole for which I paid $425 that now needs to be redyed black. No repairs needed. Can I do this myself with a product you sell?

Dena's Answer
Having a professional do this job for you is a much better way to go! You will get a like-new coat - with no time, mess, or risk of ruining your coat. A bottle of dye (not all leather dyes are the same, or formulated for garments) with shipping would be almost $20 - and I would not recommend putting dye on straight or alone. We use a combination of 4 different products in a series of 4-6 applications for most basic hip-length coats for $69. But you have the cost of having it done for you, if you were to buy all the other products you need to do the job correctly. Also, there is a skill level, gained only by experience, that would allow you to know how much of which product to apply first and how much of each. If you decide to have Leather CARE Specialists redye it for you, I would be happy to assess it's condition and give it the best care possible!

Ask Dena a question
We have a leather Beige couch and a couple months ago bought some new black pillows for the couch. The dye bled onto the couch leaving a black mark where the pillows were, what is the best way to resolve this problem? The leather cleaners we have in the house defiantly did not work

Dena's Answer
Unfortunately, I do not believe you will be able to remove the stain you describe.  Dye is dye - permanent. The only thing you can do is try to cover it. If your leather has a sprayed finish you are in luck. At LCS we do not use spray "paints" for re-coloring leather, as our specialty is leather garment restoration. Call your local car dealership and ask if they have a mobile unit that repairs their car seats. They could come to your house and re-spray your couch for you.

Ask Dena a question
Can you a redye a suede jacket with sun damage?

Dena's Answer
Sun damage oxidizes leather. This is a condition that will not allow the leather to accept dye. I have a leather cleaner I work with when the situation calls for a wet or chemical process, and they do not accept sun damaged items either.

If a cleaners says they will dye or clean it for you, they will for sure make you sign something that says you will pay, no matter what the outcome. I am very sure this would be a loss for you.

Ask Dena a question - John 
I just got a new Sully fringe jacket & when I opened the plastic bag it came in it diden't smell like any leather I ever smelled. Can you tell me if its real leather? I think its Shepler product and I got it from Sportsmans Guide. Thank you.

Dena's Answer  Without seeing your jacket, I can't tell. If there isn't a tag that says genuine leather, I expect it isn't.  Several things could cause this, including inexpensively-tanned genuine leather. If that were to be the case, the smell will never come out, or at least it will always smell this way if it gets wet.

 If it was simply in the plastic bag for too long, if you hang it outside on a nice day (not in direct sun) it's probable that the odor will disappear. If it is mildewed, which would most likely be evident from a surface powder, return it.

John 
It says genuine leather on the tag. The smell is like a strong insect repelant. I hung it out for 2 days and it got a little better but what happens if I get rained on, will it come back?

Dena - 
Since it has a chemical odor, I believe it is a finishing product and it should dissipate and stay away for good. I would give it some more time. Most likely you will have 30 days to return it and you will know by then.

Ask Dena - Jennifer 
How do I remove nail polish from leather/poly-something material on my couch?

Dena's Answer  
Dried nail polish is a tough one. I have heard of different approaches that include polish remover, alcohol, and wet techniques. I would not try any of those. For one thing, I don't think it will work and also because you are going to end up with a larger, messier looking stain, if not real damage. 
I read this somewhere:  "cautiously file the area with an emery board or a piece of very fine (grade 6/0-8/0) sand paper."  I think this would be the ideal way to go about it if you had some way to not hit the surrounding leather with the file or paper. I'm not sure how you could do that.

What has worked for me with paint - was to scrape it, or chip it off with a razor blade. You have to be extremely careful when you do this or you will scratch the leather. If you can chip it off, you will have a light spot that you might be able to spot dye when you are done. But even leaving it light it could look like a natural marking, as opposed to a bright eyesore.
Be careful. Use the tip of the blade in a very conservative way.
Good luck!

Ask Dena a question from Kari
I recently inherited several of my fathers vintage leather motorcycle jackets. They have an old/musty smell to them and I'd like to get them cleaned. Can you recommend a reputable leather cleaning specialist? I appreciate your help.

Dena's Answer -
Sending your leather jacket to a dry cleaners, even a "leather dry cleaners", is always risky business, no matter how good a companys' advertising looks . Your leather jacket could very well be the one that gets assessed or handled incorrectly.

As long as there are no signs of mildew (white dust spots) I have had very good results cleaning them without using one of these wet or chemical dry processes. Leather Care Specialists certainly does the best job for the leather, but we do not clean linings. If the smell is in the lining, then after the topical cleaning and conditioning basics if any light musty smell remains there is a product I can spray on the lining that will kill bacteria and leave a mild scent of it's own. Any remaining odor or scent may dissipate over time as well.

While I cannot make you any promises, a "dry cleaner" certainly will not either. Please let me know if you would like me to clean them for you.

*the above advice is for smooth leather, not suede or a brush finish. See my other blog for these leathers.

Ask Dena a question from David - 
Hello, I wore a lambskin leather jacket and it suddenly began to
rain, now my jacket looks a bit wrinkled and misshaped, is there a way to get the jacket looking smooth again? 

Dena's Answer - 
Just getting a lambskin leather jacket wet should not have done what you're talking about. It sounds like it must have gotten saturated and then left rumpled up when it dried. 

If you want it smooth you will have to take your chances with a dry cleaners that will press it. This is not something I would do if it were mine. I would try to condition it heavily (Tenderly is the only leather conditioner for lambskin that I recommend).  Hang it on a padded hanger in the shower area to dry slowly. Then be let it air dry to make sure it is completely dry before you store it. As for the misshape, if panels are stretched they will not go back into their original cut shape under any circumstances. 

You can send it to a dry cleaners who will send it off to a dry cleaner that does more leather than cloth. Possibly great results, but much more risky. Dry cleaners for leather are hit or miss. Many things can go wrong, mottled color, stiffness, etc. You could purchase Tenderly from this site and do the above yourself, or I would be happy to so what can be done without another wet or chemical process.