Many of us would have experienced a time when you stood in front of a patent leather and regular leather and start wondering which one to go for. While some genuine leather comes with the softness that you want, some of us couldn’t resist the mirror shine and gloss that come from patent leather shoes or bags that seem to need only minimal care and maintenance to keep that shine factor. But hang on, do you know what’s real patent leather and what’s not? Are you buying the “real” thing?
Well, in fact, there’re quite a few technical ways to describe patent leather, but here’s the simplest: Patent leather is a type of leather that’s treated and coated with a shiny finish, usually with a lacquer, and the leather used is predominantly light and thin; and it can be made from any hide. Its surface can be embossed or crinkled but normally left smooth.
Some of us may have heard a few other terms that’re used to describe the glossy, shiny accessory, and the most common is PVC (PolyVinyl Chloride). But are they leather? The answer is no. They are not bio-degradable and usually retain their form for many years to come, and its breakdown will just be granulation.
There’s also synthetic leather that can be passed off as patent leather to the unaware eyes. This type of product is usually priced cheaper than the real patent leather, and to many, can be a good substitute for the real thing. Another familiar term that was used interchangeably was the patent laminated leather, which essentially is leather with a coating thicker than the real patent leather.
How to care for real patent leather?
Just like regular leather, patent leather needs to be kept free of dust. You can do this by simply wiping it clean with a slightly damp smooth cloth or a cleaner. Depending on the type of finishing used on the patent leather, it might need oiling or polishing. But remember never buff the patent leather like a man would do with their shoes.
Storing your patent leather is important too. You will see that lighter coloured patent leather can tend to be susceptible to colour transfer especially when it is stored next to a coloured item. Try to store them in a white dust bag to prevent any colour transfer from happening.
If you have minor scratches and scuff marks, they can be removed with a special purpose patent leather such as the Saphir Vernis Rife patent Leather Cleaner.
With the regular wear and tear, it is essential that we take good care of it to avoid it from losing its glossiness.