Uh oh! A water spill on leather…

So, it’s never a good moment when you discover your beloved leather item has been attacked by a bit of H2O and has a nasty tide mark settling itself in, leaving you thinking that your favourite thing is ruined forever. Whilst it is rarely possible to wind back the clock completely, some swift action can make a huge difference to the outcome of the apparent disaster, and you might be surprised to find out the best way of dealing with a water spill on leather.

We do occasionally get cries of help from owners of Tusting bags where bottles of water have leaked all over the bag, or a severe rain shower has soaked a briefcase, and even where puddles myteriously jump up and grab a wallet just as its trying to help its owner on to a bus…. One such example led to Linda Garratt emailing one evening with a plea for advice on how to rescue her lovely calf leather tote from a serious water spill. We just did what we do – give experienced advice and help – and Linda’s bag was soon back to normal. Linda was sufficiently impressed she wrote to The Times to tell the world how pleased she was.

Newspaper clipping of a letter to The Times about good customer service from TUSITNG

So, what did we say?

Well, when half your bag (or purse, or wallet) gets wet, but the other half doesn’t, you will typically end up with an obvious tide mark showing exactly what happened, and which stays long after the water has dried. However, if you add a little MORE water, especially if you can do it before the item dries, so that the tide mark edge is softened and the wet is graduated into the dry area, then you can greatly lessen the strength of the eventual tide mark, and sometimes, prevent it altogether. Progressively wiping the edge of the wet area with a damp sponge is the way to go – we are not talking about running the item under the tap or leaving it in a bucket of water!

Then you must be patient and allow the item to dry naturally, at room temperature, and away from any direct heat. If possible, it is a good idea to reshape the item by stuffing it with paper or some such, just in the same way as we stuff our wet shoes with newspaper to stop them shrinking as they dry. Finally, a little feed of Hide Cream will help to restore the feel of the leather when the trauma is all over.

When exactly this problem occurred to one of our own iPhone cases, it was a perfect opportunity to practise our preaching and record the results of dealing with a water spill on leather. The Phone Case in our Raspberry Atlantic leather, had been resting in a puddle of condensation and was found with one edge very wet and a nasty tide mark developing.  Extra wetting was the immediate action. The finish on the leather was quite resistant to that and you can see from the images that it tended to seep in from the edges all around, faster than working across from the original wet bit. However, this is not a problem as the trick is to work on graduation of the wet edge – going for a wet to damp to dry result. Then a slow drying was in order, with occasional checking for shrinkage by popping in the phone (though not leaving it in for fear of a damp iPhone….)

As the third image shows, the quality of the leather shines through in its total recovery with no visible marks. Just need to treat it to a little Hide Cream now.

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