Grab the alcohol and a pillowcase.

By Alexis Bennett
Sep 18, 2019 @ 10:15 am
Edward Berthelot/Getty Images

I have a confession to make. When I was a fashion intern, I burned a pair of leather pants minutes before they were supposed to be featured in a runway show.

In the moment, I felt like my career in fashion was over, but now I know that second chances do exist. I'm not the only one who has struggled to figure out exactly how to get wrinkles out of leather garments. Irons and steamers are a no-brainer for cotton, linen, and just about everything else. But leather, on the other hand, could end up being completely ruined by those go-to wrinkle releasers. So what's a girl (or guy) to do?

Well, just like skincare, preventing wrinkles on leather pants, dresses, and tops is often easier than correcting them. That's why I like to properly store all of my leather pieces, hanging them on hangers to minimize the risk of creases or indents. Cheap hangers can actually cause more wrinkles over time, though, especially along the shoulder area on leather jackets. So my go-to hangers are these high-quality, yet affordable ones on Amazon.

But even when you're diligent about properly storing your leather garments, wrinkles can happen. If you're like me and you shop online, you know that the toughest wrinkles to remove are the ones created long before the leather garment is delivered to your house. Air-sealed packaging might be great for shipping logistics, but tends to leave a stubborn crease in leather pieces. To make tackling this challenge easier for us all, I've rounded up the best ways to get wrinkles out of leather clothing below.

  • Shrink the leather with steam for about 10 minutes.
  • Stretch the leather with rubbing alcohol.
  • Iron the leather on the coolest setting with a pillowcase.

Steam Leather Clothes in the Bathroom

You can do this one while you're getting dressed without adding any time to your morning routine. Simply hang your leather garment up in the bathroom. (I like to hang mine on a hook behind the door.) While you're in the shower, let the steam do its magic and make the stiff fabric pliable. Be careful not to hang the leather piece too close to the water or the drops will leave water stains behind. 

Use Alcohol to Get Wrinkles Out of Leather

Don't forget that leather can also be stretched. You can create a wrinkle-releasing solution for finished leather pieces by mixing one part water with one part alcohol in a spray bottle.

Lightly mist the pants (don't soak them). A few sprays from a distance will do. If it's your first time using the alcohol method on a leather item, test it in a small area first to make sure no color will rub off. If it doesn't, that's the green light to spray it all over. The alcohol will loosen up the stiff fabric, and you can use your hands to smooth any creases.

Since alcohol can be drying, finish the process with a moisturizing leather conditioner.

Iron Out Leather Wrinkles with a Pillowcase

To be honest, this method gives me flashbacks to my interning-days disaster. But if you absolutely feel you need to use an iron, many people swear by this method.

You'll need to turn the heat setting all the way to the coolest point. Then, after you arrange your leather item on the ironing board, grab a pillowcase and spread it on top of the garment. The extra layer of fabric will create added protection from the iron's heat.

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