Beer, roast pork and chicken fat – one moment you are enjoying the finest German treats and the next moment there is a stain on your beloved traditional Bavarian leather pants (the Lederhosen) . Now what? Even if a pair of Lederhosen can take a lot – after an extensively celebrated Oktoberfest season, it can happen that they need a gentle cleaning. However, simply putting them in the washing machine is usually the wrong way to go.
For well over 150 years, Lederhosen have been available in a wide variety of styles and colors. Unfortunately to this day, there is no common rule for proper care and cleaning. How do you get rid of stains, if you can’t clean the pants in the washing machine? In the following you will find our ultimate tips and tricks for the care and cleaning of traditional leather pants. With their help, your Lederhosen remains a purchase for life!
Gently airing out your leather pants
Since your trip to the Oktoberfest, your leather pants have absorbed smoke, the fumes of greasy grills and other unpleasant odors? This is where the probably gentlest form of cleaning comes in handy: airing out your leather pants. Simply leave the Lederhosen outside in fresh air and wait for the smells to disappear. If you struggle with lints on the fabric a simple lint roller or tape can help to reduce them.
Remove light stains with a brush
After a couple of fun hours in the beer tent, the leather pants were splashed with beers or got ugly grease stains? Do not take the fast and “easy” way out here by throwing the leather pants in the washing machine. Even if some types of Lederhosen, such as models made of cowhide can survive being washed at a maximum of 30°C (86°F), but the risk of color change is high. In addition, the leather pants can become stiff or even brittle if washed too often. It is better to switch to the gentle alternative: Using a leather brush or leather eraser. It is important that the brush has no wire bristles, but rubber bristles, otherwise the surface of the leather pants could be damaged too much. It is worth testing the brush on a smaller area first to make sure that the leather color is not changed by brushing.
Cleaning with a sponge and soft soap
But what if the leather eraser or the leather brush do not bring the desired effects? In this case we advise – if there is no other way – a careful hand wash with soft soap. This way the leather will not lose any of its important grease and the shine will be preserved. To do this, carefully press a damp sponge, cloth or brush soaked in cold water onto the leather trousers. This way it can be cleaned without becoming stiff and hard.
In addition, patience is required when drying. It will take a few days before you can put your pants back on. To dry, it is best to lay the pants flat on a towel and in a place that is not too warm. While drying, you should occasionally change the position of the pants, otherwise the leather will quickly stiffen. Afterwards, it helps to knead and stretch the leather pants or optionally pull them over a rounded edge to re-soften the surface of the leather again. Give it some time when you wear the Lederhosen again – it might take several times of putting them on to regain the same comfort as before.
Longterm-care of the leather pants
After you have cleaned your leather pants, you can treat them with some leather care oil, so the material becomes nourished and strengthened. The layer of grease that develops on the leather pants after some time – patina – is intentional and no reason to wash them.
Getting your leather pants cleaned professionally
If you don’t dare to clean your leather pants yourself or simply don’t have the time or motivation to do so, you can simply take your pants to a professional leather pants cleaner. To do this, you should ask professional cleaners in your area if they have the expertise and means to clean leather pants. Usually this costs about 30 to 50 Dollar, depending on the length of the legs as well as the level of filth of the leather pants. It is definitely an investment that will pay off.
The proper care of your Lederhosen is also influenced by what type of leather they are made of. Therefore, you should always pay attention to the included care instructions of the manufacturer. If you do so, nothing can go wrong when cleaning.
With good care & cleaning, your leather pants will outlive everything else in your closet. We look forward to welcoming you back at the next Oktoberfest – fresh, healthy & cheerful and in clean traditional costume. In our store you will find table reservations so that you can proudly wear your Lederhosen again at the next Oktoberfest.
One thought on “5 tips for proper cleaning and longterm care for your Lederhosen”
I have a pair that I got while in Germany 60 years ago when I was 7. I want to preserve them but fear I might damage the straps. The pants themselves are very sturdy but I am afraid the straps may have dry rot. Any suggestions.