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How to Clean a Leather iPhone Case

August 13, 2019

Congratulations! You're the proud owner of the latest and greatest iPhone. 

But the second you take it out of the box, you realize you've got a problem on your hand. Your shiny new device is not only a fingerprint magnet, but all this stuff out there seems destined to render your new device as an expensive paperweight with the wrong kind of drop or bump 

No worries, though. You'll get a case. 

But you don't want some cheap plastic case for the $1,000 computer sitting in your pocket. And metal cases are overkill for your needs around the office and home. Beyond that, your mature tastes don't necessarily fall in line with most of the flashy, attention-seeking iPhone cases out there. 

No problem. You'll get a leather iPhone caseAnd if you don't know how to clean a leather iPhone case, don't worry, it's actually not that hardAnd if you are wondering, “do leather cases protect iPhones?” then we've got the perfect case for your discerning taste: the Ferra, and it's made so well you might not ever have to clean it. 

How to clean leather iPhone case

Ferra: An Endgame Leather Case 

The Ferra is the latest Hitcase from our brand new design series, and once you get your hands on this premium leather wonder you'll wonder why you suffered with the harsh edges and uncomfortable grip of substandard cases for years. After all, your primary interaction with your iPhone is not with its meticulously engineered outer casing, it's with the 10 cents of plastic covering the thing. 

But what if you could sit your iPhone inside of a case that inspired you and just begged to be touched? 

That's what we tried to do with the Ferra. It's hand-made by artisans with full-grain Italian leather, and it's as slim and stylish as your new iPhone. 

Caring for Your Leather Case 

Soyou've finally got a case you'd rather keep than throw out the minute it gets dirty. Aside from the waste of countless plastic cases, the best part about leather is that it changes with you -- every bump and scuff a memento of your exploits. 

And unlike plastic or other hard cases, leather actually develops a gorgeous patina the longer you use it. Think of a nice leather jacket or wallet; over time it builds character as you go about your life. And a phone case is no different. 

Most times, leather iPhone case care and how to clean a leather iPhone case is no more complicated than grabbing a nonabrasive, lint-free cloth, with a dab of fresh water, if needed. 

That'll get rid of most of the gunk and what-not that accumulates over time. And anything else you can probably address with a little elbow grease. 

How to clean leather iPhone case

Leather Case Maintenance 

But because leather is a biodegradable material that breathes and absorbs moisture, leather needs a bit more care than a hard material that doesn't really interact with its surroundings. 

Neglect it long enough, and leather will dry out, crack and start to age in strange ways. But before you start worrying about how to clean a leather iPhone case, keep in mind that you might not have to. Many people love that distressed look, and they'll pay lots of money for pre-worn leather. 

If you're one of them, great! You don't have to do much to maintain your leather case. And if you want to leave it out in the sun or bash it around in a bag full of change and keys, go right ahead -- just make sure to take your phone out. 

However, if you want a case that'll look new for years, you'll want to keep it away from water, oil, makeup and dyed materials like dyed-dark jeans because your case will soak up all those oils. Those materials may stain or otherwise compromise your case and you'll be hitting Google for how to clean a leather iPhone case. 

But the only real bit of maintenance is that you should add some leather conditioner or mink oil every few months. A little bit goes a long way, and make sure you test your conditioner or oil on a discreet piece of your leather case before you go covering the entirety of it in a rich lather. Also, that's way too much leather conditioner. Less is more. 

The leather conditioner will keep your case supple and preserve the natural oils in your leather, preventing cracks and other unsightly damage as time marches on. 

How to clean leather iPhone case

Scratches and Other Superficial Damage 

Before you grab the more abrasive stuff, how to clean a leather iPhone case can be as simple as using your finger. 

If you've got superficial scratches from your nails, keys or other items in your pockets or bag, the good news is that you can usually remove or minimize them by rubbing them with a clean finger. The oils and heat from your finger acts as sort of a leather healer, and you'll start to see those superficial scratches reduce away over time. 

You can also try working a small bit of leather conditioner into the scratch, which will help heal the damage and minimize visibility 

Keep in mind, however, that leather is supposed to pick up all these nicks and bumps. It's called patina, and people spend hundreds or thousands of dollars for leather items that have aged well. With a little bit of care, you can do the same with your case. 

Water Stains 

As long as it's real leather -- not fake PU or plastic leather -- how to clean a leather iPhone case is more about minimizing exposure to liquids. But if you can't, or an accident has sent a bunch of water onto your new leather case, you'll need to address it if you want to minimize water rings and stains. 

Strangely enough, the way you deal with water exposure is to add more water. That's because as water dries, it'll leave spots on your leather case. The key is to soak a clean sponge or towel in fresh water and rub around the water spot, lightening your touch as you work your way away from the stain. This will prevent rings from forming once the water dries. 

If you're wondering how to clean a soaked leather case, it's best to just wait until it's dry -- or run it under the tap until it runs clear if you're dealing with coffee, soda, wine or another dark liquid -- and then apply leather conditioner to re-hydrate your case. 

You can also try applying some leather waterproofing if you'd rather not worry about liquids and spills. Like any conditioner or cleaner, try it on a piece that's not exposed lest you don't like how it darkens or changes the look of your leather. 

More In-Depth Cleaning 

But if you've got bad stains or other muck on your leather case that a clean cloth and water won't removeyou're better off cleaning your Apple phone's leather case with the help of leather cleaners. 

First, however, try cleaning the offending bit with some mild hand soap. The detergents in the soap should help lift tricky stains or blemishes, and you just might be able to save yourself from using a more abrasive cleaner. 

If you've got a particularly troublesome stain, a leather cleaner is the best way when asking how to clean a leather case. 

But don't make the mistake of using something not made specifically for cleaning leather. Leather is a finicky material, and you never want to use regular household cleaners on any kind of real leather. You'll likely irreversibly stain your leather, and it's possible to cause premature cracking or leather rot if you use solvents that contain alcohol or other drying agents. 

So how do you clean a leather iPhone case. Well, the actual cleaning is pretty simple: 

  • Add a small amount of leather cleaner to a damp, cotton cloth. Less is more. You don't want to add too much and alter your leather's look. It's also a good idea to test it on the inside of your case so you don't inadvertently stain a visible section. 
  • Rub the stain with a gentle, circular motion, working your way out. This will soften the edges of the cleaning to make it look more natural. Be careful not to press too hard, however, which can stretch and deform your case. 
  • If there's any excess cleaner left on the case, wipe it off with a cloth. The build-up can leave streaks and other unsightly discolouration's. 
  • Allow your case to fully dry, repeating the above steps until the stain is gone. Remember, it's better to apply too little cleaner and have to repeat these steps than to apply too much and ruin your case. 

Ferra: Not All Headaches and Cleaning 

With all the care that goes into owning a leather iPhone case, you might decide that leather isn't for you. After all, who wants to know how to clean a leather iPhone case if the case is supposed to protect your phone from that kind of worry -- or maybe a waterproof iPhone case is best for you. 

But if you like the look and feel of a Italian leather phone case, you don't have to skip the leather because you're stressed about the upkeep. 

Most leather owners don't do a single thing to their leather and their wallets, watch bands and bags are no worse for it. Some even look great with a patina that anyone would be proud to brandish. 

And unless you're being completely irresponsible with your leather goods -- dousing them with liquids and leaving them out in the sun to dry -- odds are you'll have little issue over the life of your leather case, particularly if it's nice, full-grain leather. 

So enjoy your case. Clean it if you have to, but you just might find that what you thought was an unsightly mess is actually your leather responding and adapting to your lifestyle. And a gorgeous patina is something we can all appreciate. 

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