What is Polyurethane and How Can It Be Cleaned?

What is Polyurethane:
Polyurethane, or "PU" is a synthetic leather ("pleather") material that is commonly found in women's fashion today. An entire garment can be made of PU, but the material is most commonly seen as a trim or decorative element around the neck, cuffs, lapels, and pocket trim.
Common Items That Contain Polyurethane:
Faux leather garments, raincoats / outwear, inner linings of jackets / vests, and especailly common on decorative trim. Many major brands sell products with it such as Bebe, Zara, H&M, Cache, Ann Taylor, Banana Republic and many more.
How to clean it:

The safest way to clean it is washing it inside out in cold water either by hand or on a delicate cycle and letting the garment hang dry.

**PLEASE NOTE: THIS CAN ONLY BE DONE IF the rest of the material on the item can be safely cleaned in water. For example: you would not want to clean it in water if the rest of the garment is silk. Always check your care label first.
When bringing any garment that contains Polyurethane or any other synthetic leather to the cleaners please bring it to the attention of our staff while you are dropping it off so that we may take proper precautions to clean it.

The potential hazards of dry cleaning it:

Many PU items will say "Dry Clean Only" on the care label, but if the special coating on the material to make it soft isn't set properly by the manufacturer, the material can sometimes react poorly with standard dry cleaning solvent. A negative reaction will result in the material beginning to peel, flake, or crack. There is no way to test if there will be a possible reaction prior to cleaning the garment. Not all garments containing polyurethane become damaged from commercial dry cleaning, but if the damage occurs it is a manufacturer's defect. See the graphic below for an actual example.

Polyurethane Warning
This entry was posted in FAQ. Bookmark the permalink.