How to Clean & Protect Leather Jackets

29th Mar 2020

How to Clean & Protect Leather Jackets

The leather jacket is the ultimate example of timeless style. They come in many iconic and classic styles and shapes, such as BikerAviator and Bomber.  But did you know that if you don't take care of your jacket properly, you can send it to an early grave. Stains, fading and even cracks will destroy the most well-made leather jacket.

Know what type of leather you have.

Before you start cleaning, you need to know what you are cleaning. If you use the wrong cleaner, you can do more damage than you do good. Knowing about the material you are cleaning will help you to take the best care of your leather jacket. Are you working with Suede, Nubuck, Aniline or Nappa leather?

How to take care of your leather jacket?

Leather has two enemies, moisture and heat. If your jacket gets soaked and you don't dry it out properly and let it sit you have the trouble of risking your jacket getting mould and mildew issues, which will eventually ruin the leather. Water can also wash away the natural oils in the leather and it can make the leather brittle and prone to crack over time. What about using heat to dry out the leather? If done improperly, heat can cause leather to shrink and can overdrive the leather leading to cracks.

Using a heat dryer to dry your leather jacket, laying it across a radiator or even laying it out in the sun can cause irreversible damage. So how to dry a leather jacket if it's wet? Don't hang it up on a regular hanger, it will damage your leather jacket from the inside. Instead, use a wide coat hanger and ensure the room has plenty of ventilation, leave it for about 24 hours and it should be dry.

Cleaning a leather jacket

How can you clean a leather jacket if you can't soak it in water? 

Leather care begins with wiping down the jacket to remove visible dirt. This can be done with a damp, but wrung out cloth. Doing this will remove most marks, dirt and grime from your coat.

But what if your jacket is very dirty? By using a specified leather cleaning solution or very mild soap diluting it, you can work on stubborn spots, bearing in mind to keep the cloth damp and wrung out. Next, remove any excess soap with a clean damp cloth and let dry for 10 to 15 minutes. Pro-tip, remember to spot test any leather cleaning product or conditioner on a small area of your jacket, preferably in a place that no one's going to be able to see to check first stating this is important.

Now if you do decide to give your entire leather jacket a deep cleaning, only do this once a year because here's the issue. by doing so you're removing a lot of the essential oils on the outside and even some on the inside of the leather and you're going to need to replace that. 

Removing Stains from leather jackets

Leather stains can be a bit trickier to get rid of depending on actually stain in in the jacket now stays from food and liquids can usually be removed at home, but a bad ink stain that's going to probably require professional help. If it's a fresh stain, immediately you want to use a clean cloth to gently blot as much of the liquid or grease from the jacket as possible. Ultimately you will have to invest in a professional dry cleaning service who specialise in your type of leather or you can accept the stain as a part of your garments aesthetic and rock the lived in look! 

Leather Jacket Restoration

How to deal with a leather jacket that has become faded and scratched? Leather jackets are going to fade and develop a patina over time. That's part of their charm, but too much patina from neglecting to care for your jacket. The worst part is that some of those deep scratches, if not taken care of, can develop into cracks. Cracks that can create holes right in your jacket and can make the jacket unwearable. So the first step in the defense of your jacket from becoming faded, scratched and cracked is use of of leather conditioner. To get started, use a soft cloth and apply a thin layer of leather conditioner over the entire Jacket. Paying careful attention to areas like the elbows where the stress of flexing is more likely to cause cracking.

When you're applying a leather conditioner, you want to apply it in moderation and let it soak for about 20 minutes. If you notice you have applied too much, remove the excess. 

When's a good time to condition your leather jacket? 

Anytime you get caught in the rain and that jacket gets wet and you let it dry it out. Also, if you've cleaned the jacket recently with soap, you want to apply a leather conditioner, and of course don't forget to apply leather conditioner after you have been through to the stain, especially a spot stain. When you put that stain remover on there, it didn't just pull out the stain it also pulled out a bit of moisture. Now our general rule of thumb is to condition your jacket once a year, but if you rarely wear the leather jacket, if it sits in your closet and it's climate controlled, once every five years is going to be fine.

Leather Jacket Protection

So we've talked about repair and recovery, but what can you do to protect your leather jacket from the elements? In my opinion, one of the best products out there is a water resistant silicone spray. This is going to do a great job of protecting your jacket and if you have a suede jacket, this is required. Otherwise one rainstorm and the suede is ruined for good, that goes for suede shoes too. To apply the spray, go in light overlapping strokes until you've covered the entire garment. Make sure you're in well ventilated area and wait about 12 hours until the leather has completely dried after you've sprayed the silicone spray on.

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