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How To Clean And Condition A Leather Jacket? How A Pro Does It

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Your trusty leather jacket has weathered countless riding adventures with you, but just like your bike, it needs a little TLC to keep it in top-notch condition. 

Whether you’re a seasoned rider or a newbie gearing up for your first adventure, maintaining your leather jacket is key to ensuring it not only looks great but also provides the protection you need on the road. 

In this quick guide, we’ll break down how to clean and condition a leather jacket, ensuring it not only looks sharp but also stays supple and ready for many more miles ahead. 

Before we get into the details, here are some of my picks for the best leather cleaners and conditioners:

Leather Cleaner/ConditionerBest Known ForSizeGet Yours
Lexol All-Leather Spray Cleaning and conditioning8 fl. oz.Amazon
Weiman 3 in 1 Deep CreamDeep conditioning8 fl. oz.Amazon
Nikwax Tech WashTechnical fabric cleaning 34 fl. oz.Amazon
Weiman Leather WipesConvenient cleaning30 CountAmazon
Leather Honey ConditionerNourishing and conditioning8 fl. oz.Amazon
Chemical Guys Heavy-duty cleaning3.9 PoundsAmazon

How To Clean And Condition a Leather Jacket?

woman cleaning leather jacket to show how to clean and condition leather jacket

Riding exposes your leather jacket to a range of potential hazards. 

For instance, dust, dirt, and road debris can accumulate, leading to a dull and worn appearance, while rain, sunlight, and fluctuating temperatures can strip away the natural oils in the leather, making it prone to drying out and cracking. Additionally, the occasional encounter with bugs or bird droppings can leave unsightly stains.

That’s why regular cleaning and conditioning are crucial to maintaining your leather jacket’s quality and appearance for years to come. 

The process requires certain supplies and a bit of effort, but by following the right steps, it’ll be easier than you imagine. Let’s get into it! 

A Step-by-Step Guide to Cleaning A Leather Jacket

Removing Everyday Stains:

A Step-by-Step Guide to Cleaning A Leather Jacket

  1. Identify the Stain: Before diving into cleaning, identify the type of stain on your leather jacket. Different stains may require different treatment methods.
  2. Blot Gently: For fresh stains, use a clean, dry cloth to blot gently. Avoid rubbing, as this can push the stain deeper into the leather.
  3. Use a Damp Cloth: If blotting isn’t enough, dampen a clean cloth with water and mild soap. Gently rub the stained area in a circular motion, working from the outside toward the center.
  4. Dry Thoroughly: After cleaning, allow the jacket to air dry completely. Keep it away from direct heat sources, as excessive heat can cause the leather to crack.

Removing Mold and Mildew

  1. Create a Vinegar Solution: Mix equal parts white vinegar and water to create a mild cleaning solution. Vinegar is effective against mold and mildew and helps prevent their return.
  2. Dab the Affected Area: Dampen a clean cloth with the vinegar solution and gently dab the mold or mildew. Avoid excessive moisture; a light application is sufficient.
  3. Let it Sit: Allow the vinegar solution to sit on the affected area for 10-15 minutes. This gives it time to break down the mold and mildew.
  4. Wipe and Dry: Use a dry cloth to wipe away the vinegar solution. Make sure the leather is completely dry before storing the jacket to prevent future mold growth.

Deep Cleaning

  1. Choose a Leather Cleaner: Select a leather cleaner suitable for deep cleaning. Ensure it is pH-balanced and designed for your type of leather.
  2. Test in an Inconspicuous Area: Before applying the cleaner to the entire jacket, test it on a small, inconspicuous area to ensure compatibility with your leather.
  3. Apply the Cleaner: Using a soft cloth or sponge, apply the cleaner to the jacket, working in small sections. Follow the product instructions for application.
  4. Gently Scrub: For stubborn dirt or grime, use a soft-bristle brush to gently scrub the leather. Be cautious not to scratch the surface.
  5. Wipe Clean: Wipe away the cleaner using a clean, damp cloth. Ensure all residue is removed.
  6. Condition the Leather: After deep cleaning, it’s crucial to condition the leather to restore its moisture. We’ll get into more detail about how to condition a leather jacket later on.

Whether it’s everyday stains, mold, or a deep clean, these steps will help you tackle various challenges and keep your leather jacket in top-notch condition.

AGVSPORT Podium 1-Piece Leather Suit, which is available in a range of sizes: 38, 40, 42, 44, and 46 inches, all measured according to the US sizing standard

The motorcycle leather jackets I recommend provide a perfect balance of affordability and unwavering quality, ensuring the utmost value for your investment. These are items I've become well-acquainted with during my more than 50 years of motorcycling experience, where I've led and consulted for reputable companies in over 25 countries, in addition to being an avid rider.

The Best Leather Cleaners

Here are my top 3 picks for the best leather cleaners on the market:

1. TriNova Leather Cleaner with Microfiber Towel

TriNova-Leather-Cleaner-with-Microfiber-Towel

Buy on Amazon

When it comes to leather jacket care, the TriNova Leather Cleaner stands out as one of the premier cleaning products available. It boasts simplicity and user-friendliness, providing an effective solution for eliminating stains, dirt, debris, and grime without resorting to harsh materials. 

Regularly cleaning your leather jacket with TriNova Leather Cleaner contributes to the long-term preservation of your cherished leather.

2. Weiman Leather Cleaner and Conditioner

Weiman-Leather-Cleaner-and-ConditionerBuy on Amazon

Weiman has crafted an advanced pH-balanced formula designed to safeguard your leather jacket. With six natural cleaners, this product not only cleans but also moisturizes and protects your leather. 

The Weiman Leather Cleaner and Conditioner plays a crucial role in maintaining the natural suppleness and sheen of your leather while offering UV protection to prevent aging, cracks, and fading. Your jacket will continue looking fresh and new for years to come.

3. Bickmore Bick 5

Bickmore Bick 5 Complete Leather CareBuy on Amazon

For comprehensive leather care, the Bickmore Bick 5 Cleaner stands as an outstanding choice. Its thick, rich formulation positions it as an overall top performer in leather cleaning products, effectively caring for all leather components. 

This leather care spray is designed not only to clean and polish but also to provide long-lasting maintenance. Simply spray it over the targeted areas and rub the solution using a clean cloth. 

Notably, Bickmore Bick 5 leaves no sticky residues after cleaning, setting it apart from other leather care products that often leave undesirable residues behind.

A Step-by-Step Guide to Conditioning A Leather Jacket

  1. Choose the Right Conditioner: Start by selecting a high-quality leather conditioner. Opt for a product that is specifically designed for your type of leather. Look for conditioners that contain natural oils like lanolin or jojoba, as they effectively moisturize and nourish the leather.
  2. Clean the Jacket First: Ensure your leather jacket is clean before applying conditioner. Follow the cleaning steps mentioned earlier to remove any dirt or stains. A clean surface allows the conditioner to penetrate the leather more effectively.
  3. Perform a Patch Test: Before applying the conditioner to the entire jacket, perform a patch test in an inconspicuous area. This helps ensure that the conditioner doesn’t cause discoloration or any adverse reactions.
  4. Apply the Conditioner: Take a small amount of the conditioner and apply it evenly to the entire surface of the jacket. Use a soft, lint-free cloth or a sponge for application. Work the conditioner into the leather using circular motions, paying extra attention to areas that may be prone to dryness, such as elbows and cuffs.
  5. Allow Absorption Time: Let the conditioner sit on the leather for the recommended time specified on the product label. This allows the leather to absorb the moisture and regain its suppleness. Different conditioners may have varying absorption times, so be sure to follow the instructions.
  6. Buff the Jacket: After the absorption period, use a clean, dry cloth to buff the jacket gently. This step helps remove any excess conditioner and gives the leather a polished finish. Buff in circular motions for an even and smooth result.
  7. Check for Residue: Inspect the jacket for any residual conditioner. If you notice any, wipe it away with a clean, dry cloth. Leaving excess conditioner on the leather can result in a sticky or tacky feel.
  8. Repeat as Needed: Depending on how often you wear your leather jacket and its exposure to various elements, repeat the conditioning process every six months to a year. Consistent conditioning helps prevent the leather from drying out, cracking, or losing its natural luster.

After conditioning, store your leather jacket in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight. Avoid hanging it in damp areas, as moisture can lead to mold growth.

Regular conditioning not only enhances its appearance but also safeguards it against the effects of aging. By following these detailed steps, you’ll ensure that your leather jacket remains soft, supple, and resilient.

The Best Leather Conditioners

Here are my top 3 picks for the best leather conditioners on the market:

1. Venetian Imperial Balm

Venetian Imperial Leather BalmBuy on Amazon

Priced at around $14 and available in various colors, including the elusive cordovan and white, the Venetian Imperial Balm stands out as a highly effective leather conditioner in today’s market. 

Its worth becomes evident when you witness the transformative shine and smoothness it imparts to your leather jacket. 

Additionally, this conditioner:

  • Provides an added layer of protection
  • Extends the lifespan of animal hides
  • Absorbs relatively quickly

2. Leather Honey

leather-honey-leather-conditioner-leather-jacket-cleanerBuy on Amazon

A consistent top-seller since its introduction to the market in 1968, Leather Honey remains a go-to treatment for animal hides, priced at approximately $19. 

Manufactured in the United States by a third-generation family-operated business, Leather Honey is not only affordable but also offers:

  • Non-toxic, non-sticky formulation
  • Smoothing of cracks and lines
  • Suitability for use on both new and old leather

A single application of Leather Honey provides approximately six months of protection, making it a practical choice for leather jacket owners.

3. Lexol Original Formula

Lexol Original FormulaBuy on Amazon

Available at just $12, Lexol Original Formula stands as another excellent leather conditioner. It’s packaged in a convenient spray bottle, which simplifies the application process, especially for larger and hard-to-reach areas. 

Initially favored by auto detailers for conditioning leather car seats, Lexol Original Formula is equally adept at preserving leather jackets. Its benefits include:

  • Adding resiliency to old leather
  • Ideal for vintage jackets, extending their wearable lifespan
  • Easy application for versatile leather care

How Often Should You Clean and Condition Your Leather Jacket?

The frequency of cleaning and conditioning your leather jacket depends on various factors, including how often you wear it, the conditions, and the type of leather.

However, here are some general guidelines to help you determine how often to clean and condition your leather jacket:

Maintenance TypeFrequency
Regular CleaningEvery 2-4 weeks
Stains or SpillsPromptly
Deep cleaningEvery 6-12 months
Conditioning Every 6-12 months or when the leather appears dull or dry
Visual InspectionRegularly

Remember that these are general guidelines, and you may need to adjust the frequency based on your jacket’s specific needs and your usage patterns. 

10 Things to Avoid When Cleaning or Conditioning Leather Jackets

When it comes to cleaning and conditioning your leather jacket, there are certain things you should avoid:

  1. Harsh Chemicals: Avoid using harsh chemicals, solvents, or abrasive cleaners. These can strip the natural oils from the leather, leading to dryness and damage.
  2. Abrasive Brushes: Avoid using stiff or abrasive brushes that can scratch the leather surface. Opt for soft-bristle brushes or soft cloths to prevent damage.
  3. Excessive Water: While leather can withstand some moisture, excessive water can cause it to lose its natural oils and become stiff. Avoid soaking the leather or using excessive amounts of water during cleaning.
  4. Direct Heat Sources: Keep leather jackets away from direct heat sources such as radiators, heaters, or hairdryers. Excessive heat can cause the leather to crack and lose its suppleness.
  5. Sunlight Exposure: Prolonged exposure to direct sunlight can lead to fading and drying of the leather. Store your jacket in a cool, dry place when not in use, and avoid leaving it in the sun for extended periods.
  6. Overconditioning: While conditioning is essential, overdoing it can leave the leather greasy and attract dust. Follow the recommended frequency and use the appropriate amount of conditioner for your jacket.
  7. Using Colored or Dyed Cloths: When cleaning or conditioning, avoid using colored or dyed cloths, as the dye may transfer onto the leather. Stick to soft, clean, and preferably white clothes to prevent unintended color transfer.
  8. Not Checking Compatibility: Always check the care label of your jacket and test any new cleaning or conditioning product in a small, inconspicuous area. This helps ensure that the product is compatible with your specific type of leather.
  9. Skipping Patch Tests: Neglecting to perform a patch test before using a new product on the entire jacket can lead to unexpected reactions or discoloration. Take the time to test in a hidden area first.
  10. Ignoring Stains: Promptly address stains to prevent them from setting into the leather. Ignoring stains can make them more challenging to remove later.

Remember, a little caution goes a long way in preserving the beauty and integrity of your leather jacket. By avoiding these common pitfalls, you’ll contribute to its longevity and keep it looking stylish for years to come.

Conclusion 

In wrapping up our guide to caring for your leather jacket, let’s emphasize why cleaning and conditioning matter beyond just appearances.

Regular cleaning isn’t just about looking sharp – it’s about keeping your jacket tough and ready for the road. Everyday stains can turn into long-term wear, so a quick cleanup is like giving your jacket a breather between journeys.

And let’s not forget conditioning. This step keeps the leather soft and flexible, preventing it from getting all stiff and cracked. 

Think of it as a thank-you to your jacket for shielding you from wind, bugs, and whatever else the road throws your way. Happy riding!

AGVSPORT Knee and Body Armor

I've diligently categorized my motorcycle gear recommendations into all available categories, with the aim of providing you with a comprehensive analysis that showcases the absolute best options for all your needs. These items are the culmination of in-depth research, extensive testing, and personal use throughout my vast experience of 50+ years in the world of motorcycling. Besides being a passionate rider, I've held leadership positions and offered consultancy services to reputable companies in over 25 countries. To See Top Picks and the Best Prices & Places to Buy: Click Here!

Information for this article was partially sourced and researched from the following authoritative government, educational, corporate, and non-profit organizations:

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About the Author:

About the Author:

Michael Parrotte started his career in the motorcycle industry by importing AGV Helmets into the North American market. He was then appointed the Vice President of AGV Helmets America. In total, he worked with AGV Helmets for 25 years. He has also served as a consultant for KBC Helmets, Vemar Helmets, Suomy Helmets, Marushin Helmets, KYT Helmets, and Sparx Helmets.

In 1985, he founded AGV Sports Group, Inc. with AGV Helmets in Valenza, Italy. For over 38 years now, the company has quietly delivered some of the best protective gear for motorcyclists in the world.

Click Here for Michael’s LinkedIn Profile

Click Here for the Complete AGV Helmet & AGVSPORT History

Click Here for All AGV Sports Group Social Media Information

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