Leather jackets, suits, pants have been around for many years. And throughout this time, they’ve added a touch of class and style to most people’s wardrobes. With proper maintenance, leather materials can maintain their beauty and endure several years of use.
Like all other pieces of clothing, leather jackets also need regular cleaning and conditioning. Most leather jackets don’t always come cheap. So, if you’ve invested in one, you always want to keep it in its best condition for as long as possible. But then again, that’s easier said than done.
For some reason, it always seems like leather jackets attract spills and tears. And getting them out is a different process altogether. This excerpt should provide you with in-depth information on cleaning and conditioning your leather jacket without damaging it.
Removing Everyday Stains
Like other clothing pieces, leather jackets are prone to dirt, make-up, dust, spills, and more. Removing some of these stains can be very difficult, especially if you don’t use the proper leather cleaning process.
A significant part of the cleaning process is knowing what not to use to clean your leather jacket. While specifics may vary depending on your leather type, the brand, and finish, it’s generally always a good idea to avoid using waxes and silicones. Cleaners with these chemicals usually dry out the leather.
It’s also recommended that you avoid using animal-based products like mink oil paste. Animal products have been known to discolor leather.
It’s always important to check which cleaner is the most effective and how to use it. Once you’ve found the right leather cleaner for your jacket, look for the right applicator preference for the cleaning process. A soft cotton terrycloth rag is one of the best materials you can use to apply a leather cleaner to your jacket.
How to Clean Leather Jackets?
Cleaning a leather jacket isn’t as straightforward as cleaning other pieces of clothing. There’s a cleaning process you must follow to maintain your leather’s condition. In that regard, it’s critical that you follow the steps below for the best jacket cleaning process:
Know the Type of Leather
Before you start cleaning your jacket, you must first know what type of leather it’s made of. Unfortunately, only people always know the type of leather they have and the treatment processes used to clean them.
Knowing the type of leather for your jacket is the first step towards choosing the most appropriate cleaning products and conditioners for it. It also helps you know the best methods suited to your particular leather type. So, you know the right cleaning materials best for the cleaning process.
Dust the Leather
After you’ve determined the type of leather your jacket is made of, the next step involves dusting it. You’ll need a soft cloth or brush to wipe away any oil or dust build-up. It is vital that you wipe over the entire jacket surface, especially around the parts that tend to be dustier. Also, remember to use a circular motion when dusting the jacket to prevent any form of damage to it.
Apply a Leather Cleaning Solution
Once you’ve removed all dirt from your jacket, apply the leather cleaning solution on a soft rag and use it to clean the leather. Again, it’s crucial that you know the type of leather you want to clean to find the best leather cleaning solution to use.
Mild soap and water always work best for cleaning leather jackets and bags. Ensure you use these solutions sparingly, in a circular motion to prevent any form of damage to the leather.
Condition the Leather
Finally, condition the leather jacket completely until you feel it is soft and supple. Also, ensure you go for quality when buying a leather conditioner. Using the right conditioner helps prevent damage to the jacket and enhances its softness.
Another critical factor to note is to always do a color test before using it on your leather jacket. If the color transfers onto your jacket, the dye isn’t stable on the ladder. If that’s the case, don’t proceed with conditioning.
The Best Leather Cleaners Of 2020
1. TriNova Leather Cleaner with Microfiber Towel
The TriNova Leather Cleaner is one of the best leather cleaning products you can use for your leather jacket. It is also simple and easy to use, making it an efficient solution for eliminating stains, dirt, debris, grime, etc. without using harsh materials. Regular cleaning of your leather jacket with TriNova Leather Cleaner should help maintain your leather for a lifetime.
2. Weiman Leather Cleaner and Conditioner
Weiman developed an advanced pH-balanced formula that can protect your leather jacket. It contains six natural cleaners that work to clean, moisturize, and protect your leather. Weiman Leather Cleaner and Conditioner protects your leather and restores its natural suppleness and sheen.
Its UV protection features also help prevent the surface from aging by fighting any cracks or fading. This will keep the jacket looking new for years.
3. Bickmore Bick 5
The Bickmore Bick 5 Cleaner is another excellent leather cleaner to keep your leather components in the best condition. Its thick, rich formulation also makes it out to be the best leather cleaning product overall as it is highly effective at taking care of leather.
Additionally, this leather care spray is formulated to clean and polish the leather as well as maintain it for a longer period. And all you need to do is spray it over the areas to be cleaned. Rub the solution over the desired areas using a clean cloth.
Bickmore Bick 5 never leaves any sticky residues after cleaning. This feature is worth appreciating since most leather care products often leave a sticky residue after usage.
How to Remove Mold and Mildew
Your leather jacket can be more susceptible to mold or mildew attack if you haven’t worn it for long periods. However, mold and mildew can still attack your jacket even if you’ve been wearing it, especially if you store it in a cool, wet place when not in use. Usually, regular cleaning and airing out the jacket can help keep the mold and mildew at bay.
For health reasons, it’s always recommended that you deal with mold outside in an open space. This lowers the risk of breathing the spores while removing them. As you remove mold from your jacket, it’s also important that you do so carefully so as not to break the spores.
The first step involves hanging the jacket outside in an open space. Use a scrub brush to remove any signs of mold and mildew you see on the jacket. Mix a cup of white vinegar or rubbing alcohol with a cup of water and use it to scrub the mold off your jacket. It’s also important that you test the solution on an inconspicuous area of the jacket before using it in other places.
Use a soft cloth to rub the solution on the mold-infested areas, then allow it to dry completely. Finally, you can use soapy water and a soft sponge to remove any stains that remain on the jacket, then let it dry fully before you wear it.
How to Condition Leather
After you’ve successfully cleaned your jacket, the next equally important step is to condition it. Conditioning your leather jacket helps to keep it soft and supple. It also prevents the leather from drying out. Vintage jackets can benefit the most from regular conditioning to help maintain their classy, flashy appearance.
Here is a detailed step-by-step guide on how best to condition your leather jacket:
Remove Straps and Other Accessories
It’s important that you remove any fasteners, straps, laces, and other accessories on it before you start conditioning it. This helps to make the conditioning process easier and more effective.
Clean the Leather
Once you are done removing the straps, use a soft damp cloth to remove any noticeable dirt or grime build-up. Wipe down the entire surface of the jacket before applying a small amount of the designated leather cleaner to your cloth. Evenly apply the leather cleaner in a circular motion to allow your leather to absorb it.
Let the Leather Dry Overnight
This process ensures that the jacket is completely clean and dry and ready for conditioning. You can leave it in a dry place overnight to ensure that it’s completely dry and ready for conditioning.
Test A Small Spot Using the Conditioner
As earlier mentioned, it’s advised to test the conditioning agent on a small inconspicuous part of your jacket to check how it reacts to your leather. After applying, check if there are any discolorations that may affect the rest of the jacket. Allow it to sit for about an hour, then check it for any effects.
Most conditioned leather tends to have a darker appearance due to the moisturizing process. And if the spot you tested the conditioner with seems drastically darker or undesirable to you, you can dry a different conditioner. Do this until you find the best conditioner that’s best for your jacket.
Condition the Leather
By this stage, you should have found the leather conditioner that’s best for your jacket. Next, you need to apply a small amount of the conditioner on a soft, clean cloth. Rub the solution on the clean jacket in a circular motion to avoid damaging it.
Ensure you cover the entire surface of the jacket so there is an even distribution of the conditioner. This also helps to prevent different color patches in different parts of the paper.
Allow the Leather to Rest
After you have applied the conditioner, allow it to rest and air-dry a second time. It’s also best to hang it overnight to ensure the best drying process.
Remove Any Conditioning Residue
After you’ve rested the leather, use a clean, dry cloth to remove any residues, the conditioner might have left behind. By this stage, the leather should look and have a smooth and hydrated feel.
For the best results, it’s advisable that you condition your leather jacket regularly. Basically, it’s best to condition it every time it starts looking dry or faded. Many leather jacket owners often condition their products regularly to ensure they look great and feel they’re very best.
Best Leather Conditioners for Motorcycle Leather Jackets
You will find a plethora of conditioners on the market today, which can be very confusing. This is true if you’ve never conditioned your jacket before and don’t know which conditioner works best for you.
If you aren’t careful, the conditioner you use may end up damaging your leather material instead. In light of this, we compiled a list of things to consider when selecting the best leather conditioner for your jacket:
- The type of leather conditioner and the application process
- Leather darkening
The Best Leather Conditioners on the Market
Below is a detailed list of the best leather conditioners on the market today. You can find these conditioners on Amazon and other main online sellers.
1. Venetian Imperial Balm
This conditioner retails for around $10 and is available in several colors, including hard-to-find ones like cordovan and white. Venetian Imperial Balm is one of the most effective leather conditioners on the market today. You will know its worth once you see how effective it shines and smooths your leather jacket. It also:
- Adds a layer of protection
- Extends the life of animal hides
- Absorbs a little too quickly
2. Leather Honey
Leather Honey has been one of the top-selling and top-rated animal hide treatment products since it first came into the market in 1968. It’s approximately $19, making it relatively affordable for most leather jacket owners. It’s manufactured in the United States by a third-generation family-operated business.
One application of Leather Honey on your jacket should provide around 6 months of protection. Apart from its fair pricing, other features include:
- Non-toxic and non-sticky
- Smooths cracks and lines
- Good for use on both new and old leather
3. Lexol Original Formula
At just $12, Lexol Original Formula is another excellent product for conditioning your leather. It comes in a spray bottle, which makes administering it to large and hard-to-reach areas simple and nearly effortless.
Lenox Original Formula is mainly used by auto detailers to condition leather car seats and other parts. But it’s also perfect for conditioning leather jackets. It adds resiliency to old leather, allowing you to rock your vintage jacket a lot longer than you imagined possible.
Let It Dry
After you’ve applied the leather conditioner to your jacket, you have to let it dry thoroughly. This should help ensure that the jacket enjoys the full benefits of essential oils and bring out the best in the leather.
Do Not Over-Condition
A common mistake most people make is over-conditioning their leather jackets. As fun as it may seem, refrain from conditioning too often as it may lead to leather discoloring. It may also end up clogging the jacket’s pores and prematurely wear down the leather.
In that regard, experts suggest that you condition your motorcycle leather jacket only once (no more than twice) every year.
Types of Leather Used to Make Jackets
Generally speaking, calfskin, cowhide, goatskin, lambskin, deerskin, and bison are some of the most commonly used leathers today. Below is a more detailed exploration of the unique characters of these types of leather:
Cowhide is one of the most impervious leathers available. It’s also the most commonly used leather type on the market. Cowskin is strong, thick, and very durable, making it the material of choice for most motorcycle jackets. It’s water- and dirt-resistant and offers excellent weather protection.
This leather type pairs the durability and strength of cowhide with the soft and lightweight feel of lambskin. It’s thicker and heavier than lambskin but smooth and supple. This allows it to strike a perfect balance between fashionable and functional.
Lambskin is as soft as it gets when it comes to leather. It’s also very lightweight and extremely smooth, allowing it to offer a flattering drape. Most of the finest leather jackets and other high-end furnishings are crafted using lambskin.
Goatskin is also softer and lighter than cowskin, making it a preferred option for the US Navy and Air Force G-1 and A-2 aviator jackets. It’s also a very durable option and is considered to be the best leather type by many. Like deerskin, it’s also smooth and supple when worn.
Sheepskin also offers durability and strength with a softer, lighter feel than Cowskin. It’s also supple and smooth and used mostly for warmth and comfort. Sheepskin contours to your form and is known to grow softer with each wear.
Kangaroo skin is one of the strongest but lightweight leather skins you can find. They are also more flexible compared to Cowskin or goatskin. It is usually thinner, too but can be used to make tough-as-nails kangaroo leather.
The Bottom Line
From the above excerpt, it’s evident that if you treat your leather jacket with care, it will serve you for many years. The cleaning and conditioning steps mentioned above should help you see a noticeable difference almost instantly.
Follow these cleaning and conditioning steps to help restore or maintain your leather’s quality and appearance. Above all else, it’s crucial to remember that most leather jackets are manufactured to last, but they can only do so with good care.
About the author: Michael Parrotte was the Vice President of AGV Helmets America, and a consultant for KBC Helmets, Vemar Helmets, Suomy Helmets, Marushin Helmets, KYT Helmets, Sparx Helmets. In addition, he is the founder and owner of AGV Sports Group.