How To Clean & Maintain Your Leather Motorcycle Jacket
If there is a clothing article I love, it's a good leather motorcycle jacket. Ever since they first appeared as flight garments at the start of the 20th century, leather jackets have been a signifier of action and a staple of masculinity. However, its status as an iconic fashion statement only came about when it was adopted by bikers around the half of the century. At that time, it was redesigned and reshaped into the dynamic, rock and rolling garment it now is. For me, the appeal of a leather motorcycle jackets has a lot to do with its natural ruggedness. Like wine, a good leather jacket gets better with age. However, in order to keep them looking their best, it's important to take some time to clean and maintain them. With that in mind, this guide will teach you how to clean and maintain your leather motorcycle jacket
What You Will Need
1. De-salter spray: You may be surprised to find out that salt is one of the biggest enemies of leather jackets. Apart from producing ugly stains on them, they can create bad odors and even give way to mold. Luckily, de-salters can be used to remove salt stains with ease.
2. Quality leather cleaner: The best leather cleaners on the market help you remove dirt, grime, spills, stains and debris from any leather surface. Apart from your leather jacket, you can use this product to clean furniture, faux leather, shoes, auto interiors, saddles and tack, vinyl, bags, microfiber and accessories.
3. Leather conditioner: Once you have removed dirt and stains from your leather jacket, it is time to condition it using a leather conditioner. Much like a hair conditioner, a leather conditioner helps maintain the material soft and sleek while adding a protective coating to it.
4. Sponge: Chemical substances such as leather cleaners and conditioners should always be applied using a soft, damp and absorbent applicator. The reason for this is that this kind of material helps distribute the product evenly and in adequate amounts. Whenever the substance is more on the liquid side, a sponge offers the right level of absorbency and softness to achieve a perfect application.
5. Applicator rag: Another great option for applying leather cleaners and conditioners is a simple rag. Any rag should work properly as long as it is soft and offers a certain degree of absorbency. It should also be kept in mind that this option tends to work better for semi-solid cleaning and conditioning products.
6. Dry cloth: In addition to all the previously mentioned items, you will need a simple, soft and dry piece of cloth that will help you polish the leather jacket after it has been thoroughly cleaned.
Three Stages for Cleaning and Maintaining Your Leather Motorcycle Jacket
Stage One: Clean the Interior
When confronted with the idea of cleaning their motorcycle jacket, most people picture themselves diligently cleaning the exterior of the item. Whenever they do this, however, they are leaving out an important part of the process: Cleaning the interior of the jacket. Sure, the interior of a jacket may not be as vulnerable to exterior elements such as dirt, grime, spills, stains and debris. However, it can be very much affected by your own sweat, the oil of your skin and other substances. For that reason, the first thing you should do when setting out to clean your leather jacket is taking care of its interior.
1. Remove the Interior: Hopefully, the interior of your jacket will be a removable one. Being able to remove the interior makes the whole process a lot easier. This type of interior is very common in leather race suits. However, there are other types of leather jackets that feature removable interiors.
2. Air it Out: Whether your leather jacket has a removable interior or not, it's necessary to air it out before proceeding with the next step. If it's removable, simply hang the interior in a well-aired room for a few hours. If it's not, however, try turning the jacket inside out before hanging it in a well-aired room.
3. Use De-Salter Spray: As previously mentioned, the salt that accumulates on the leather of a jacket can create ugly and unsanitary stains to appear. In order to get rid of this pesky salt, simply spray the de-salting solution liberally all over the interior of the jacket. Remember that, by this point, either the interior should have been removed or the jacket should have been turned inside out. Once you have applied the product generously on it, leave the jacket out to dry for a few more minutes.
Stage Two: Clean the Exterior
One of the main characteristics of leather jackets is having exteriors that are very resilient and durable. Having been subjected to special processing, the leather that they are made of is capable of resisting a great amount of punishment from external elements. At the same time, this special processing allows leather jackets to become impervious to most stains. However, in order to keep your leather jacket looking pristine for many years to come, it's important that you clean its exterior regularly.
1. Apply a Quality Leather Cleaner: There is a huge variety of types and brands of leather cleaners to choose from. As a general rule, you should stay away from silicones and waxes because they have a tendency to dry out leather. Considering they will often discolor the leather, it is also a good idea to stay clear from using animal byproducts such as mink oil paste. Once you have the right product, pour a small amount of it directly on your rag or sponge. Immediately after, gently apply it in small, circular motions.
2. Let the Jacket Dry: Once both the interior and exterior of the leather jacket have been thoroughly cleaned, it's time to let the materials dry out. It's crucially important to let your leather jacket dry for at least 24 hours before proceeding with the next stage of the process. This is not an arbitrary rule: In order to properly function when it's used later on, the conditioner needs to be applied on a completely moistureless leather surface.
Stage Three: Conditioning Your Leather Motorcycle Jacket
Once a period of at least 24 hours have passed and your leather jacket is completely dry, it's time to move on to the conditioning phase. Because it is a natural, organic material, leather can dry out and deteriorate. In order to avoid this from happening to it, you can apply conditioners to your leather jacket that will greatly extend its lifespan while maintaining its good looks.
1. Apply Quality Leather Conditioner: The first thing to take into account when it comes to conditioning is that it shouldn't be done too often. The reason behind this is that, if overdone, the conditioning process can lead to discoloration. It is also important to take into account that your leather motorcycle jacket should be perfectly clean and dry before carrying on.
Begin the process by taking a soft, slightly damp applicator and pouring a generous amount of the leather conditioner on it. Work it into the jacket softly but energetically, preferably employing concentric movements. When applying it, take into account that, in order to effectively work, the leather conditioning product needs to be gently pushed into the pores of the material. Apply the conditioner evenly throughout the entire garment, being as thorough as possible.
2. Let the Jacket Dry: Once the leather conditioning product has been thoroughly applied to the jacket, it will need to dry out. However, this time the jacket doesn't have to be left out to dry as long as the last time. Give it a good 12 hours to be sure and you are ready for the final step.
3. Use a Dry Cloth to Polish the Jacket: By this point, your leather motorcycle jacket should be looking its best. However, you can still give it an extra shine by using a small piece of soft cloth to polish the jacket. Using quick, firm and tight circular motions, simply rub the surface of your jacket a little bit. Don't overdo it as only a light polishing is necessary to make the leather shine at this point.
Did you find this tutorial useful? In my personal experience, it's incredibly rewarding to take care of a jacket you truly enjoy wearing, extending its lifespan and making it look its best. By performing these steps regularly, you will be able to wear your favorite leather motorcycle jackets for much longer. At the same time, you will ensure your jacket will maintain its shape and colors through its entire lifecycle. If you have any comments or questions, please use the comment section to get them across to us! If you liked this tutorial, please consider sharing it!