Since 2016


November 18, 2019 7 min read

by Sarah Makhluf

Sarah is a freelance content writer from Boston, MA. She loves traveling, fashion, and the beach.

A great leather jacket never goes out of style. They add style, class, and sophistication to any outfit. Men all around the world gravitate toward leather jackets to amp up their style. Many call them the most timeless article of clothing ever made. They do, however take a bit of maintenance to keep them in the best possible condition. Have you ever thought about how your leather jacket will age? When the excitement of purchasing your new leather jacket wears off, it's time to take care of it so you can keep it for years to come. Taking a few measures to care for the material will keep your leather jacket looking newer for longer. Leather jackets are more delicate than your average outerwear, and throwing them in the laundry machine is, unfortunately, not an option. The good news is there are plenty of products on the market today to keep your jackets from looking dirty or dull and drying out. Read on to learn about how to care for your leather jacket and learn a few tips and tricks to clean it in a way that will have it looking pristine for a long time to come.

How does leather change over time?

We all know that leather jackets can be made from various animal hides. Cowskin, sheepskin, and lambskin are the most common. Do all of these types of leather age the same? In general, yes, all kinds of leather jackets, no matter which animal hide they are made from, will have very similar aging processes. When it comes to leather, always keep in mind that it's made from a natural material. So, if the color changes or it stretches, it's completely normal. Some men even like it when their jackets have a more 'lived in' or vintage look to them. Some of the aging signs we see on leather are the natural effects of the animal hide, but if you want to preserve your jacket for longer, there are a few key measures you can take to keep it looking as close as the day you bought it.

Everything you need to know

  • Color - Is your leather jacket a completely different shade of black or brown than when you first bought it? Most likely, if a leather jacket's color looks off, it's because the proper care wasn't taken to preserve the material when the jacket was new. Sun exposure, body oils, rain, bright lights, heavy use, dust, dirt, and changes in temperature are among the most common causes of leather jackets to change color over time. Most of the time, things like dust, sun exposure, and daily usage are inevitable, so your best bet to keeping your jacket looking sharp is proper leather jacket care when your first purchase it. Products like saddle soap and waterproofing spray will help preserve the color of your coat for longer.
  • Stretch - A leather jacket should stretch until it forms to your body. It shouldn't hang down like a shapeless coat, though. Naturally, throughout daily usage, leather jackets will stretch out a little bit. It's essential to buy a leather jacket that's not too big in the first place. If your jacket is already loose fitting when you first buy it, within the first two years of wearing, it will likely become too ill-fitting to wear anymore.
  • Feel - Just like fine wine, sometimes leather jackets get better with age! Over time, your leather jacket will start to feel more and more like a second layer of skin. Just like the perfect pair of shoes that form around your foot, your leather jacket will feel like it was made for your body.


How to clean your leather jacket

How to clean your leather jacket with saddle soap

Is your leather jacket looking a bit lackluster? It could be natural wear and tear, or it may just require a little TLC. Cleaning your leather jacket occasionally will keep it from getting dull or dingy looking. You can apply saddle soap to most leather jackets to clean the surface and preserve the original appearance of your leather jacket.

What is saddle soap?

Saddle soap is a type of leather conditioner that can be used to clean, condition, and protect genuine leather from damage. While there are dozens of different saddle soap brands and varieties, most of the ones on the market today are made from a mixture of basic ingredients like lanolin and beeswax.

How to clean a leather jacket with saddle soap - step by step

Start by wiping down your garment with a damp - not soaked - cloth. This will remove the dust and dirt that's collected on the surface of the leather. Next, rub a small amount of saddle soap on another clean washcloth. With the new washcloth, gently apply the saddle soap throughout the leather. For the best results, rub in it using a clockwise motion. If the saddle soap looks a bit streaky at first, don't worry. It will gradually settle into the leather and become invisible. If there is still a little too much excess, try wiping the surface of the jacket with another clean, dry washcloth to remove any excess saddle soap.

How often do I need to use saddle soap?

Keep in mind that saddle soap isn't a one-time product. You should be applying it to not only your leather jackets but all leather products, like belts and wallets regularly. A good rule of thumb is to apply saddle soap once every 3-4 months for optimal protection. Using saddle soap regularly will prevent your leather from naturally occurring wear and tear, like dryness, cracking, and sun damage. Do keep in mind that using saddle soap too often can actually harm your leather. Overuse can lead to excess moisture, getting trapped in the leather, which promotes mildew. If you stick to the every few months rule, you shouldn't run into any issues.

Maintain your leather jacket

What you should keep in mind when cleaning: tips and tricks

  • Always check the manufacturer's instructions. Your leather jacket will have a care label inside with the manufacturer's recommended cleaning instructions. More importantly, it will have warnings against what not to do. Usually, the manufacturer will suggest the best cleaning method for that specific leather type and grain.
  • Know the type of leather. This way, you will know which types of cleaning products are best suited for the particular type of leather you have. Is your leather natural or treated? Natural or untreated leather does not have a protective coating but treated leather jackets do. If you're not sure, try feeling the jacket. Does it feel a bit like plastic, if so, it's probably been treated with some type of preservative. Treated leather is easier to clean, so if your jacket is natural, be sure you're always extra cautious when it comes to caring for your coat.
  • Dust your jacket before you clean. Using a soft brush or cloth, wipe away any dust and oil before you begin the cleaning/conditioning process. Wipe down the entire surface of the jacket. Dusting frequently will make cleaning much more comfortable. We suggest dusting in soft circular motions to prevent any damage to your jacket.
  • Treat your leather jackets with conditioners. Products like saddle soap and leather conditioners are a lifesaver when it comes to the longevity of leather jackets. Apply a leather conditioning cream on the surface of your jacket. This will help it stay soft and flexible while preventing it from cracking and splitting. You can use saddle soap for this or any other leather conditioner on the market. It may be a bit harsh if your jacket is ultra-soft, but if you have a more rugged leather jacket, the conditioner will help keep it feeling its best.

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How to care for your leather jacket

Want more ways to keep your leather jacket in perfect condition? Check out the list below to make sure you're doing everything you can to keep your jacket looking as good as new.

  • Store your jacket properly. When you're not wearing it, don't throw it in the back of your car or rolled up in a ball on your bed. Hang it up on a hanger and keep it in a cool, dry place. If you don't wear your jacket very often, we suggest keeping it in a garment bag to store it.
  • Use a waterproof sealant spray. One of the biggest causes of leather discoloration comes from water damage. To prevent pesky raindrops from ruining your jacket, seal it with a waterproof agent. Instead of water seeping into your jacket, it will bead and roll off.
  • Sometimes it's best to leave it up to the professionals. If your leather is made from very delicate lamb or suede, you may want to have it professionally cleaned. A qualified leather cleaner will have the proper equipment we may not have at home to rid stains.
  • Buy good quality leather. One of the best ways to prevent aging is by purchasing a high-quality leather jacket. Lower quality leathers will be more prone to cracking and discoloration.
  • Check the weather before you head out the door. While sealant sprays are a great asset to have if it's drizzling or you get caught in a short rainstorm, if the forecast shows heavy downpours, it's best to leave your leather at home.
  • Keep it away from the heat. Never iron or steam a leather jacket. Leather and heat don't mix. Heat dries out leather and causes it to become dry and brittle. Never lay down your leather jacket by a heater or vent, and never put it in the dryer.
  • Avoid sticky name tags. You know those little name tags you get at a parent-teacher conference, school, or work event? If you're in a situation where someone needs to know your name, try placing it on your shirt underneath. When you peel off the sticker at the end of the event, it could leave a mark on your leather.
Leather jacket is an investment

Thanks so much for reading. When it comes to leather jackets, the last thing you want is to limit the amount of use. Doing a few simple steps will ensure the lifespan of your leather jacket is a long as possible. In most cases, when we buy leather, we are in it for the long haul. For me, I always condition my leather jackets at least twice per year. I think of leather jackets as an investment piece. If I am dropping a couple hundred on a coat, I want it to be part of my wardrobe for years to come. Thanks so much for reading, and if you liked the article, please pass it along.

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