How to Care for Leather Jacket
There’s something edgy, mysterious and sexy about leather jackets. Since the days of Marlon Brando sporting one while riding a motorcycle in “The Wild One,” leather jackets have served as a badge of coolness and also as a warning that the wearer is no one to be trifle with. Have you forgotten how kickass he looked:
But leather jackets require an investment — good leather jackets, at least. And the last thing you want to do is spend hundreds or even thousands of dollars on a quality leather jacket without taking proper care of it.
Caring for a leather jacket is unlike caring for anything else in your wardrobe. Here’s a look at several tips to help you make the right decisions as you place your new leather jacket into rotation and as you try to get the greatest return on your investment.
8 Tips for How to Care for Leather Jacket
You can find faux leather jacket options for as little as it costs to buy a round of drinks for your friends. But, if you want a quality leather jacket, you’re going to pay significantly more.
Which means you’re also going to want to take care of your leather jacket. After all, no one wants to spend serious cash on a beautiful leather jacket only to see it ruined by water or heat or improper care. Here are 8 tips for keeping your leather jacket looking fabulous, and for getting the most possible wear out of it:
1. Know Your Material
Not all leather jackets are created equal. Some are sheepskin; others are buckskin. You’ll find cow leather options, as well as lambskin models. The type of material matters, and it’s always best to follow the recommended care instructions from the manufacturer.
So, when you first buy your new leather jacket, check out the label hidden somewhere on the inside. Take a close look at how the manufacturer recommends caring for your leather jacket, and then follow those instructions as closely as possible.
2. Seal It From The Start
Before you do anything with your leather jacket, make sure to treat it with a waterproofing sealant. You should be able to find an appropriate product wherever you purchased your jacket, or you can always ask at a leather repair shop.
Not only does a waterproof sealant prevent water damage, it also helps prevent stains from forming on your jacket.
3. Stay Away From Heat
You don’t want your leather jacket overheating. Make sure you store it somewhere that’s room temperature. Don’t leave it in your car for long periods of time due to how the greenhouse effect can do a number on your leather. And never (ever) use a hair dryer on your jacket or place your jacket into a clothes dry. More on this in the next section.
4. Keep It Dry
Water and leather just don’t mix — even if you’ve taken time to properly seal and waterproof your jacket. Do you best to avoid rain and other sources of water at all costs.
Of course, when you’re wearing a leather jacket like a normal human being, it’s going to get a little damp from time to time. If and when your leather jacket gets wet, the best thing you can do is nothing at all. Don’t try to dry the wet area with a hair dryer, and certainly don’t toss your leather jacket into a clothes dryer. Letting a wet jacket dry naturally is the absolute best approach.
5. Hang It Up
Always keep your leather jacket stored on a hanger that’s up to the job. That is, don’t put it on a wire hanger.
Get a hanger that’s wide enough and strong enough to handle the jacket’s weight without buckling. Also, choose a hanger that provides a little bit of padding.
Hanging your jacket helps it keep its shape, and it also prevents wrinkles from forming — which can be nearly impossible to get out. Feel free to use a nylon garment bag if you want some extra protection for your leather jacket. Just don’t place it in plastic, which won’t allow natural leather to breathe the way it needs to.
6. Do Some Conditioning
One danger with a leather jacket is the possibility of it getting too dry. When a leather jacket gets too dry, it can begin to crack — and you don’t want that.
The best way to prevent a leather jacket from drying out is to use a leather conditioner. Make sure test out a leather conditioner on a small and hidden portion of your jacket before applying it to the entire piece. You want to match the leather conditioner to your type of leather, or you risk discoloring or staining your jacket.
Again, ask about leather conditioner wherever you purchased your jacket, or you should be able to find a quality and appropriate conditioning product at your local leather repair shop.
7. Clean Regularly
Take time to clean your leather jacket regularly, especially when you’re going through heavy periods of use. What’s the safest way to clean a leather jacket? Here are 3 easy steps:
- Mix a solution of warm water and just a little bit of soap.
- Soak a damp sponge in the solution, wring it out, and then use it to gently wipe down your jacket.
- After wiping down your jacket, use a soft cloth to fully dry it.
That’s it: 3 simple steps that should take you just a few minutes to properly follow.
8. Make Friends at the Leather Repair Shop
Get to know your local leather repair shop. They will be able to make expert recommendations about caring for your jacket. And it’s always a good idea to have the leather shop professionally clean your jacket from time to time — about once a year should do the trick.
When you have a strong relationship with your local leather professional, you have a trusted service provider to turn to if something devastating ever happens to your leather jacket.
Final Thoughts on How to Care for Leather Jacket
OK, so this might sound counterintuitive after a long post on how to care for a leather jacket, but here it goes: Don’t go crazy taking care of your jacket. Most leather jackets actually look better after some light wearing in. You’re going to get it wet from time to time, and it’s going to be exposed to heat once in a blue moon.
All you can do is your best. Take in to account the tips above, and do your best to keep your leather jacket in great condition. But don’t drive yourself nuts trying to keep it pristine, or you’ll never have fun with your jacket — which is the whole point in the first place, right?
Do you have an insider tip or trick for taking care of your leather jacket? If so, let us know via our contact page, or leave a comment in the section below.
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