Leather jackets are the quintessential bad boy accessory. They’re cool, they can last forever, and they never go out of style.
Let’s be honest, who didn’t want to be as classically cool as James Dean?
But everything comes with a price.
A leather jacket is not the kind of clothing you can just wear and then hang up in the closet to forget about until the next time you want it. A leather jacket needs to be taken care of or it will start to stain and crack and let’s face it, nobody looks good in a stained leather jacket.
How to Clean Your Leather Jacket
When it comes to leather jackets, your mileage may vary. Not all leathers are created equal and not all leathers are treated the same. The make of your leather could be of any of the following materials, including:
Although it may sound obvious because there are so many different kinds of leather, the best way to take care of your leather jacket is to check the label. Often, your leather jacket will have care instructions specific to your jacket on the label.
But maybe you found your awesome new leather jacket in a used clothes store down the street and there’s no label on it.
Never fear, we have you covered!
Getting it clean
First, we recommend you start off by cleaning your leather jacket.
Cleaning it can be a bit of a tricky process. You don’t want to use ammonia or bleach-based cleaners and you also don’t want to use too much water. This can cause the leather to dry out or stain.
Instead, mix a solution of dish soap and warm water and use it to wipe down your coat with a soft cloth. You can also use a solution of vinegar and water as well. Just make sure that regardless of what you use, you wring out your rag before wiping down or your new leather jacket may crack!
If your jacket is stained, there are several DIY remedies available, including:
- Nail Polish Remover: Nail polish remover is great for removing ink stains and scuffs. Simply use a cotton swab to blot the affected area, wipe with a clean wet cloth, then dry with a towel!
- Baking Soda or Cornstarch: You can get rid of oil or grease stains by sprinkling baking soda or cornstarch on the spot. All you have to do is rub it in gently with a cloth, let the powder sit overnight, then wipe it off with a soft wet cloth and dry with a towel!
- Rubbing Alcohol: If your jacket is in rough condition and has contracted some mold or mildew, rubbing alcohol will do the trick. Make sure to dilute the rubbing alcohol with water, wipe down the area, and then wipe it clean with a damp cloth and voila! Your jacket is as good as new!
Hang It Well
Keeping your leather jacket clean is only one part of a comprehensive leather jacket care plan.
Leather can wrinkle, so making sure you hang it in a spot when it can rest comfortably is important.
You also need to make sure that you hang your leather jacket up in a dry area where it can breathe. Like any other clothing, leather can get musty and develop an odor if it is kept somewhere for too long. This is undesirable because once a jacket develops an odor, it can be a real pain to get out.
In addition, keeping your leather in a dry storage area is especially important because moisture can cause the natural oils of the leather to seep to the surface. That means that once your leather is taken out and dries, it will start to crack!
Lastly, when choosing your leather jacket’s resting spot, make sure you choose somewhere out of the sun.
A leather jacket resting in the sunlight can cause discoloration, leaving you with a jacket that is spotty and anything but cool. Sunlight can also cause the leather to dry out and crack, which can ruin your jacket permanently.
Soften the Leather
Softening your leather jacket is important because leather will dry out and become stiff over time. If you simply wear your jacket and hang it up, you will notice it becoming stiffer with each use.
When it comes to softening your leather jacket, there are several options available to you. Petroleum jelly or baby oil can aid in restoring softness and moisture to cracked leather.
However, it’s always best to use leather conditioner.
What is Leather Conditioner?
Leather conditioner is a conditioner that can do wonders for your leather jacket!
Some of its benefits include:
- It Cleans the Leather: Part of the reason leather conditioner is so great is because it is able to get below the dirt and filth on the surface of the leather and lift it away. Leather conditioner is specifically made to treat leather, so unlike cleaning leather with your own solution, you won’t have to worry about damaging it.
- It Preserves the Leather: Leather that has started to dry out and crack won’t last as long as leather that is kept soft and moisturized. By using leather conditioner on your jacket, you help preserve the leather so that it can last you for years to come!
- It Strengthens the Leather: Probably the best aspect of leather conditioner is its ability to strengthen leather. The chemical makeup of leather conditioner allows it to bind to leather and increase the strength and durability of it.
Best Conditioners for your Leather
Now that you know about the benefits of leather conditioner, it’s time to go out and buy some!
However, with so many leather conditioners available on the market, it can be difficult to pick out the best choice. If you don’t know what leather conditioner to pick, check out our top choices!
European Leather Restorer
Coming in at the higher end of the price spectrum is the European Leather Restorer.
The European Leather Restorer boasts a long lineage. It’s been perfected for over three generations by the same family and is 100% USA made. It’s great because it’s highly versatile and can be used on all kinds of leather goods, including clothing, furniture, and more!
It’s also nice because unlike some other brands, there is no sticky residue left on the leather after use.
- 100% satisfaction guarantee
- USA Made
- Restores even old, cracked leather
- More expensive than other brands
- Can leave an after-smell
Obenauf’s Heavy Duty LP
Obenauf’s Heavy Duty LP is a considerably more affordable choice at half the price of the European Leather Restorer.
Obenauf certainly has aesthetic in mind as evidenced by its stylish packaging. The Heavy Duty LP is a beeswax formula that melts into leather by hand, so a little goes a long way with this product!
- Industrial Strength
- Fiber Reinforcing
- Made in the USA
- Stains leather darker
- Lingering smell of honey
- Leaves sticky, waxy residue
Chemical Guys Leather Cleaner and Conditioner
Last but not least is the Chemical Guys Leather Cleaner and Conditioner! Chemical Guys provides a great amount of bang for your buck, providing both a leather cleaner and conditioner at an affordable price.
It uses a special pH balanced formula so you don’t have to worry about drying out your leather or getting it dirty! The spray applicator is also a nice perk since it aids in applying a nice, even coat.
- pH balanced formula
- Faint leather smell
- Cleaner and conditioner included
- Wipes away easily
- Lack of residue compared to other products
- Stains any cloth it touches
- Not very effective at removing dirt or grease stains
Have you used any of the leather conditioners on this list? Do you have one you think should be on the list?
Leave us a comment and let us know your thoughts!