Leather jackets are a fashion staple that has seen a lot of periods of human history. Their advent dates back to the early 20th century. Far from being a stylish clothing piece, at that time it was created for purely practical purposes. Around the time of World War II, they started to be manufactured specifically as military wear. Leather jackets actually became popular among the public in the 1950s when Hollywood actors started wearing them. From thereon, they have been a fashion symbol and do not seem to be losing that label anytime soon.
Through the years, the style of leather jackets has evolved immensely. There are various different cuts and designs which they are available now. Apart from a basic black, you can get beautiful tans, browns, rust, and even vibrant dyed hues. There can be embellished details, intricate bedazzling, fringed edges, and many other decorative patterns on leather jackets.
In itself, leather is a long-lasting material. Especially if you have purchased a good quality jacket. However, it also needs some help to remain that way. Hence, we have put together a complete guide on how to maintain and clean a leather jacket. This is sure to be valuable for all who are enthusiasts of buying this fabric.
To ensure that your jacket stays beautifully smooth, soft, and supple, you need to be aware of some basic points.
Make sure to read the label of the jacket for any specific instructions. It might tell you how often to condition or waterproof your jacket. Or any cleaning tips that are exclusive for that leather type.
A good leather jacket can get ruined by a day out in the rain. In case, it does get wet somehow let it dry naturally. Just hang it to dry before you put it away.
It is not good for leather to be kept folded for a long time. It can form cracks and creases in the material. Instead, hang it on a padded hanger in a closet that is properly ventilated. It is important to not use a hangar with corners that can deform the jacket after some time. Unpleasant bumps will appear in the shoulder area if wired instead of padded hangers are used.
Furthermore, do not store it in a sunny place. The jacket will become discolored before you know it. This is even more important for suede leather jackets. Lastly, it is important to store it in a closet where there is a bit of room. Try not to bundle it up with a dozen other jackets in a full wardrobe.
As we mentioned before, sunlight can be quite damaging to leather jackets. Direct exposure to heat can dry the leather out making it go brittle and cracked. Do not lay your jacket near a heating or radiator vent. Also do not iron and steam it at home. This should better be left to experts.
Leather is bound to lose some of its suppleness naturally as it loses moisture when exposed to the elements. But using a good conditioner can slow down the process. Conditioners can really prolong a leather jacket’s life.
Unless you have professional experience, never try to clean a leather jacket at home. Some of the manufacturer labels might say that you can put it through a washing machine. But any small mistake can cause serious harm to it. So, do not experiment with washing unless you are prepared to take that risk.
It is a very bad idea to place a sticky name tag or such on leather, especially suede. When you want to get it off, it is most likely that the fabric will peel off with it. Or even worse, it can leave an adhesive mark behind.
Despite following the above tips and keeping your jacket in great condition, professional cleaning is a must at some point. The number of times you get it washed depends on how often it is worn. The ideal number of times though is getting it washed once in six months.
Professional cleaners are needed because they are aware of what type of cleaning should be used on your jacket. Whether it is going to go through dry or wet cleaning, depends on the leather type, color, and style. Moreover, they also take into consideration if there are any stains on the fabric.
If your jacket is looking a bit worn out, lost some color, and developed cracks, professional cleaners are a big help. They are able to repair any damages and restore their entire look. This can make your investment in them worthwhile. A trip to cleaners will make your jacket look as good as new. The better condition you keep it in, the more wear you will be able to get out of it.
The cleaners will be an option when your jacket is in need of proper cleaning or restoration. However, you will still need to keep it carefully maintained at home before that time comes. Hence there are some more tips specifically focused on possible types of damage or different leather.
Lambskin is a good choice when it comes to buying a leather jacket. There are other types of hides, but this is favored more because of its durability. The best thing about lambskin jackets is they will get even better over time. No matter the number of times they are worn. But that is not possible without proper care. Like human skin, it needs to be protected from scratches, heat, salt, and other damaging elements.
When your jacket starts to get a bit dusty or slightly rustic, it needs some brushing up. This should only be done with a special soft brush that is easily available for leather cleaning. There are different types so go through them carefully to select a suitable one for your jacket. If you are a constant traveler then carry the brush with you to spruce up your jacket when needed.
Cleaning your custom jacket with a small dry cloth is also a good option. Use it to dust off any gathered lint on the hide. It is best to not mix in any water or conditioner while dusting it. Do not worry if there are any mud stains on it. These can also be cleaned off with a dry cloth.
It is quite easy to stain a leather jacket. Especially cowhides or lambskin can absorb anything pretty easily. If you accidentally get a coffee stain or some scratches on it while on the road, washing is not the solution. Conditioners are your first option in a case like that. Make sure that you select one that is meant for cleaning leather. If your jacket is colored then find the product which is specially made for that. For instance, a brown jacket needs a brown conditioner, and a red one needs the same colored conditioner, and so forth.
Cleaning sprays are another way that you can remove stains easily from your leather. To make one at home, mix some water and alcohol, and rub it on the stained areas. Use a damp cloth to do it. Do not be too rough with it. Do it gently and without extensive pressure till the spot comes off.
Even if you use your jacket very carefully, it can still get scratches when you wear it. However, there are two types of scratches. Some are minor and others are deep. We recommend that deeper ones should only be handled by professionals. But chances are, you can fix a minor one at home. There are a few things you will need for that:
Here ends our full guide on how to take care of your precious leather jacket. You are sure to continue wearing it a long time if you follow all these instructions