A Guide to Caring For and Maintaining your Leather Jacket
You have either bought a fantastic new leather jacket or you have a leather jacket and have been wondering on how you can look after it. Hopefully our handy guide will help and answer all of the questions you may have, whether that is ‘How do I clean my leather jacket’ or ‘How do I repair my leather jacket’. To go directly to what you are looking for see our ‘FAQ’s which will direct you to where you need to be.
Alternatively Click on a category below to find out more.
How to clean and care for your leather jacket
Removing stains and marks from your leather jacket
It is such a shame when you spill something on your leather jacket and you think you have ruined it. Fear not, Click here for lots of ways to try and remove marks, dirt and stains.
How to repair and restore your leather jacket
Unfortunately a Leather Jacket is not indestructible so if you have torn or scratched yours Click Here to see if it can be repaired or improved.
Where to store and keep your Leather Jacket
When you are not wearing your beloved Leather Jacket where should you keep it? Click Here for advice and further information.
How to clean and care for your leather jacket:
Your leather jacket will be one of the most comfortable and durable items in your wardrobe and most likely an investment piece that you want to be able to wear for many years to come. This is why it is so important to look after and care for the leather to make sure it looks and feels as amazing as it did when you first put it on.
There are numerous specialist leather jacket dry cleaners where you can send your jacket to be thoroughly and professionally cleaned, which is recommended if your leather jacket is extremely well worn and in need of some TLC. This can be done as often as you wish but once a year should be fine. However we have lots of tips for you to be able to clean your leather jacket at home to remove the gradual build-up of dirt and grime which will accumulate from daily wear. You can have your leather jacket looking as good as new with our simple and easy to do ideas; as long as you are careful and always test on a discreet area first you should be fine.
Removing dirt, make-up, dust etc from your leather jacket:
The most common places for dirt to build-up on your leather jacket are on the collar and cuffs. There is a simple way to remove this, light soapy water. It really is that easy. Use mild soapy water and a soft sponge or foam block to combat the area you wish to clean. Gently wipe and dab the area, being careful not to oversoak, and then wipe with a dry cloth. Leave to dry naturally and away from artificial heat and your jacket should look much better.
Cleaning your leather jacket or coat on the outside:
If you like most people wear your leather jacket daily then you can wipe down the garment with a damp cloth weekly, fortnightly or monthly. This will remove any build-up of dust or dirt and if you do nothing else then this is a good habit to get into. Don’t oversoak and leave to dry naturally away from any artificial heat. If you wish you can then use a spray, wax or polish to add a little shine back to your jacket. Sprays for leather upholstery are good for this or even normal (unscented) Pledge will work.
Cleaning your leather jacket or coat on the inside:
One area you may wish you could clean the most is the lining as this is what has the most contact with you. You can’t put the jacket in the washing machine like you would a normal item of clothing but you can do something. Firstly turn the jacket inside out and place on a sturdy hanger. You can use a soft sponge and light soapy water to lightly clean the areas that need it most, usually the cuffs and under the arms. You then can leave to dry which airs out the rest of the garment. If you think there are some lingering odours then a spray of Febreze will sort these out.
Treating your Leather Jacket
We often get asked what products do I need to treat the leather jacket with. The simple answer really is that you shouldn’t and don’t have to put anything onto your leather jacket. You can wear it from the day you buy it and this will be fine. There are however many different products you can buy that can add a little waterproofing or soften to a jacket if you want to. You can find products at a good shoe shop or we have found that the brand Punch has a wide range of products you can try. We would recommend buying a spray or wax as you will achieve a more even coverage, cream can be difficult to apply evenly. A couple of wax products that may help are ‘Duckswax‘ and ‘Nikwax’.
Conditioning / Softening Your Leather Jacket
Conditioning a leather jacket was once considered a must to ensure the leather kept its suppleness and didn’t dry out and eventually crack. This is now a job that you shouldn’t need to do as it isn’t really required. Advances and new developments in the tanning process of the leather mean that this issue no longer arises. Your jacket after hours of wear will become more comfortable, soft and supple and better with age. You may wish to instead bring the jacket back to a ‘like new’ state in which you can clean the leather and treat with a spray to add a little shine back. See our ’Cleaning your leather jacket or coat section? for how to do this.
If you do wish to treat the leather with a conditioner do this after you have cleaned the jacket and let the jacket completely dry. Then follow the manufactures instructions on how and when to use the conditioner.
Do not worry if you have been caught out in typical British weather, a sudden light shower or downpour will catch anybody out eventually.
If your leather jacket becomes damp after being out in a light shower leave it to dry naturally away from direct heat. Some leathers rain spot but these should dry out.
If your jacket is extremely wet leave it to dry naturally away from any source of heat. When soaked some colour migration can occur and the leather can become a little stiff. If this happens and the jacket appears a little dull after drying you can use a wax or spray conditioner to help improve the appearance of the leather.
On the high-street, you may find a limited range of products specifically for leather jackets. You can actually use most products that are for leather shoes, handbags or even upholstery on your leather jacket. Everyday Pledge (unscented) or something similar is fine to use and should help.
If you wish to now try and add a little waterproofing to your jacket see our ‘Treating your leather jacket’ section.
As with any item of clothing the longer you leave a stain the harder, it will be to remove it. It may be that the best thing to do is to pay a professional dry cleaner to tackle the area; this doesn’t, however, guarantee that they will be able to remove the stain either. There are many at home remedies that can be found online which you can of course try but you may find that you remove the colour of the jacket along with the stain.
Liquid Stain on your leather jacket:
What we recommend is to try and clean your jacket as soon as you spill something on it. What you are most likely to have to hand when you spill something on your jacket is light soapy water and a soft sponge or cloth. Blot the area gently with the damp cloth then with a dry cloth blot again to try and soak up the water and the stain. This should hopefully remove the majority of what you have got onto your jacket and when it is dry you can try and tackle what is left behind. If you left with a stain you can try and clean with soapy water again to see if this continues to improve the mark. If this does not work there are various products available online you can try to tackle the stained area. Always follow the manufactures instructions and test on a small discreet area first.
Grease Stain on your leather jacket:
We have tried and tested many different products and at home remedies over the years and one of the best products we have found that helps remove a grease stain from leather is a product called ‘Fullers Earth’. Again we would recommend testing the product on a discreet area first and follow the manufactures guidelines for use.
Ink/Pen/Biro Stain on your leather jacket:
Unfortunately if you notice an Ink stain on your jacket chances are it will already be dry. This will make removing the stain very difficult, but not impossible. If you are successful in removing the Ink stain you may also have removed some of the colour of the jacket also. To fix this you can try a colour restorer but always follow the instructions carefully.
There are various products available to help remove an ink stain from your beloved leather jacket and some at home remedies that might work and some that we would not recommend. Online there are many recommendations to use hairspray or nail varnish remover on an ink stain. You are more likely to loosen and spread the ink using this method than actually removing the ink. One product available online which could help is a leather ink remover kit follow the instructions carefully and test on a small inconspicuous area first.
Mould on your leather jacket:
Keeping or storing your leather jacket in the right conditions will prevent any mould from appearing on your leather jacket, see our how to store your leather jacket section for further information.
If you have unfortunately noticed that mould has started to appear on your leather jacket you should be able to clean and hopefully remove this at home. Firstly try and do the job outside, then start by scraping as much of the mould off as possible without damaging the leather. After this has been done simply clean the area with light soapy water and a cloth, gently clean the area from the outside moving inwards. Wipe clean with a dry cloth and leave to dry naturally.
Once dry you can then treat the area with a leather conditioner spray or polish to add a little shine back into the jacket. If you do this test the product on a discreet area first and follow the instructions carefully.
Leather is unfortunately not indestructible so if you do catch yours and tear it or scratch it do not worry, you will most likely be able to find a way to repair it. It will not look like it once did and there will most likely be a visible repair but this will probably only be noticeable by you and it could add character to your old favourite.
The first thing you can do if you damage your jacket is see if there is a local seamstress or clothing repair shop that would be able to fix it for you. They will have more experience and it will most likely be a more cost effective way of having it repaired, and the end result probably better. If you can’t locate anybody local we at Hidepark Leather can carry out most repairs on our jackets, simply call our office to discuss.
Tears and Rips on your Leather Jacket:
If you have torn or ripped the jacket you may be able to repair this with a leather patch which can either be sewn or glued to the outside or inside of the jacket depending on what you feel is best/easiest. Ways of doing this can be found online very easily and products to help you. Always read the manufactures instructions carefully for anything you use.
Scratches on your Leather Jacket:
Most minor scratches can be made less visible by applying a conditioner to the area with a soft cloth. The brand ‘Punch’ have a wide range of products you can try. We would recommend cleaning the area and allowing it to dry before putting anything on your jacket and always following the instructions of the product carefully and test on a small out of sight area first.
For larger scratches there are various products available that can help to improve the appearance of your jacket. Most of these involve applying leather filler which may be fiddly but if you are patient the results can be worth it, again always follow the manufactures guidelines carefully and test on inconspicuous areas first.
Faded Leather Jacket:
Another issue you may have with your leather jacket is that over time it may have faded either all over or just in small areas, this usually happens due to exposure with sunlight. Something as silly as leaving the jacket in the back of the car will easily over time damage the colour of your favourite jacket.
If your jacket looks like it is in need of a little colour and life adding back into it you can try and do this at home. First follow our guide to cleaning your leather jacket. This is important as it may be something as easy as this which will have the jacket looking as good as new. If it still lacks the colour that you require there are various products you can buy online which can do this for you. We would recommend a spray rather than cream as you will achieve a more even coverage.
We completely understand that your leather jacket may not be something you wear every day of the year. When not in use the best place to keep your jacket is in your wardrobe or cloak room on a sturdy wide padded hanger. This is because it wants to be somewhere that is a normal room temperature and away from direct sunlight to prevent fading and mildew. A sturdy wide hanger is best as the jacket should then hold its shape on the shoulders which ensures that it keeps its shape.
If you wish you can place the jacket in a garment bag to add a little protection if you are not wearing it during the warmer months. We would recommend choosing a bag that is ‘breathable’ or you can make you own using a pillow case and putting a small hole for the hanger to go through, either way air should be able to pass through it.
If you get caught out in the rain allow the coat to dry fully, away from artificial heat, before putting it away. (For further information on what to do if your coat gets wet see our ‘What to do if my leather jacket gets wet section.) You don’t want to return to the jacket after not wearing it for a while and there be a build-up of mould on the leather. If this does happen see how to remove this in our ‘Removing Stains section of the guide.