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10 Tips: How to care for your leather jacket
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10 Tips: How to care for your leather jacket

· · · 1 comment

Photographed by Scott Brasher  // with Helen Shadskaya from Women's 360 wearing all clothing from primary new york featuring //  Lookast leather moto jacket, primary fitted tee and Blank NYC denim Short  




1. PREVENTION: WATERPROOF YOUR LEATHER JACKET - stop the damage before it begins, and let’s face it, it’s bound to rain.  So the most important step, is to protect your jacket with a waterproof sealant.  This is first and foremost thing you gotta do to protect your leather from water damage, but it has the added bonus of preventing stains.  Treat your leather when it’s brand new, and bring out that spray protector once a year, September is ideal since you’ll be bringing out all your jackets.  If you live in London, Vancouver or another city with heavy rainfall we recommend spraying or rubbing down that waterproof sealant on your jacket more often than once a season.

2. GIVE IT A WIPE DOWN - Since you’ve already waterproof protected and treated your jacket ~ you can simply spot clean with a clean, damp ( but wrung out ) cloth. ( note: this tip is for smooth leather only! See suede care below )  This will remove most dirt, grime and marks from your coat.  If this doesn’t do it you’ll need to either spot clean the coat with a leather cleaner, some home remedies or drop it off to your leather guy.  We love the leather spa in New York. 

3. SOOTHE YOUR LEATHER WITH A CONDITIONER - finish your care or freshen up your coat before the fall season by applying a leather conditioner.  It addition to keeping leather soft and supple, you’ll prevent drying and cracking which will happen over the years.  Before applying any product to your leather, do a spot test - somewhere not critical like under the arm - to make sure the brand of conditioner doesn’t remove any dye from the leather, or change the tone of your lighter leathers.

4. CAUGHT IN THE RAIN? WATER STAINS - Whatever you do, don’t throw your jacket in the dryer or try and spot dry with a hair-dryer.  Leather is a natural skin and direct heat will do more damage than water.  Just hang it up somewhere airy and let nature dry it out.



Some stains might not budge with a commercial leather cleaner.  Here’s some stuff you’ll have at home that should work:

5. USE ALCOHOL FOR INK - Nothing is more sad than dropping that felt-tip black pen on your brand new nude leather jacket - but there’s a cheap and easy fix.  Grab some rubbing ( Isopropyl ) alcohol or a non-acetone nail polish remover and lightly dab with a Q-tip.  This is a great fix for smooth leather, but this trick cannot be used on suede.  

6. USE VINEGAR & WATER FOR ROAD SALT - For the real bikers out there, get road salt stains off your leather with by dipping a clean cloth in equal parts of white vinegar and water.



7. BRUSH IT OUT - Natural suede leather is created from the soft underside of a split grain animal hide.  It’s beautiful soft, nappy finish will naturally darken with oils and this is part of it’s beauty. To remove embedded dirt and keep the nape fully, go for a suede brush.  Heavy stains? You’ll have to leave that to a professional leather cleaner. And suede stains easily. So make sure you protect your new suede baby right away, we like this suede and nubuck protector. Your dry-cleaner might able to handle this but usually they will send out to a leather professional - I find my shoe repair guys are the best bet with anything leather. ( and have had them dye a pair of nude suede Manolos black after I ruined them at a muddy wedding - it was like getting new shoes back ) 


8. FREEZE TO FRESHEN UP -  Has your leather had too many late nights? If it’s still smelling like last weekends bar, throw your leather in a plastic bag and pop it in the freezer overnight and you’ll awake to find those odors of the past.

9. STORE IT SOMEWHERE DRY AND COOL - Your closet is probably the best bet.  If your keeping it hanging for awhile invest in some wide wood or padded coat hangers to help keep the shoulders on point and aid in avoiding wrinkles.  If your using a garment bag, make sure it’s not plastic, nylon is fine ~ anything that’s breathable really.  Cool, dry and breathable are the essentials; humidity and trapping moisture will cause mold and mildew - the arch enemies of any natural skin.  

10. LEAVE IT TO A PRO - While you can freeze to freshen up and spot clean throughout the season we recommend that just once a year, you pay a professional to clean, protect and condition your leather jacket.  You paid good money for that jacket! And you know it’s not going out of style, so give it some love.  In New York, we trust the leather spa.