Geer: How to Clean a Motorcycling Leather Jacket and Other Gear24 April 2019
When speaking about motorcycling, one should not forget to mention the gear that indispensably comes along. Jacket, throusers, boots, gloves… Most of it usually comes in thick leather, which is a material that can be tricky to maintain if not cared for correctly. The versatility and durability a leather jacket offers makes it a priced possession of many people using it. Leather is a natural material, which means it’s built to last. But nothing is a given, and so is the lifespan of a leather jacket. If you don’t take good care, the jacket may cease to be usable only after a year or two of using it. If you want your jacket and other leather gear to be your lifelong companion or come good for as long as possible, here are a few tips to help you learning how to care for it correctly.
Important aspects of everyday leather jacket cleaning comprise:
• Removal of dirt, dust and make-up
• Wiping down the exterior
• Washing the interior
• Drying the jacket properly when it’s wet
To remove dirt that’s accumulated in your jacket’s cuffs and collar, use light soapy water. Let the water be mild and dab it on the dirty regions of the jacket with a foam block or light sponge and wipe the spots clean gently. Be mindful of not soaking the leather completely and use a dry cloth to wipe it in the end.
The leather jacket’s exterior can be wiped down every week, two weeks or a month with a damp cloth, if you wear the jacket daily. This shall eliminate the dirt or dust build-up on the jacket. Make sure the jacket doesn’t get too wet while you wipe it down, and let it dry naturally. If the jacket looks beat up due to the incessant wiping, use some wax, spray or polish after the washing to restore the shine.
Cleaning the jacket’s insides can be a bit tricky, until you turn it inside out and let it hang from a hanger. You may use the same soft sponge and soapy water to clean the important areas gently, such as under the arms and the cuffs. After the cleaning, let the jacket dry naturally. This cleaning process shouldn’t take too long and can be done regularly.
Cleaning the Jacket in a Washing Machine
Cleaning a leather jacket in a washing machine is not that easy, but if you insist on using the machine, then you should be quite particular about how you go about getting things done.
Before putting the jacket inside the machine, make sure you wipe down the exposed parts of the jacket thoroughly. Pre-cleaning or removing as much debris and surface dust as possible is important.
After wiping down the jacket, ensure all zippers are closed and buttons fastened. Fastening the zippers and buttons helps mitigate possible fabric and leather damage.
Turn the leather jacket inside out after you are done with all the wiping and fastening. Doing this would help safeguard the leather and protect it from getting abused by the paddles in the washer.
For cleaning, put the jacket in a large mesh laundry bag. The mesh structure would offer protection to the leather and let the detergent and water pass through the bag for thorough cleaning.
Also, pre-test your jacket by mildly giving its zippers, seams and buttons a tug prior to putting it inside the bag. If you are using a soap for the first time, test it against the hidden-away spots of your jacket to confirm the colours aren’t bleeding. If the colour shade changes, using that specific soap could lead to an undesirable outcome.
If the soap has no adverse outcome on your jacket and you go ahead with putting it inside the washing machine, make sure you wash the jacket in isolation. In other words, don’t put any other clothing item in the washer when the jacket is to be washed. If you use soap specifically designed to clean leather, it may sabotage other articles in the machine.
When machine-washing your jacket, use cold water and go with the lighter washing settings. The ideal settings are gentle or delicate wash, small wash load, and cold temperature.
The jacket should be in the machine for the least possible time. Also, it is recommended you do not ‘spin cycle’ the jacket for drying. Leather absorbs water easily and letting it stay in the machine for long would mean increased drying time.
Drying the Jacket
Look for space to hang your jacket up so that it could dry itself naturally. The jacket should not come in direct contact with sunlight or be let to hang in an area that’s excessively warm. Exposure to warmth during the drying phase could cause the jacket to shrink and lose integrity.
A well-ventilated space with ample amounts of shade would be ideal. If you have a guest or spare bathroom, put it to use. If you don’t have an extra bathroom, use your garage or some other space in your house where you could afford to hang the jacket. Just make sure the jacket isn’t exposed to the sun or heat.
After the jacket has been dried, put some leather conditioner on it. You may also use saddle soap, provided it’s made specifically for leather. Working the conditioner into the leather jacket can be time-consuming, but it’s important to keep the shape of the leather intact.
Cleaning a leather jacket is not like cleaning any other item of clothing. It could be time-consuming and warrant great attention to detail. However, once you have invested necessary time and energy into learning the right way to clean the jacket, things should be quite straightforward thereafter.