Clean white Leather Motorcycle Jacket
Given that we’re in the business of selling motorcycle leathers, you might be forgiven for thinking that we’d be pleased for you to keep wearing them out and coming back for more. Maybe we should be, but we’re not! That’s why this article is all about how to keep your leathers in good condition – cleaning and conditioning them to ensure that they always look and perform in a tip-top manner.
“If you don’t give your leathers some care, they’ll eventually end up cracked, ugly, and useless.”
Motorbike leathers have a hard life. Even if you never have to use their protective goodness in anger, they’re still going to be subjected to strong winds, bugs, rain, micrometeorites and the scorching sun (sometimes). Given that leather is a natural material just like your skin, all this punishment will eventually take its toll – and if you don’t give your leathers some care, they’ll eventually end up cracked, ugly, and useless. Just like your skin, you need to properly clean and moisturise your leathers (you do moisturize your skin, right?), and the best things to do this with are specialized leather cleaners and conditioners.
Cleaning your leathers
So, your leathers are dirty and smelly, and you’ve come here to learn the dark art of cleaning them. No problem. First let’s sort out that funky aroma. Some will recommend treating your leathers with all manner of chemicals, but to be honest, there’s usually no telling how good this is for the leather itself, and the chemicals can often leave an aroma that smells as bad as the funk did in the first place! Instead, we recommend turning your leathers inside out and leaving them to hang somewhere well-ventilated – with somewhere in the great outdoors being the ideal scenario.
How often you should clean your leathers really depends on how much riding you do – and of what type. The short answer is that you should do it before they start to dry out and crack – which will vary. If you get them soaking wet in the rain for instance, you probably want to give them a bit of love sooner rather than later – because the rainwater will dry them out and wash away valuable natural oils.
“Do not be tempted to put your leathers through the washer – because no matter what some randomer on an internet forum might say, it’s not ok.”
Do not be tempted to put your leathers through the washer – because no matter what some randomer on an internet forum might say, it’s not ok. Motorcycle leathers are treated with natural oils to keep them supple, and putting them in the washing machine will strip this away very effectively. Just don’t do it.
Once you’ve given them a damn good airing out, it’s time to clean your leathers. Turn them back the right way out, grab some motorcycle leather cleaner (one of our personal favourites is Nikwax Leather Cleaner), and something to apply it with. Cotton terry towels are perfect for this – because they’re nice and soft, so won’t muller the surface of your expensive leathers.
Apply the leather cleaner gently in small circular movements – taking care to rinse your cloth before it gets too dirty. This will help to avoid the possibility of you simply grinding more dirt into your expensive leathers. This is also one of those situations where it pays to read the specific instructions on the bottle – and actually follow them! Come on guys, there’s no shame in it!
Drying your leathers
Drying your motorcycle leathers might seem like an unimportant step, but it most certainly isn’t! You may have just spent half an hour cleaning your Alpinestars leather suit, but that doesn’t mean you can just skip to the conditioning step! If you do that, you run a major risk of locking water into the suit – which is bad bad news.
For this reason, you need to ensure that your leathers are 100% dry before you go to the next step. We seem to be telling you an awful lot of things that you should never do, but well … they’re true! Another one is that you should never ever use artificial heat to dry your leathers – because this is almost guaranteed to dry them out too quickly and they’ll end up cracking. Just be patient, hang them somewhere well ventilated (preferably outside) and wait until they are dry. If you’re struggling to find something suitable to hang your leathers on, then check out the Trik Moto Helmet and Suit Tidy – which features sturdy hooks for your gear and a specially-designed helmet storage device. Whilst your leathers are drying, pop your terry cloth from earlier in the wash – because you’re probably going to be using it again soon!