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Mink oil Leather Motorcycle Jacket

How to Properly Care for a Leather Jacket

How to Properly Care for a Leather JacketA good-quality leather jacket is an expensive item of apparel out of which everyone wants to get years of wear. In order to keep a stylish leather jacket looking great and feeling comfortable, it is imperative to understand how to take proper care of it, no matter which type of leather it is. Weather conditions, natural body oils, perspiration, creams, lotions, or makeup can cause permanent damage to a leather jacket. Using a leather protector, storing the jacket correctly, and correct cleaning and conditioning of the leather all helps to ensure the leather jacket remains in optimum condition, and keeps one looking good and feeling comfortable all year round.

Leather jackets and leather care products can be purchased from most department stores, various clothing stores, and even some shoe stores. For specialty leather jackets and leather care products that usually come in the form of a cream, spray, or polish, buyers are advised to visit a specialist leather goods store. Alternatively, buyers can choose to search online for their desired leather products. eBay has a wide selection of products for sale from sellers all over the world.

Identify the Type of Leather

Before doing anything with a new leather jacket, new owners should carefully remove all purchase tags and immediately read the manufacturer's wash care label. Any good-quality leather jacket features label directions explaining how to care for the leather jacket properly. This care label is usually located on the inside lining of the jacket at the bottom of one of the side seams.

This care label tells the owner exactly which type of leather the jacket is made from, as well as which type of finish it is. There are several different types and finishes of leather, and each requires different care methods. The following table provides a list of the various finishes of leather available and a description of each.

Leather Finishes



Uses full grain leather that has been treated with the chemical, Aniline, which keeps the hide's natural grain and tones; commonly used to make brown or tan leather jackets


Very soft, supple, and durable leather; uses full grain sheep or lamb hide; very high grade, expensive leather

Uses the softer, underside of the split grain hide; similar to Nappa, but not as durable; easily stained, so needs proper protectant applied


Uses top, or full grain cattle hide, finely sanded and buffed; produces soft, velvety leather finish, similar to suede; top quality leather that is very expensive; susceptible to water stains, needs proper protector

Different types and finishes of leather are commonly used to make leather jackets, auto seats, and upholstery. They can vary greatly in price and do require different methods of care. The different types of leather available also vary in their comfort, breathability, and durability.

Apply a Leather Protector

Before wearing a leather jacket for the first time, it is important to treat it with a leather protector, similar to a Scotchgard used on leather furniture. These protectors are odorless and colorless, and usually feature a spray-on application. They protect the leather material from water, oil, and dirt stains. Leather protectors are especially useful for suede leather, which can stain easily. It may be necessary to re-apply leather protector once a year to get the ultimate look out of your jacket.

Correct Storing of the Leather Jacket

Correctly store your leather jacket when not in use to keep the jacket in top condition. After taking the jacket off, be sure to hang it up on a large shoulder-shaped hanger. It is important to use a wide shouldered coat hanger so as not to put dent marks in the shoulders. Jackets should be stored by hanging in a dry, cool wardrobe, away from direct sunlight or any other heat source. Jackets that are stored away during a summer season should use a breathable clothes storage bag. This keeps it dry, clean, and dust-free. Never store a jacket away while it is still wet or damp. The jacket should be completely dry before hanging up in the wardrobe. Mildew can cause irreparable damage to leather materials, so a jacket should always be stored in a dry wardrobe away from moisture, such as steam from a bathroom.

Cleaning the Leather Jacket

Keeping a leather jacket clean involves properly cleaning, conditioning, and drying the leather. There are various types of leather cleaners and leather conditioners available. You can buy a kit that includes the cream or polish and a brush for proper care.

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