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Hard Wearing: How to Care for Your Leather Jacket

Take care of your second skin


A good leather jacket is like a good book – it gets better with age and the more you use it, the more you’ll love it. Nothing beats the look and fit of a jacket that’s been decently worn in and leather is especially attractive for the way it tells the story of its use by developing a patina that’s unique to you.

That said, leather can be tricky to clean and maintain. Even dry cleaners need specialist equipment and processes in order to handle most leather items and even our leather cleaning service isn’t available nationally quite yet. Your best bet is often to take care of leather jackets at home – so here are a few pointers that will help you get the most from your second skin…

Always, always air dry leather

Leather jackets offer great protection in the rain, especially if you give them an occasional treatment of waterproofing wax or spray. After the clouds are gone though, how can you make sure the soaking you’ve suffered doesn’t leave its mark on your armour?

Thankfully the answer is very straightforward – all you need to do is wipe the surface down with a dry cloth, then hang the jacket in an airy location so that it can dry slowly and naturally. Don’t, whatever you do, throw it in the tumble drier or try to spot-dry it with a hairdryer.

Clean leather with an artist’s eraser

Whether you’ve taken a tumble on your motorbike or just come back from a festival, mud and other grimy stains can be a serious issue for leather jackets. You can’t just throw them in the washing machine and sponging off with a wet cloth may not do the job, so what should you do?

Oddly the solution lies in your local art supply shop, where you’ll find a flexible putty commonly called ‘artist’s eraser’. It’s different from other forms of eraser in that it crumbles apart once it picks up dirt (or paint) from leather (or canvas). Just give your jacket a brush down afterwards.

Store leather jackets properly

Unlike most fabrics, which can be shoved in plastic bags for long periods and given a quick wash if they smell musty, leather needs to breathe if it’s to be kept in tip-top shape. Heavier items such as leather coats or motorcycle jackets can also lose their shape if not hung correctly.

To get the most from your leather jacket or coat, hang it in a wardrobe where air can circulate and it isn’t exposed to direct sunlight, which can fade the colour. Keep it on a broad hanger that fills the shoulders too – these are even available from the Laundrapp shop if you need one!

Use the right leather conditioner

It can be a hassle to maintain leather through sprays, waxes and treatments but it really does pay dividends when it comes to preserving the lustre. The only problem is finding the right one for your clothes, as not all treatments are suitable for all types of leather.

Check the care label for information about what sort of leather your coat is made of before investing in any treatments – find out if it’s suede, nubuck, aniline or pigmented leather. Choose a wax which suits the colour and type of leather then test it on hidden area – under the collar, for example.

If you’d rather leave it to the professionals then we’re happy to help! Laundrapp offers a specialist leather cleaning service in select locations across the UK, so download the app now to see what’s available in your area today!

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