A good leather jacket is an equally good chunk of change, and taking proper care of it is just plain common sense. Whether you have a brand new coat or want to start taking care of an old one, you can find out how to care for your leather jacket right here.
Proper storage is one of the first steps you can take to make sure that your jacket will last a lifetime. Most people know to keep leather away from moisture, which causes mildew, but it is equally important to keep it from becoming too dry because cracking can occur. The ideal spot for your leather jacket is in a spot that is out of direct sunlight, devoid of moisture and away from a heat source. Leather has to breathe, so never store it in plastic or other nonporous materials or packaging. When hanging leather, be sure that it is on a sturdy, supportive hanger, which will prevent stretching and sagging and should otherwise aid it in holding the proper shape.
Good maintenance will also extend the life of your leather jacket. Treat new leather with a conditioner that is specifically made for leather, and you've already taken a big step towards protecting your jacket. For best results, retreat annually. Be sure to avoid waxes or other products that will not allow the leather to breathe - they can have the same damaging effects as leaving your jacket in a plastic bag. It is also a good idea to avoid using chemicals, such as cologne or hairspray, which can damage the coat. Pay particular attention to areas such as the cuffs and the neck. Because they are in constant contact with body dirt and oils, they may need extra maintenance. Finally, allow wet leather to dry naturally, out of direct sunlight and away from any heat sources.
Properly conditioned leather should be naturally stain repellent, but even with the most diligent of care, stains happen. All stains should be treated quickly, as they are fast-setting and will likely be permanent within hours. When cleaning leather, always use a lint-free or microfiber cloth and clean in the direction of the lie - or natural grain - of the leather, working from the center out. For well-treated leather, simply wiping with a lint free cloth will remove most stains.
If you have stubborn stains, you'll need to treat each one differently. Before attacking those trouble spots, always test a small, inconspicuous area to avoid causing further damage; check out these great tips from looksharpleather.com for problem-specific solutions.
1. SOIL: Use leather soap or a mild detergent to remove dirt, then blot with cold water on a clean cloth.
2. GREASE: Blot excess grease with a clean cloth, then sprinkle the stain with cornstarch or talcum powder. Wait four hours before wiping clean.
3. MILDEW: Mix 1 cup of rubbing alcohol with 1 cup of water. Wipe mildew with solution, blot with a clean cloth and dry.
4. BLOOD OR URINE: Blot with a clean, damp cloth. Allow to dry.
5. GUM: Harden the gum by applying an ice pack. Remove the hardened gum by chipping it off. For any residue, heat with a hair dryer and remove with a clean cloth.
6. SALT: Create a mixture of 3 parts vinegar to 1 part water and apply with a clean cloth.
7. INK: Spray with hairspray and wipe clean. Ink is very difficult to remove, so it may be time to call in a professional.
8. DISCOLORATION: Use a spray designed for leather color restoration, following package directions.
Sometimes, despite your best efforts, the stain will persist. If this happens, do not hesitate to have your leather professionally cleaned. It will be well worth it for protecting the look and feel of your investment for years to come.