A high-quality leather jacket is a classic and versatile wardrobe staple. A real leather jacket is also usually quite the investment, but it can last a long time if taken care of properly.
While there are a lot of opinions on the best treatment for leather jackets, we want to tell you the most efficient way. You will avoid damage and prolong the life of your leather jacket by learning the right way to clean, treat, and store it. We ask you to trust us on this one—we’ve been in the dry cleaning and clothing laundering business for over 50 years.
Cleaning Leather: Don’t Make These Mistakes!
- Never use household cleaners or soap, even for treating a spot stain.
- Leather is porous and the high PH of soap and other cleaning agents can damage the leather’s structure. Because a leather jacket is a piece of clothing that flexes, ensuring the integrity of the leather is crucial if you want it to last. If you’re using soap, even if it’s diluted, you’re more likely to get visible damage and eventually cracks.
- Be careful with “Leather Treatment” products. There are different kinds of leather, and they are used for different purposes. For instance, perhaps you work with horses and want to get some extra use out of that “saddle soap” you use to clean your leather saddles. Unfortunately, this product also has a higher PH and contains a lot of oil. If you attempt to shine your dirty jacket with this solution, its high-oil content will coat the leather pores, resulting in trapping the dirt. Since high-oil cleaners are slightly alkaline, you also run the risk of long-term damage to the surface.
- Learn the difference between Leather Cleaners and Leather Conditioners. Periodically using a leather conditioning agent will help the jacket age well and avoid cracking. However, you should not apply a conditioning treatment to dirty leather or use a conditioning agent to clean leather. Conditioning agents are higher in oil, and you’ll have a similar outcome as the “saddle soap” mistake. Use a dedicated leather cleaner first, then condition it.
- Don’t put off Cleaning Leather! Even if you have the right leather cleaner, you still need to be aware of timing of your cleaning. If you get dirt, mud, grease, etc on your leather jacket, remove it immediately. If you wait, the dirt or grease will settle into the pores, which both damages the leather and makes cleaning it more difficult.
WHAT TO DO IF YOUR LEATHER JACKET GETS WET OR MUDDY
Did you get caught in a rainstorm? Don't panic, but DO start the drying process as soon as possible. Follow these steps for the best outcome:
Use a clean towel to dab as much water off as you can. Take care to be gentle; otherwise you may end up pressing the water deeper into the leather. Never attempt to use a hair dryer, as this will shrink and damage the leather.
If the jacket was really soaked, place it on a towel on a flat surface. Next, stuff the interior with absorbent material like paper bags, newspaper, or paper-based packing materials. This will help the leather dry from both the inside and outside decreasing the chance of it being ruined.
Hang the jacket in a cool, dark place that has good air circulation. Consider a coat rack/hook if it’s far enough away from windows to avoid UV damage. The top of an open door works as well.
Turn and rotate the coat as it dries to avoid stiffening the material.
Once the leather has dried, it’s time to clean and condition it as discussed above. When leather gets wet, the drying process removes the oils that protect its surface. This causes damage and can lead to thin spots or cracks. This is why you must condition the leather as soon as possible. Make sure the leather is completely dry, however, or you may seal the water in, which can cause serious damage to the interior.
If your leather jacket is not only wet but very dirty, it may be best to take it to a dry cleaner.
Do You Need Dry Cleaning Services?
Whether it's leather shoes, jackets, lace dresses, or your weekly office wear, Red Hanger has been serving the Wasatch Front for over 50 years.
We provide free scheduled pickup and delivery at your home or office which saves you time and is wonderfully convenient for your fast-paced lifestyle. We also offer laundry service and monthly specials!
With over 23 locations throughout Northern Utah, we would love the chance to earn your business. Contact us now to schedule our services.