Buying a leather motorcycle jacket is a big investment in your safety, and you want to make sure that it lasts a lifetime, or as close to that as possible. The easiest way to do that is with proper maintenance, just like the engine of your motorcycle, and all you really need to do for that is keep it clean. Dirt particles that can get into leather can cause serious abrasion from the inside out. For everyday riding a simple spot clean now and then to get rid of all of those bug guts is all that’s needed. That can easily be done with baby wipes or even just a damp cloth.
However, once or twice a year you should give your leather the full treatment with a deep clean. Think of it as a day at the spa for your jacket, bringing it back to life, and making it look young again.
First you want to make sure you are using products made specifically for this purpose. Regular soaps and cleansers can remove the natural oils in the leather used to preserve the material, and cause it to dry out, crack, and begin to deteriorate. There are plenty of different products out there specific to leather maintenance, but there are a couple of lines we can recommend to get you started. The first is a line of products specific to motorcycle leathers, and made here in Southern California, Anthony’s Leather works:
Alternatively, another quality line of products made in the USA for all types of leather is Leather Honey:
Both of these product lines are also available on Amazon.
To deep clean you leather jacket we suggest you start inside out. The lining of your jacket can be exposed to a fair amount of perspiration depending on the amount of riding you do, and the temperature you are riding through. Sweat can leave salt stains and turn to mold which can cause odor. To mask mild odors you can give your lining an even spray of Febreze, but if there are tougher odors to get rid of we recommend using a good de-salter such as the one sold by Anthony’s Leatherworks:
https://anthonysleatherworks.com/shop/ols/products/de-salter. Application is easily, just turn your jacket inside out, spray evenly, and hang to dry. You can also use this product on the exterior of your jacket if it is showing salt stains from riding in the winter on salted roads.
Once your jacket lining is dry it’s time to start on the outside. As mentioned previously, use a cleaner that won’t damage your leather. Stay away from silicones, waxes or animal bi products that can cause discoloration. Once you have picked a quality leather cleaner, apply it to a soft cotton terry cloth rag and wipe onto your jacket in a circular motion starting with the body and then working your way down the sleeves and back of the jacket. If your rag is getting grimy from excess dirt you can use some warm water to rinse it out and reapply the cleaner to continue the job. No matter what cleaner you use be sure to check the instructions given on the bottle or packaging for any extra care that is needed with your chosen product. Once you have thoroughly cleaned the outside surface of your leather jacket leave it to dry in a well-ventilated area before moving onto the final phase.
Now that your jacket is clean it needs to be properly conditioned to give it back its necessary essential oils, just like putting on your favorite lotion after a nice bath. Be sure not to over condition as this can clog pores and discoloration. Again, follow the instructions on your chosen leather conditioner’s packaging. Apply the conditioner to a damp sponge and work your way over the surface of the leather in a circular movement, making sure to cover it evenly, then set it aside to dry.
You’re done! Do this a couple times a year, and you will bring out the best in your favorite riding jacket leaving it looking good and lasting longer.