There’s no denying the fact that leather jackets offer a superior level of style, comfort and durability compared to other forms of outerwear. Whether you choose a traditional bomber-style leather jacket or a more modern style, you can rest assured knowing that it will offer countless years of use and enjoyment. To take full advantage of your leather jacket, however, you’ll need to keep it clean.
Some people assume that the only way to clean a leather jacket is to run or blot it with a damp washcloth and soap mild soap. While effective, there are other ways to clean a leather jacket. If your leather jacket is only slightly dirty with a small amount of superficial dust or debris on the surface, for example, you can clean it with a brush. Brushing a leather jacket is a quick and easy way to revitalize its appearance — and it only requires a brush. However, there’s a right way and a wrong way to brush a leather jacket. For instructions on how to brush your leather jacket the right way, keep reading.
Choose a Soft-Bristled Brush
You shouldn’t clean your leather jacket with just any brush. If the bristles are too hard or stiff, it could scratch your jacket, leaving permanent marks behind. To prevent this from happening, choose a soft-bristled brush. Soft-bristled brushes, of course, are softer, so they are less likely to scratch your leather jacket.
When choosing a soft-bristled brush, rub it against your hand to see how it feels. If it stings, it’s probably too stiff, in which case you should choose a softer brush. There are brushes designed specifically for leather, which usually feature very soft bristles. Even a standard hairbrush, however, can work to clean a leather jacket if it has soft bristles.
Ensure Your Jacket Is Clean Before Brushing
Before brushing your leather jacket, make sure it’s clean and doesn’t contain any stains or set-in dirt. Brushing a dirty jacket isn’t recommended for several reasons. First, it could cause more harm than good by digging the dirt — or stain — deeper into the leather fabric. Second, brushing won’t eliminate stains, so they’ll remain visible after you are finished brushing your leather jacket.
If you’re going to brush your leather jacket, make sure it’s clean. And if you discover a stain or set-in dirt, consider using a warm washcloth to clean your jacket. Gently blotting your jacket with a warm washcloth should remove most superficial stains and set-in dirt, even if you don’t use soap or detergent with it.
Check the Care Label
It’s a good idea to check the care label on your leather jacket before brushing it. Most leather jackets feature a tag with instructions by the manufacturer on how to clean and maintain them. Known as a care label, you can usually find it inside the collar of your leather jacket.
Place Your Leather Jacket on a Flat Surface
When you’re ready to brush your leather jacket, lay it on a flat and even surface. Whether it’s your kitchen table, living room coffee table, an ironing board or the bed, you’ll have an easier time brushing your leather jacket if it’s laid out flat. Some people attempt to brush their leather jacket while it’s hanging on a clothes hanger, only to discover that this isn’t feasible. When draped from a clothes hanger, there’s nothing to support your leather jacket, so you won’t be able to easily brush it.
Start From the Top and Work Your Way to the Bottom
After laying out your leather jacket on a flat and even surface, you can begin to brush it. Start by working your way from the top of your jacket to the bottom. Gently press the brush around the top of your leather jacket and push it towards the bottom. It’s recommended that you make slow, steady strokes to remove any dirt, dust or debris.
When you are finished brushing the front of your leather jacket, flip it over to brush the back. Again, start from the top and work your way to the bottom. You don’t have to use any special soap or cleaning product. Just a clean, soft-bristled brush will suffice.
Brushing on the Go: What You Should Know
If you wear your leather jacket on a regular basis — at least twice a week — consider investing in a pocket-sized brush. It will take a little longer to clean your jacket using a smaller brush, but the small size will allow you to carry it with you wherever you go. You can place it in the glove compartment of your car, your office desk or even your pocket. And if you discover that your leather jacket is dirty, you can use the pocket-sized brush to clean it.
No Brush? No Problem!
If you don’t have a brush — and can’t easily find one — don’t panic, because there are other ways to clean a leather jacket. You can use a micro-fiber cloth, for example, to clean your jacket. Micro-fiber cloths are made of fine, gentle fabrics that are safe to use on leather.
To clean your leather jacket using a micro-fiber cloth, press the cloth against the surface of your jacket and gently rub it. It’s not as effective as using a brush, but it’s still a viable alternative if you don’t own or otherwise have access to a brush.
Don’t Forget to Condition
Brushing is only one step to maintaining a leather jacket. Assuming your jacket is made of real, genuine leather and not fake or faux leather, you’ll also need to condition it. Conditioning is another name for hydrating or moisturizing leather so that it doesn’t dry out. There are a variety of conditioning products made specifically for leather jackets and garments, including saddle soap. While they often contain different ingredients, the steps to using them is pretty much the same: You rub the conditioner into the surface of your leather jacket, resulting in a shinier and darker tone.