Leather jackets are one of the most versatile forms of outerwear in the world. Characterized by a leather construction, you can wear them year-round. Whether it’s spring, summer, fall or winter, a leather jacket will keep you comfortable while ensuring a stylish and attractive appearance in the process.
Because they are made of leather, however, leather jackets require a little extra attention than coats and jackets made of other materials. Failure to store your leather jacket in the right area could lead to premature wear and tear. When this occurs, you may be forced to replace your leather jacket. The good news is you can make your leather jacket last years or even decades by properly maintaining it. So, what’s the best way to store a leather jacket?
Clean it with soap and water
Before storing your leather jacket, you should clean it with soap and water. Contrary to what some people believe, you don’t have to use any special soap or detergent to clean a leather jacket. Rather, mild dish soap and warm water will suffice.
If you’re planning to store your leather jacket for several months or longer, go ahead and clean it using soap and water. Start by filling a medium-sized bowl with lukewarm water and gentle dish soap. Next, submerge a washcloth inside and then ring out the excess water. Using this damp and soapy washcloth, wipe down the surface of your leather jacket. When finished, hang your leather jacket in an open area — either inside or outside your home — so that it can dry.
Hang it on a clothes hanger
Regardless of where you intend to store your leather jacket, you should hang it on a clothes hanger. Leather jackets are prone to wrinkling when not stored on a clothes hanger. If you toss your leather jacket on the floor at the bottom of your closet, for example, it may develop wrinkles that are difficult if not impossible to remove. By storing your leather jacket on a clothes hanger, however, it will retain its original shape while minimizing the risk of wrinkling.
But don’t just store your leather jacket on any clothes hanger. For maximum protection against wrinkles, store it on a heavy-duty wooden clothes hanger. When compared to plastic clothes hanger, wooden hangers are both stronger and more durable. As a result, they are less likely to deform under the weight of a genuine leather jacket.
Keep it out of direct sunlight
It’s a good idea to store your leather jacket in an area where it’s not exposed to direct sunlight. What’s wrong with a little sunlight exactly? Well, nothing is wrong with short-term exposure to sunlight. But if your leather jacket is stored in an area where it’s constantly exposed to direct sunlight, it may fade.
Exposure to direct sunlight causes leather jackets to fade. Even if your leather jacket currently has a dark brown tone, it may fade to a light brown tone after being exposed to direct sunlight for multiple consecutive weeks or months.
Choose a climate-controlled area
The golden rule of storing a leather jacket is to make sure the area is climate controlled. In other words, don’t store your leather jacket in a hot and humid area like the attic or crawlspace. Instead, store it inside a main area of your home, such as your bedroom closet or a guest bedroom closet.
Specifically, all leather garments, including leather jackets, should be stored at room temperature. The climate should also have a relative humidity of about 40% to 50%. If the relative humidity is 60% or higher, your leather jacket may develop mildew — a problem that’s easily prevented by choosing a climate-controlled area in which to store your leather jacket.
If you want to store your leather jacket in a specific area of your home but the humidity is too high, consider using a dehumidifier. Once installed, the dehumidifier will remove excess moisture from the air, allowing for a safer and more suitable environment in which to store your leather jacket.
Condition once every few months
When storing your leather jacket for long periods of time, don’t forget to condition it once every few months. Most experts agree that leather should be conditioned every three to six months. Conditioning, of course, involves the application of a leather conditioning product like saddle soap.
Conditioning products aren’t designed to clean leather. While they may help to remove dirt and debris, they are designed primarily to hydrate leather. When you apply a conditioning product to your leather jacket, it will moisturize your jacket. As a result, your leather jacket is less likely to dry out.
While conditioning your leather jacket is important — even when your leather jacket is in storage — you shouldn’t overdo it. Conditioning your leather jacket more than once every three to six months may saturate it with too much water. Therefore, most experts recommend conditioning leather garments, including leather jackets, no more than once every three to six months.
Keep it away from other clothes
Finally, keep your leather jacket away from other clothes. Whether it’s a shirt, pair of pants or other jackets, they probably contain dye. A red button-up dress shirt, for example, will likely contain red dye, whereas a pair of indigo denim jeans will likely contain blue and black dye. If you store your leather jacket directly against colored garments such as these, it may absorb some of the dye.
A leather jacket can last for years or even decades when properly maintained. Unfortunately, many people take the wrong approach to storing their leather jacket, resulting in a shorter lifespan. You can make your leather jacket last, however, by taking the precautions listed here when storing it.