Old leather jackets can start to show real signs of wear if they are not properly maintained. Over time, exposure to the elements and day-to-day life can lead to a build-up of dirt, causing the leather to dry out and even crack. For dry-clean only garments, consider the following guide for the inexpensive cleaning and restoration of your leather jacket.
Step 1: Cleaning Your Jacket Cleaning leather jackets at home is a quick and straightforward process. You will need:
- A damp cloth
- Hand soap
- Paper or kitchen towels
Add a small amount of hand soap to a warm, damp cloth and begin cleaning the leather all over the jacket, lightly but thoroughly cleansing the entire garment. Rinse the cloth frequently to avoid the build-up of dirt. Note: Specialised leather cleaner can be used at this stage, though is usually unnecessary. Following this, give the item a final pass using a wet cloth, without soap, to remove any unwanted residue. Gently buff dry with your paper towels, and the garment is ready for treatment and restoration.
Step 2: Treating and Restoring Your Jacket
Now that your jacket is clean, you will be able to better assess the condition of the leather. Typically, areas under the arms tend to wear out heavily and may appear cracked or fragile, affecting the overall look of the piece. For these areas where the leather has become thin and lost its colour, there is one secret weapon which reliably gives astonishing, instant results: petroleum jelly. Rubbing petroleum jelly into the worn areas of your jacket will instantly restore the colour and suppleness in the dried out, thinnest areas of the leather. Using a hair dryer, apply a little heat to help the petroleum jelly to be absorbed into the material. Repeat this process on all areas of the jacket, as required. Top tip: This process also works perfectly on scuffed leather shoes! Buff off any excess petroleum jelly with a paper towel, and repeat step 1.
You will now have a clean and pristine leather jacket that looks as good as the day it was made, all accomplished at home without the need for expensive leather cleaners, restorers or conditions. Spending just a few dollars on hand soap and petroleum jelly (a far longer lasting and more versatile product) is all you need to clean and restore a range of leather products. Have fun, and enjoy the results!