This is where we tell you not to throw an investment-level jacket on a pile of clothes — or worse, the floor — after you wear it. Your new jacket deserves proper care, and luckily that’s pretty easy to deliver. We asked David Mesquita, co-owner and vice president of Leather Spa, how to give your jacket its best life possible.
An Ounce of Prevention
“Leather is just like our skin, we put moisturizer on in the winter because our skin gets dry. It’s the same with the leather jackets. As you’re wearing it, rubbing up against stuff, the natural oils in the skin are gonna wear out,” Mesquita says.
Before you wear a new leather jacket the first time, spray your jacket with water and stain protector, especially if it’s made of suede. Then at least once a season, you’ll want to condition your jacket to keep the leather from drying out. “If it’s something you wear often, you might have to do a conditioning in the middle of the season versus waiting till the end,” he added. “A good rule of thumb is you can always look at the jacket and you start to see some fading. That could be a sign of it drying out and you should apply some moisturizer.”
But fair warning: it may darken the color of your jacket. If you’re not sure how much to use or nervous about application, ask a professional.
Give it Some Space
There’s nothing wrong with storing your jacket in the back of your closet during the offseason. But you want to make sure it has room to breathe and hang naturally. Don’t cram it into an overcrowded closet or store it folded under heavy coats and sweaters. Marks from creases and folds can’t be ironed out of leather the way they can with other fabrics. So you want to avoid any undue pressure for long periods of time. To keep your jacket next-level fresh, consider keeping a box of baking soda or a sachet of cedar chips in your closet.
Never hang your leather jacket on wire or thin hangers. Instead, spend some money on wooden hangers with adequate shoulder support.
“I wouldn’t let it sit on one of those thin hangers for too long because it stretches the shoulders out and leaves that imprint,” Mesquita said. “The best way to store leather items is in the fabric garment bag you get when you purchase the jacket because they’re breathable. God forbid you have your jacket in a storage unit and there’s some type of humidity or moisture that gets trapped in there.”
Clean it Fast
Spilled beer, motorcycle grease and other kinds of dirt are going to happen. But don’t let stains sit for more than an hour or two, or they’ll require professional cleaning.
“If you get a stain on it or a mark, you want to treat it right away before it penetrates into the pores of the skin and becomes permanent like a tattoo,” Mesquita says. “The best time for any type of care is when you get home just before putting it away in your closet. Look it over, and if you see a little spot or a blemish just rub it right off before it becomes permanent. Or use a little bit of a spot cleaner and then just rub it right off.”
Know When to Go Pro
For anything more intense than a spilled beer or a spot of dirt go straight to a pro. Trying to fix something without the proper training could just lead you down a path to more trouble. Put simply, “If its a jacket that you spent a lot of money on, you’re better off taking it to a professional,” Mesquita says.