How to Clean Your Leathers
Leather apparel is a biker’s staple. It not only looks cool, it also protects your skin from the elements and not to mention the road surface, should you come a cropper. If you maintain your leather garments well, they’ll last for years, decades even.
Depending on the weather conditions you ride in and how often you ride, you should show your leathers some love at least twice a year – before and after the season are good times to spruce up your leather riding kit.
To maintain that stylish broken-in look while preserving functionality and leather quality, you should split your chore into three phases – cleaning the interior, cleaning the exterior, and conditioning the leather.
Recommended Leather Cleaning Products
There are lots of great products on the market but here are two great picks to help you clean and nourish your motorcycle leathers.
Motorcycle Leathers Cleaning Guide
There are three stages to cleaning your leathers. First work on the interior, then exterior clean and finally use leather conditioner.
- Cleaning your leathers’ interior
The first thing to do if you want to wear fresh leathers is to take care of the interior as often as possible.
As you ride, sweat soaks into the lining. Salt from your sweat can also damage the material, so you should ideally clean your gear’s interior at least once a month but do it once a year and you’ll be doing it more often than most bikers.
Leather motorcycle equipment can have either a removable or non-removable liner. In the first case, simply remove it, toss it in the washing machine and air dry it when the washing cycle is over. Things get trickier if the liner is not removable.
In this case, turn your leather suit inside out and let it air out for a few hours in a ventilated place. Because most garments have sweat-wicking, anti-microbial liners, this method could do the trick.
If you feel the interior needs an extra bit of freshness, there are many aerosol products that should help you bring some olfactory improvements.
- Cleaning your leathers’ exterior
Leather is a resilient material, but it doesn’t like water too much. Excessive moisture can dry it out, leading to unsightly cracks and possibly permanent damage.
To clean the exterior of your riding garments, therefore, you have to use a specific leather cleanser.
The market offers a bountiful range of choices, but perhaps a good saddle soap is your best bet.
Add a small quantity of cleanser to a microfiber rag and rub it gently onto the leather. You should be able to see the dirt and grime build up on the rag; when it gets too gunky, rinse it off and pick up from where you left off.
Start at the front of your jacket or trousers and work your way throughout the entire garment, keeping an eye on the dirt build-up.
Once you’re finished, let the suit dry for at least 24 hours before proceeding with the next step.
- Condition the leather
A good conditioner can reinvigorate worn-out leather and give a new lease of life to your racing suit, jacket, gloves, or trousers.
Use the same method as above; get a good leather conditioner, apply a small quantity to a cloth, and rub it gently into the leather. Let it dry for 24 hours before wearing your leathers.
Like any leather item, your motorcycle leathers need proper cleaning and conditioning if you want to enjoy them for a long time. The process might take a little time, but it’s straightforward and simple to execute. After all, your leather motorcycle gear does a lot for you. Showing it some love and taking care of it is the least you could do.