Once you have purchased a brand new leather jacket you want to ensure that you keep it looking its best, or if you love the worn-in look then maybe you just want to ensure it has a good long life.
Whilst most leather garments are pretreated with a light protectant it can pay dividends to user a protector and or conditioner. Guard sprays and preservers will add a protective invisible layer and decrease the absorption of external materials that can penetrate or attach to the surface. It may be worth noting that many people enjoy many long years of use from their leather without the use of protectors and conditioners, it all depends on you.
Thankfully, there are some base care points that serve all tastes, so lets start with these. Never store or place your jacket next to, or close to, a direct or strong heat source whether this be a fire, radiator, gas heater, fan heater, hot fumes or any main heat source. Strong heat will only serve to over the length of time to dry-out the leather and thus leading to hardening of the leather and in the long term even lead to cracks or splits forming. However, you should not read the converse and place the garment in a damp place as this may adversely affect it also. Simply, any garment, regardless of the material it is made from should be always stored in a location where there is good air circulation and a moderate room temperature. What you want to avoid is extremes, cold, heat, damp or dryness. This means that a cold damp wardrobe where moisture is drawn and deposited from a heated room will not be good for extended periods of time (i.e. a month or two) for any clothing articles. Excessive and very strong sunlight for extended periods will fade the colour of any material including leather, in addition it will also dry the leather out as that is what prolonged strong sunlight does, it draws out the moisture.
Next key point is not to spill liquids, whilst all leather garments will have a care label stating “specialist dry clean” you may have to look around to locate a dry cleaner that will be able to clean your prised garment. If you want to try and protect leather, nubuck or suede from marks and stains we would suggest using a good quality leather protector and guard. These will increase the time before a liquid penetrates through the surface so giving you valuable time to get an absorbent cloth to mop-up any spill before it causes a mark. So next tip (will be no surprise) is to keep some good absorbent kitchen roll in your jacket or coat pocket if you tend to be quite clumsy. By the way, we would suggest not to cook in any leather-ware that you want to keep splatter free.
A useful point to note is that leather is not an indestructible material. That means that it will rip, it will tear if pulled with force or caught. So not recommend doing DIY in your new apparel - might sound obvious but you will be surprised!. Cow hide is much better suited for rough and tumble wear, therefore if you do want a jacket or coat to keep you warm whilst working outdoors then either a cow / buffalo hide or sheepskin jacket or coat is a reasonable contender.
If you end up at a smoky party and you want to try and reduce the smell impact on your leather accessory, then you can place the jacket outside in the fresh air and give it a good airing. You will need to either place it on a chair that will not push it out of shape or place it on a flat dry and clean surface, if you open it up this will increase the surface area being aired. You will need to be sure that it is not likely to start raining as water is not good.
Final point is not to get leather wet. A very light sprinkling will usually only sit of the surface and will thus slide and fall off, particularly so if a protectant has been used as this adds a protective conditioning layer. Do not apply any old oil to leather as this will be too heavy and soak through and possibly ruin the garment. If you should be unlucky and get caught out in a down pour without an umbrella then allow the leather to dry naturally at room temperature in a well ventilated area away from any direct heat source. Placing the garment on a towel is a suggestion, however please change the towel for a fresh dry one at least once or twice a day or as regularly as required. Ensure that the towel is colour fast and that it will not stain light colour leather when wet. Wet leather must be allowed to dry naturally in a place with good air circulation, depending on how wet the garment is this could take typically 1 to 3 days. This means that leather must not be dried near a heat source as this will dry it too quickly and cause stiffening in the process. If you should end up in this situation then a good leather nourisher and conditioner is what you will need to add back natural oils and suppleness.
For those that want to keep their lovely new jacket or coat immaculate then here are a quick set of tips:
Do NOT to spay perfumes , cologne or aftershave near to the leather as these are very likely to stain or affect the colour dye finish.
Don’t wear it whilst driving if you want to avoid creases. If you do, then you need to be sure that you keep the panels at the rear as flat as possible and without folds and creases. It is important to bear in mind that leather is a natural material and that is not truly meant to be completely crease free. Leather should be worn and enjoyed and creases and folds are an inherent characteristic. Clothes are there to serve their purpose of offering us warmth, comfort and protection. Their role is not to play the part of an immaculate possession that sits in a glass cabinet to be admired for its flawlessness. Nothing is perfect in reality, perfection is an unobtainable myth, to find a flaw in the most beautiful of things all that is required is a critical eye and, or a great depth of lense magnification. Beauty is indeed in the eye of the beholder, so wear and always enjoy and be happy!!
Always use a quality preserver and protectant if you want to keep your jacket or coat looking its best. See below for more information.
No other material that is used for clothing appears to gain the added character and definition as well as leather does with time and age. So always wear with pride and enjoy the sheer comfort and feel good factor that leather and sheepskin bring.
Use of leather nourishers, protectors and preservers will help to re-introduce and maintain natural oils back into the leather and thus increase the water repellent properties on the garment surface as well as slow down the aging effect whilst helping to maintian softeness and reduce creasing.
Suede and sheepskin have their specialist care products and these should never be confused with those for nappa and hide leathers, which are sealed leathers. Special note should be taken that aniline (unsealed leathers) cannot be treated with leather creams, conditioners and nourishers as these are oil based and are therefore only suitable for sealed leathers.