How to store leather jackets properly [step by step guide]
February 21, 2022

Leather jackets are a fashionable yet expensive wardrobe investment, so you want them to last! When the weather warms up, it might be tempting to follow the process you normally do when storing your winter clothes. However, leather jackets require particular care to keep them in tip-top condition. Here’s our guide on how to store leather jackets.

1. Cleaning your jacket

The first step in the process of storing your jacket is to ensure it is as clean as possible. Wipe it down with cold water and a clean cloth. However, ensure the cloth is damp (not wet) as too much water can damage the leather. Gently rub the cloth in a circular motion, cleaning all parts of your jacket evenly. 

An important tip — never hand wash or place it in the washing machine! Because it is an organic fabric, too much moisture can stain, crack or warp the material.

2. Conditioning your jacket

Another key element involved in correctly storing your leather jacket is using an appropriate leather conditioner. It will not only preserve the quality of the leather, but will keep it soft and supple and prevent it from cracking and drying out. Apply a small amount of conditioner with a cotton cloth and evenly coat your jacket, then wipe off any excess with a separate dry cloth. Repeat the process every two to three months.

3. Treating stains

If your jacket is showing signs of stains or spills, they should be removed before storage as, if left untreated, they can oxidise and become impossible to remove further down the track. To treat minor stains, dampen a clean cloth with lukewarm water. Add a small amount of detergent to the stain itself and then gently wash it out with the cloth. Make sure you wipe all the detergent away to ensure it remains clean and dry.

For more extensive stains, find a dry cleaner that specialises in leather clothing, as they will do a professional job while minimising the damage you might do yourself!

4. Protecting your jacket

Before you pack your jacket, it’s recommended you stuff the insides (including pockets and sleeves) with acid-free paper and close all zips and buttons. This will protect it from dust, dirt and moisture, and help it keep its shape. You can also wrap buttons and zips with acid-free paper to avoid scuffing the leather.

5. Storing your jacket

Next, wrap your jacket in a breathable fabric to keep it supple — cloth garment bags are ideal. Don’t use a plastic bag as it can sweat and cause damage or cause your jacket to dry out. In terms of how to store leather jackets when not in use, you have a couple of options:

  • On a hanger: Don’t use just any hanger, and certainly not a wire hanger as they can tear or damage leather. Thin plastic hangers are also not ideal as they are too light to support the weight of a leather jacket. Choose a wide hanger that is wooden or padded, which will adequately support the jacket’s shoulders and ensure it keeps its shape. Cedar wooden hangers are also great for removing light odours that may reside in your jacket’s lining.
  • In a storage container: If you’d prefer another option other than hanging your jacket up, lay it flat in a suitcase or wooden storage box. Never use a plastic container as it won’t allow the leather to breathe and could damage your jacket long-term. If you are storing more than one leather item, don’t overpack them as some air should be able to circulate.

Regardless of the method you choose, your jacket should be kept in a cool, dark place away from direct sunlight, as leather jackets can expand, dry, crack, fade and discolour if exposed to heat. Moisture can also cause damage, including allowing mould and mildew to grow. If you live in a humid area, a silica gel pouch placed in one of the pockets will help absorb moisture.

Ongoing care

To extend the life of your leather jacket long term, take it out of storage for a couple of hours every few weeks. Because although leather can be stored for months at a time without deteriorating, it should still be aired regularly.

References

Mallika Sharma, 2021, How to store a leather jacket, wikiHow

2019, 6 tips to correctly store your leather jackets, The Jacket Maker

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