Cleaning Instructions

Loving Your Real Leather Jacket? How Do You Get It To Love You Back?

A care guide from Rover Designs for real leather jackets

Don’t you just love your Rover Designs leather jacket?

Soft, comfortable, like a second skin protecting you from wind, rain, dirt, everything. You are wearing it anywhere and everywhere! Your real leather jacket has become your go-to statement piece to toss on before leaving the house. Over jeans and a tee shirt? Yep, no problem. Over your little black dress? Definitely adds some edge. You wear it to work, to parties, and out on the town, getting compliments as your second skin imbues you with confidence.


But what do you do when you accidentally spill soda on your leather jacket? Or some dirt gets on your jacket? Your special handcrafted jacket is getting wet from the rain or the snow! Now what? How do you clean a leather jacket?



How to Clean a Leather Jacket

For dry dirt or dust, use a clean soft cotton cloth or camel’s hair brush to gently dust off or remove dust or dirt. Use natural fibers only to clean your real leather as synthetics can damage the jacket.


Wet dirt requires more attention. Depending on how wet the jacket is, you may just be able to carefully wipe off the wet dirt with a clean cotton cloth and let your jacket finish drying. Jacket wet all over? Hang on a wide well-padded clothes hanger out of direct sunlight and away from heat.


Keep turning your cloth to use the dry areas. If your jacket is still damp, do not put your leather jacket in the dryer to dry! Just hang as suggested above. Never never never put your jacket in the washing machine or immerse it in water!



Rover Designs recommends spot cleaning if necessary with natural baby wipes as the wipes should not have alcohol. Alcohol is drying to leather. Read the label on the wipes to see if alcohol is an ingredient. From How to Make Your Boots Last Longer, by Rich M., he notes that “Just like skin, leather that dries out tends to crack and get flaky… use a quality conditioner, working it into the leather well.” Pay attention to abrupt climate changes. A light extra conditioning can help your special jacket adjust to hot and cold temperature swings.


Remove salt deposits as soon as possible with a damp cotton cloth. Salt deposits can come from damp winter weather or from riding a motorcycle in heat. Air dry, then condition to clean your leather motorcycle jacket.



How to Store a Real Leather Jacket

Always use a wide padded clothes hanger to hang your jacket. Jackets hung on skinny hangers can develop creases at the shoulder from the weight of the jacket. The shoulder seams of the leather jackets can separate when the jackets are hung on narrow hangers from the weight of the leather pulling on the threads of the seams. When not wearing your jacket, keep it out of direct sunlight and strong light. If you live in a sunny area, you might want to keep it away from sunnier rooms when not wearing it. 


Heat will dry out leather over time. Imagine a dried apple or prune! Yikes! Try to store your leather jacket so it is smooth, not wrinkled. A breathable cloth bag will protect your investment from most dust. Leather needs to breathe. Do not store leather in plastic. It holds in dampness and humidity which can cause your jacket to become moldy.



How to Condition a Real Leather Jacket

When your jacket needs conditioning, use a clean cotton cloth to work back in the oils to keep your leather supple. Make sure to dry your jacket thoroughly afterwards. Our leather experts suggests once or twice a year conditioning. If you wear your jacket anywhere and everywhere, you may need to do it a little more often. Just be careful not to over condition. You don’t want clogged pores!


Our leather experts recommend conditioning with a leather conditioner. Natural animal oils such as mink oil are great, but they can darken the leather. Spot check on a less-visible part of the jacket before conditioning with oils to make sure the leather does not darken. Silicones and other petrochemical derivatives such as mineral oil and petroleum are not recommended since they can potentially dry out or damage the leather.


Over-conditioning clogs the pores, preventing the leather from breathing. That can also make leather hard. If too much conditioner is applied, saddle soap may have to be used to remove the excess, then start over with the conditioning process. Over-conditioning wastes your leather conditioner and your time. 


Remember, leather is real. It is a natural product, literally the skin of an animal. That is why Rover Designs distinguishes if our jackets are made from goatskin, sheepskin, cowhide, etc.



How to Fix a Stuck Zipper

Just wear it open!


Just kidding. 


Be careful with your zipper. Yanking, tugging, or using a lot of force will break, bend, and damage the zipper. Zippers can be badly abused. Just. Don’t. Do. It.


If the zipper is stuck, try rubbing bar soap on the metal teeth to ease movement as you gently move the zipper up or down. Do not use liquid soap or gel soap, only non-detergent bar soap. Keep the soap off the leather, as it may darken it or possibly change the color in some way. Brush off excess soap. Rub the soap on the closed zipper teeth. Try it on one side, then run the zipper up and down. If your zipper still is not working smoothly, carefully rub the bar soap on the other side, then run it up and down again. You can also try using a drop of olive oil or coconut oil, however be careful not to get any oil on the leather jacket itself to avoid any damage.


Breaking in a jacket is okay, it will happen, but forcing will causes possible distress and ripping and is not recommended.


Take good care of your special handcrafted leather jacket and you will be able to wear it for years, anywhere and everywhere. Show off your style!




To Summarize Cleaning a Real Leather Jacket:

Cautions for Your Leather:

  • Never never never put your leather jacket in the washer!
  • Never never never put your leather jacket in the dryer!
  • Keep your leather jacket out of the sun, and don’t leave it in a hot car.
  • Leather absorbs smells, fumes, smoke and other airborne nastiness, like pesticides. Keep pesticides and mothballs away from leather. It can absorb those smells.
  • Shoe polish is for leather shoes and boots; do not use it on your leather jackets. 
  • If you look up leather care, be cautious of the website as many have misinformation.
  • Always follow the care instructions on the label. 
  • If you need to take your jacket to a dry cleaner, make sure they are reputable and can dry clean the leather. Most dry cleaners cannot.
  • Scratches and scuffs on real leather add to the character. Over time that character creates a highly desirable vintage look. 


Leather Care for Your Awesome Rover Designs Leather Jacket: 


  • Check your jacket after each use for dust, dirt, or dampness
  • Gently dust or wipe off with a clean cotton terrycloth towel as needed
  • Always hang away from sunlight and heat  
  • Keep out of hot cars as much as possible
  • Condition as necessary 
  • Air Dry 
  • NEVER machine wash your jacket or put in the washer
  • NEVER dry your jacket in the dryer
  • If zipper is stuck, try rubbing a small amount of bar soap on the metal teeth to ease movement
  • Enjoy looking incredible in your jacket!