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How to Condition a Dried Leather Biker Jacket

by Jaimie Zinski

Whether you sport a leather biker jacket for a fashion statement, or to protect your body during a cross-country trip on the back of a motorcycle, your prized possession needs the proper care. The combination of moisture, exposure and improper care can cause leather to dry out, leading to cracks and other severe damage. It's possible to bring your dried out jacket back to life to ensure it's ready for the next motorcycle ride, or trip to the mall.

Suspend the leather coat from a sturdy hanger and undo any buckles, snaps or ties. This helps uncover the leather's surface, allowing you to clean and condition as much of the coat as possible.

Dampen a lint-free cloth with plain water and carefully wipe away any dirt, mud or dust from the coat. Squeeze as much of the water from the cloth as possible and use a light hand. The idea is to gently lift away the dirt, mud or dust instead of saturating the already damaged, dry coat. Never saturate the coat with water, as this will damage the leather even further.

Allow the leather coat to dry completely. Dampen the corner of a dry, lint-free cloth with neatsfoot compound or a leather oil, both of which are available at leather retailers. Apply a thin layer of either product to the entire outer surface of the leather. Allow the first layer to dry according to the package, or at least 24 hours, before applying a second light coat. Allow the second layer to dry for an additional 24 hours.

Dampen the corner of a lint-free cloth with leather conditioner. Using over-lapping circles, apply the leather conditioner to the entire outer surface of the coat. Allow the leather conditioner to soak into the coat according to directions on the package, or for 15 to 20 minutes. Examine the coat and if it still feels and appears dry and brittle, apply a second light coat of the leather conditioner. Allow this second coat to absorb according to the manufacturer's directions.

Wipe down the coat with a lint-free cloth to remove any leather conditioner that didn't soak into the coat's pores.

Items you will need
  • Hanger
  • Lint-free cloths
  • Neatsfoot compound
  • Leather oil
  • Leather conditioner