How to Protect a Leather Jacket From Cracking

by M.H. Dyer

When it comes to a classic jacket with durability, versatility and comfort, leather is unsurpassed. Leather is pricey, however, and a quality garment can take a big bite out of your clothing budget. Treat your leather jacket as an investment and it will last for years, aging gracefully and becoming even more buttery soft with each wearing. Proper cleaning and conditioning is critical, as neglect and exposure to the elements may cause the leather to stiffen and crack.

Wipe the jacket with a damp cloth or sponge to remove dust, dirt or salt. Clean a badly soiled jacket with leather cleaner or saddle soap.

Allow the leather to air-dry, away from heat and sunlight.

Condition the leather jacket twice a year, or more often if you live in an arid climate or the leather looks or feels dry. Apply a high quality cream, oil or wax conditioner to a soft cloth. Rub the conditioner evenly into the jacket, then buff the jacket with a clean cloth. Let the jacket air-dry for several hours or overnight before wearing.

For regular storage, hang the jacket on a padded hanger in a cool, well-ventilated location. If you are storing the jacket for an extend period, cover it with an old sheet. Never store the jacket in plastic because leather requires ventilation. Allow plenty of space and don't crowd the jacket with other garments.

Wear a scarf with your jacket to protect the collar from body oils, which can cause cracking.

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Items you will need

  • Cloth or sponge
  • Leather cleaner or saddle soap
  • Cream, oil or wax leather conditioner
  • Padded hanger
  • Old sheet
  • Scarf


  • Take your jacket to a dry cleaner who specializes in leather care if the jacket is badly stained.
  • Avoid hair sprays, lotions or perfumes while wearing leather, because the substances may contribute to drying and cracking.

About the Author

M.H. Dyer began her writing career as a staff writer at a community newspaper and is now a full-time commercial writer. She writes about a variety of topics, with a focus on sustainable, pesticide- and herbicide-free gardening. She is an Oregon State University Master Gardener and Master Naturalist and holds a Master of Fine Arts in creative nonfiction writing.

Photo Credits

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