What Happens When a Leather Jacket Gets Wet?

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Leather garments are a staple in any wardrobe. Men and women can make a daring fashion statement with a leather article of clothing. A well-made leather garment, such as a jacket, from nearly any fashion era can be revitalized when paired with a trendy top. Keeping your jacket free from unnecessary moisture will ensure its longevity.


Like any other garments, leather garments will need to be periodically cleaned in order to get rid of unpleasant odors, stains, or even mold from improper storage. Leather jackets, because they are outerwear, are susceptible to spills and the unpredictability of external conditions. Spills that occur on leather jackets from water, juices, sodas or any liquids can cause spotting.


According to the All American Biker website, when wearing a leather jacket, “avoid extreme heat or humidity that may damage the skin's natural oils.” Ideally, leather jackets should be worn in a temperate climate. However, this is an unrealistic expectation since most people do not live in climates that lack moisture, humidity or rain. Leather jackets exposed to excessive amounts of humidity can become moldy.


Avoid applying everyday chemicals like hair spray and perfumes when wearing a leather jacket. Liquid chemicals can leave behind residues, and “any residue can attract bacteria that can attack your leather article.” Reehorst Cleaners encourages its customers to use a protective barrier, like a scarf, “to protect the collar area from perspiration, hair tonics, and body oils.” Chemical stains on your leather jacket may cause many kinds of adverse reactions. The reactions that liquid chemicals or wetness from bodily fluids will have on a leather jacket greatly depends on the chemical composition of the substance.


You will have to intentionally wet your jacket to counteract any accidental wetness. In other words, you will need to clean your jacket. Clean smooth, finished leather with a damp cloth or sponge, and add a mild liquid soap or detergent for tougher stains. Clean with caution because the cleaning process can damage leather jackets if done improperly. The chance of damage increases when the leather is made of thin or fragile skins.


Leather may be cleaned at home or by a professional. In either case, the leather will be required to get wet in order to be cleaned. Many leather retailers, like Wilsons Leather, sell their own water and stain-repellent products. The Wilsons Leather website also states that leather wearers should "avoid using cleaning fluid, shoe cream, saddle soap and mink oil. These products contain ingredients that may damage leather."