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Leather Care

The Definitive Leather Care Guide

Leather is perhaps one of the most fashionable investments a man can make for himself which makes leather care a crucial part of wardrobe maintenance. However, while leather looks incredible in pristine condition, it can quickly lose its lustre through constant wear and tear. Fortunately, there is a way to bring those costly garments back to life. Let’s take a look at how.


One of the most expensive leather options is undoubtedly a leather jacket. It is always wise to use a proprietary cleaner to spot-wash a leather jacket, since rarely does a leather jacket require a deep down overall clean. Leather jackets requiring a “total” clean are best passed onto professional dry cleaners or other cleaners geared towards handling the labor intensive process that restoring a leather jacket requires.

One of the worst mistakes any leather jacket owner can do is choosing a standard laundry detergent to try and dab a jacket. As far as leather care is concern, that’s a big NO! NO! Over time, repetitive use of laundry detergents can upset the pH balance of leather’s natural oils. This can lead to drying, cracking, and damage to the jacket as a whole. In a pinch, leather jackets can be cleaned with olive oil, which closely matches the natural pH balance of leather, or baby shampoo, which is pH neutral.


Leather Shoes

Next in line for leather care are leather shoes. These, too, benefit from proprietary cleaners, but many leather-uppers and similar textiles can be slightly more forgiving when it comes to harsher cleaning processes. This means shoe owners can get away with detergents more readily than those with leather jackets, but it is usually wisest to avoid them at all costs when caring for any leather item.

Shoe polish plays a particularly important role in conditioning the oils within leather and are especially important when using a harsher chemical detergent to clean leather shoes. Owners should be careful to choose a colour that closely matches the shoe’s natural grain and finish, since an incorrect selection will create a layered effect that is visible to the naked eye.



Leather gloves, especially motorcycle gloves, are often designed as machine washable items and can be put in a wash with other sensitive care items like wool. It’s best to choose a cold wash cycle for leather to ensure the seams remain in tact throughout the process and to avoid washing away the leather’s natural oils.

Belts and Wallets

When it comes to accessories like leather belts and wallets, the best course of action is a preventative one. Because they’re usually made of much thinner leather than other garments, they can quickly become tatty through rigorous wear and abuse. Always treat leather with the respect it was designed for!

Michael Snell

Loving father and husband