Want to buy or sell something? Check the classifieds
  • The Fedora Lounge is supported in part by commission earning affiliate links sitewide. Please support us by using them. You may learn more here.

Biker jacket cleaning

Yango

One of the Regulars
Messages
189
So I was recently given an old Fox Creek Men’s Classic Motorcycle Jacket II. It’s the version with a snap in vest and no pockets for armour. The newer models have a zip out full sleeve liner and pockets for armour. It’s been well worn on the road, and in need of cleaning, conditioning and treating, but the leather is still in excellent condition. This jacket is HEAVY. Undoubtably the heaviest leather I’ve ever seen in a jacket.

IMG_3269.jpeg
IMG_3270.jpeg
IMG_3271.jpeg
IMG_3274.jpeg
IMG_3273.jpeg


I put it in luke warm water with some delicate laundry detergent. Once the jacket was soaked, I kneaded and rubbed it with a microfibre cloth all over the outside. The water was pretty dirty—probably a mix of dirt and dye. I drained the water, and refilled the water, again with laundry detergent. Turned the jacket inside out, and again washed/rubbed with the microfibre cloth… giving a little extra in the armpit/collar region.
Then I let it soak 20 min face down and 20 min face up.
IMG_3277.jpeg

Still in the soaking process. Will update as it progresses.
 
Last edited:

Yango

One of the Regulars
Messages
189
Have changed the water 4 times, kneading the jacket along the way. The water is pretty much clear, just a bit of dye.
IMG_3278.jpeg


Emptied the water, and rolled the jacket up lengthwise squeezing out as much water as possible in the tub. Then put the jacket on the floor opened out, on a large towel, then put towels inside and rolled the jacket (lengthwise) a few times.

I put it on and am sitting outside… feeling pretty damp.
IMG_3279.jpeg
 
Last edited:

Peter Mackin

One Too Many
Messages
1,035
Location
glasgow
Have changed the water 4 times, kneading the jacket along the way. The water is pretty much clear, just a bit of dye. View attachment 610344

Emptied the water, and rolled the jacket up lengthwise squeezing out as much water as possible in the tub. Then put the jacket on the floor opened out, on a large towel, then put towels inside and rolled the jacket (lengthwise) a few times.

I put it on and am sitting outside… feeling pretty damp. View attachment 610371
Fantastic result well done.
 
Messages
16,551
I'm... Not sure how good of a cleaning method this is.

Water wasn't brown from dirt but from oils and/or waxes that keep the leather healthy and pliable, that the laundry detergent broke down. Detergents are de-greasers and nothing is worse for leather than having it dry up.

Dirt and grime won't get absorbed or soaked up into the leather but will instead just stick to its surface (though it depends on the coating, of course) which is why every single maker will tell you that the only way to clean a leather jacket is to simply regularly wipe it down.

Fox Creek makes a very tough jacket so this won't harm it much but it definitely didn't help it none. Plus from what I can see, the jacket looked very good prior to the wash, too so I don't think this was necessary at all.

Just have it conditioned as much as possible right now. . .
 

Carlos840

I'll Lock Up
Messages
4,944
Location
London
I'm... Not sure how good of a cleaning method this is.

Water wasn't brown from dirt but from oils and/or waxes that keep the leather healthy and pliable, that the laundry detergent broke down. Detergents are de-greasers and nothing is worse for leather than having it dry up.

Dirt and grime won't get absorbed or soaked up into the leather but will instead just stick to its surface (though it depends on the coating, of course) which is why every single maker will tell you that the only way to clean a leather jacket is to simply regularly wipe it down.

Fox Creek makes a very tough jacket so this won't harm it much but it definitely didn't help it none. Plus from what I can see, the jacket looked very good prior to the wash, too so I don't think this was necessary at all.

Just have it conditioned as much as possible right now. . .

+1

Laundry detergent is a bad idea, it works by breaking down protein and oils, and leather i basically proteins that are kept supple by oils and waxes...
If you want to use a detergent use something that is designed for wool as it will be gentler on the leather. (wool is also made from proteins)

All that jacket needed was a wipe down with a damp cloth.

I have cleaned a few jackets like the OP did, but it was more to deal with super sweaty stinky linings than with "dirty" leather.
Even my riding jacket that get covered in bugs don't get that kind of treatment...
 

Yango

One of the Regulars
Messages
189
I'm... Not sure how good of a cleaning method this is.

Water wasn't brown from dirt but from oils and/or waxes that keep the leather healthy and pliable, that the laundry detergent broke down. Detergents are de-greasers and nothing is worse for leather than having it dry up.

Dirt and grime won't get absorbed or soaked up into the leather but will instead just stick to its surface (though it depends on the coating, of course) which is why every single maker will tell you that the only way to clean a leather jacket is to simply regularly wipe it down.

Fox Creek makes a very tough jacket so this won't harm it much but it definitely didn't help it none. Plus from what I can see, the jacket looked very good prior to the wash, too so I don't think this was necessary at all.

Just have it conditioned as much as possible right now. . .
I definitely could have just worn the jacket, it’s built like a tank. But wearing a jacket with years of someone else’s sweat and dirt in it and on it, just doesn’t do it for me.

The cleaning was for dirt and odour. The leather was also super dry. I don’t think it was ever treated or cleaned, other than wiping off bugs. I want to start with a clean slate as it were.

The detergent was gentle woolen handwash, so definitely not harsh or at least, not terribly…

When the jacket dries, I will condition it with Pecards Leather Lotion (love that stuff), and then Pecards Motorcycle Dressing. I’ll decide later if I’m going to use some Pecards Motorcycle Dressing with the black dye in it for some touch ups.
IMG_3282.jpeg
IMG_3281.jpeg
 
Last edited:

Yango

One of the Regulars
Messages
189
The jacket spent the night lying flat on a towel with a fan blowing on it. It was noticeably drier this morning. I’m going to hang if for a day or two with the fan on it—if the weather wasn’t so crap, I’d have taken it out for a ride to dry it out.

The jacket looks clean, and smells clean. It’ll get that new leather smell back once I hit it with the Pecard’s Leather Lotion.

IMG_3280.jpeg

The hanger inside the jacket is to keep it open for air circulation.
 

Yango

One of the Regulars
Messages
189
Two treatments with the Pecard’s Leather Lotion done. The leather is nice and supple, and it smells like heaven. I’ll let the jacket drink it in for a while.

This is the first time I’ve ever had to condition the inside of pockets! There’s a football field of leather on this thing!
IMG_3306.jpeg
IMG_3307.jpeg
IMG_3308.jpeg
 

AeroFan_07

I'll Lock Up
Messages
5,475
Location
Iowa
Looking really good there! That leather is plenty soft & pliable enough for this sort of treatment.
Glad it's coming together for you there! :)
 

Yango

One of the Regulars
Messages
189
Looking really good there! That leather is plenty soft & pliable enough for this sort of treatment.
Glad it's coming together for you there! :)
Thanks. It does look much better, and it smells great—like a new jacket. I’m looking forward to using the leather dressing on it. I’ve used it on my main riding jacket over the years, and it darkens the leather and makes the leather even more supple.
 
Last edited:

Yango

One of the Regulars
Messages
189
IMG_3347.jpeg
IMG_3348.jpeg
IMG_3349.jpeg
I gave the jacket a dose of Pecard’s Leather Dressing today—it’s currently sitting out in the sun… absorbing. The leather looks really nice and feels super supple. I’ll know in a day or so if it needs a second treatment, but right now I’m thinking no.
 

Marc mndt

I'll Lock Up
Messages
7,084

Yango

One of the Regulars
Messages
189
You removed 95% of the hard earned character. It's exactly this kind of honest wear that makes a vintage or used jacket interesting.
All of the character is still there.
I’ve simply restored the oils to a neglected dried out jacket. I’m not particularly interested in having a parched leather motorcycle jacket that will disintegrate like an Egyptian mummy when I need it the most.

Function and fashion. I like both—in that order.
 

VansonRider

One of the Regulars
Messages
258
I like it.
Personally I wouldn’t have used detergent or soap, but that’s me. It seems like you’ve replenished the oils and waxes you pulled out of the leather, and if it’s supple, I don’t see much, if any, harm being done to the longevity.
I did soak a jacket once that came to me overconditioned, but I didn’t use soap it.

I’m a rider too, and a dry jacket just looks neglected to me, I think that character is absolutely still there, and will start to pop more once you take it on a ride or 40.

On a leather jacket with a stinky lining, I’ll turn it inside out, spray vinegar into the liner, then hose it off with cold water and let it dry.

If the outside is grungy, I wipe it with a rag and a bucket of warm water, and recondition afterwords.

But I understand wanting a fresh start.
 

Yango

One of the Regulars
Messages
189
Well the jacket drank in the first application of Pecard’s Leather Dressing. So application two is now complete, and it’s out in the sun.
IMG_3381.jpeg
IMG_3382.jpeg


And just to give you an idea how dried out this jacket was—all over—though some areas more than others… You can see the dried out and frayed/breaking fibres of the leather on the lapels.
IMG_3371.jpeg
 
Messages
16,551
Well the jacket drank in the first application of Pecard’s Leather Dressing. So application two is now complete, and it’s out in the sun.
View attachment 612746 View attachment 612742

And just to give you an idea how dried out this jacket was—all over—though some areas more than others… You can see the dried out and frayed/breaking fibres of the leather on the lapels. View attachment 612747

I need to correct you here but this isn't dried out leather - It's just regular fading of the finish/coating due to usage and wear. The seams are especially susceptible to fading because that's where the acrylic finish is most stretched out & thus thinnest & thus sooner to get rubbed off than the rest of the jacket but either way, this isn't an indication of a leather being dry at all. This heavily processed leather jacket has obviously been worn quite a lot but exactly the same thing will happen on a brand new jacket with a light(er) finish.

You'd be better off treating this with black shoe paste than colorless leather lotion. Getting grease out of these sanded parts where the finish has rubbed off is near impossible.
 

Yango

One of the Regulars
Messages
189
I need to correct you here but this isn't dried out leather - It's just regular fading of the finish/coating due to usage and wear. The seams are especially susceptible to fading because that's where the acrylic finish is most stretched out & thus thinnest & thus sooner to get rubbed off than the rest of the jacket but either way, this isn't an indication of a leather being dry at all. This heavily processed leather jacket has obviously been worn quite a lot but exactly the same thing will happen on a brand new jacket with a light(er) finish.

You'd be better off treating this with black shoe paste than colorless leather lotion. Getting grease out of these sanded parts where the finish has rubbed off is near impossible.
I’ll leave the black shoe paste to you, thanks.
Believe me, the Leather was dry. I don’t know what type of axle grease you put on your jackets, but the Pecard’s Dressing absorbs completely into the leather. It was completely dry to the touch after the first application.
 

Forum statistics

Threads
107,919
Messages
3,050,110
Members
53,201
Latest member
Casch
Top