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How to Clean and Care for your Motorcycle Leathers


(Image Source: Flickr)

Your motorcycle leathers can take a hell of a beating when you are out on the road. They get soaked in the rain, splashed with mud and covered in dead insects. Because leather is made using animal skin, it needs to be cared for properly. If you do not clean and care for your motorcycle leathers, they will start to crack and dry out. Below is a guide which will help you to keep your leathers in top condition.

Wipe Your Leathers Down

Place your motorcycle leathers on a coat hanger and suspend in a location which is going to be OK if it gets a little wet, such as your bathroom or garage. Mix some warm water with dishwashing detergent, and apply the soapy water to the leather using a soft cloth. This should remove any surface dirt and grime.

If the warm water and detergent do not lift the ingrained dirt from your leathers, you should invest in Saddle Soap. Saddle Soap was originally developed to clean horse saddles and harnesses. However, it is now popular with bikers. It contains soap, softening agent and a mixture of oils, which will help to clean and condition your motorcycle leathers.

Hang Your Leathers Out to Dry

Once you are happy that you have removed most of the grime, you should hang the leathers in a well-ventilated area and leave them overnight to dry. You should never use a hair dryer or other heat source to try and speed up the drying process. Doing so will damage the leather and can cause it to crack and shrink.

Condition Your Leathers

You should be certain that your leathers are completely dry before you apply conditioner to them. Your local motorcycle shop will sell a range of conditioners. These leather conditioners contain natural oils which help to keep your leathers flexible and supple. If you are unsure about the best type of conditioner for your leathers, you should speak to the chaps in the motorcycle shop for further advice.

Put a small amount of conditioner on a dry cloth, and apply it to a small area of the leather using circular motions. The heat generated by focusing the application of the conditioner will help the leather to absorb it. Start on the chest area of the suit and work outwards from there to the back, arms and legs. You should pay particular attention to the stitching and seams, as these areas are prone to rot. You should never apply conditioner without first washing the suit, as all this will do is trap dirt on the surface of the leather.

Once you have applied the conditioner, you should hang your leathers up for a few hours to allow the conditioner to be absorbed.

Motorcycle leathers are an expensive bit of kit, and if you ever crash, they are the only thing that will stand between your skin and the road surface. For this reason, you should make sure that you take the time to clean and care for your leathers properly. If you do so, they will serve you for many years to come.