Leather Jacket Cleaner / Conditioner

Discussion in 'The Haberdashery' started by jones2289, Feb 26, 2012.

  1. Does anyone have a recommendation for leather care products? I recently picked up my dad's old leather jacket, and would like to give it a good cleaning/conditioning. He bought it in the early 70s from Brooks Leather in Detroit. After he passed away a few years ago, I stored everything of sentimental value at my grandparents' house, as I figured it would be much safer than the risk of having things in a college house.

    I vaguely remember him taking it to the dry cleaner to be sent away for restoration when I was fairly young. Other than that, it's been hanging in a closet untouched for probably 15 years.

    I just want something to clean any surface dust/contaminants, and then a decent conditioner to keep it from cracking. I've read that petroleum based products should be avoided, as they can weaken stitching and aren't great for the leather itself.

    Any suggestions would be much appreciated. I know several of us on the forum are interested in vintage clothes in addition to the time-honored tradition of DE shaving, so I figured this might be a decent place to ask.

    Thank you in advance for any suggestions.
  2. Personally i use saddle soap
  3. + 1
    I use saddle soap on my very expensive motorcycle jacket. I have taken it to a cleaner once and will just use saddle soap the rest of the time. A damp rag with a very mild soap will do the trick as well for cleaning it.
  4. not sure on cleaning but have just used some neatfoot oil on my leather jacket.
    The horse crowd use it on their saddles and boots etc and of course some use it on their strop.
  5. Here's a pic of my jacket

    Attached Files:

  6. I use Obenauf's LP to restore my leather jacket. It darkens the leather, but it does a great job restoring suppleness to the leather.
  7. Doc4

    Doc4 Moderator Emeritus Contributor

    Saddle soap can clean, but don't stop there, as it will dry it out. Next step is a good conditioner. Obenaufs makes good ones: a heavy-duty LP and a lighter Leather Oil ... my preference for a jacket would be the oil; LP for boots &c. (They make a cleaner too, but I've not heard comments or reviews.)
  8. malocchio

    malocchio Contributor

    funny this came up,I had been searching for a good leather jacket conditioner / cleaner a few days ago.Saddle soaps leave a greasy residue,and some saddle soaps,cleaners and conditioners use petro chemicals,that will damage the jacket in time....I settled on a modern cleaner / conditioner from http://www.leathercpr.com
  9. Years ago a girlfriend (Horse Woman) showed me how this product worked on her riding gear, saddles etc.

    Also an article in Motorcycle Consumer News rated this product as the best for leather jackets, seats etc.

    I use it and I'm very happy with the results.

  10. I use Lexol on my shoes (per recommendation of my cobbler) and it does a great job. They are noticeably more pliable after applying.
  11. Alacrity59

    Alacrity59 Moderator Emeritus Contributor

    +1 on the Obenaufs. I bought a gallon jug a few years back and treat my leather furniture with it about twice a year. I decided to try it on a leather jacket that I tend to ware in the winters since I bought it in 1987. It was an amazing transformation. I noticed that The Belt Man is recommending Obenaufs LP for their goods.
  12. AABCDS

    AABCDS Contributor

    I like Leather CPR.
  13. I'm a fan of obenaufs. The cleaner seems to be mostly water, I honestly can't tell what else is in this product to clean leather. So you could simply go with a damp cloth. Using saddle soap is a little more agressive, so you'll def need to condition the leather afterwards (which is always a good thing to do after any cleaning). The leather oil is a good choice for most leathers, it may darken some of your leather though (if it's not already black). The LP is more of a waxy substance which is pretty hardcore and perhaps for something that would take more of a beating. I've treated my leather briefcase with both and have had good results.
  14. +1 on the Lexol products, I've used the cleaner and conditioner on all types of leather gear including jackets. A good friend of mine swore by Connolleys hide food, a British product used to condition the seats on Rolls Royce motor cars. It's pricey compared to the Lexol though.
  15. I've only bothered with leather stuff in cans (good quality waxes and similar), spray on 'till wet, leave for an hour or two, then work it, buff it into the coat, making sure that nothing is left over.

    I have a 20-some year old leather two-piece (that combines) suit (motorcycle) that is still in great condition, alas doesn't fit me anymore but my younger daughter loves it (but won't wear the pants)

    My other over-20 year coat is simply breaking apart from usage... (again, no longer fits).

    My over 25 year old black suede that saved my arm and such throughout the years has become too thin and has started to break apart... but it easily survived a washing machine and dryer cycle once. (and a few spills on the bikes (long stories).

    So overall... stuff that softens it, that protects it, is good... anything that leaves surface residue, you need to watch out for.
  16. I have used Lexol for my shoes and my car's leather interior. They work very well and I don't see why it wouldn't work for your jacket. After you use the Lexol leather cleaner, then use the Lexol leather conditioner so your leather isn't dried out like it would if you used saddle soap.
  17. The Nid Hog

    The Nid Hog Moderator Emeritus

    After reading this thread, I brought out an old flight jacket that I haven't worn in about twenty years. The poor thing was as stiff as one of those mammoths that they dig out of the ice every now and then. I gave it the once over with Lexol cleaner, then the conditioner. The change is unbelievable. It's as soft and pliable as it was back when I wore it all the time. Back into rotation!
  18. Nice save!!! (and I love the mammoth analogy)
  19. Lexol is decent and easy to use, but the flat out BEST product I have used on my leather goods over the past 35 years is made by the Canadian boot manufacturer, Dayton.
    Dayton's OK Oil is kind of a thick, goopy preservative that is solid in form but melts immediately in your hand. Simply rub it in, let is set for a while, wipe off the excess. Stuff is phenominal. Available ONLY from Dayton Boot (at least I've never seen it elsewhere). http://www.daytonboots.com/shop/accessories/OK-oil
    Last edited: Mar 7, 2012
  20. Doc4

    Doc4 Moderator Emeritus Contributor

    Have you tried the Obenauf LP, and how do the two compare?

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