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cleaning leather question

Discussion in 'Riding Gear and Bike Accessories/Parts' started by daedalus, Feb 12, 2010.

  1. im thinking of buying used leather gear.

    got a quote from my dry cleaners, and it costs $60 per piece for chemical cleaning inside and out!

    is it worth it or is cleaning leather something i can do for myself?
  2. definitely get it done as long as the process both cleans and sanitizes- never know what type of skin problem the previous owner may have had
  3. I'll probably get flamed for this, but all I've ever done to clean my leathers is putting them though the washing machine on cold with a small amount of laundry liquid, followed by air drying (can take a while) and a liberal application of NikWax.

    I've yet to have leathers die through age or wear. They seem to shrink as I get older though :wink:.
  4. He did say used leathers. Which means its someone else's precious bodily fluids you're cleaning off.

    If its $60 per item, that would be $120 total as a once-off, da? I'd say its worth it to make sure the last owner is thoroughly removed, but that's me, not you.

    Otherwise, soap and minimal water should do okay (depends on the leather. Motorcycle gear might be robust enough to cope with less cautious methods).
  5. Yeah, i'd say it's worth it purely from a hygiene point of view, when you get them back give them a good going over with a conditioner.

    I would not suggest the washing machine method though, but, whatever works for ya.

  6. yea would prefer getting them professionally cleaned. just weighting the cost of buying used over buying new

    is $60 a piece reasonable?
  7. That's not bad but I would say :

    1 - remove any armour

    2 - shove it in the washing machine on delicate, with one litre of softener

    3 - dry on a hanger in the fresh air in the shade for one or two days, weather depending.

    4 - when almost dry, apply leather conditioner liberally, leave overnight.

    5 - take a cloth and wipe of any conditioner that hasn't been absorbed.
  8. :shock: leathers in the washing machine??? pat you're just washing the "character" out of it!

    wipe the bugs off every now and then and a dose of renapur (liquid gold) every 12months.

    washing? bah! I bet peter fonda never washed his leather jacket
  9. If it is real leather, after washing it ( however u choose to do that lol...)
    get some dubbin. Sold at any good saddlery or most weekend markets put the jacket out in the sun for an hr or so to soften the leather then apply dubbin an. Put back out in the sun to bake in... Repeat this every 12 months or so to condition and protect the leather...
  10. Just read this line on the skins page:
    "...Material wicks moisture and perspiration away from the body helping regulate body temperature."

    However, all synthetic fabrics STINK UP really quickly, which is why I would only recommend natural fabric. Merino wool is the best performing fabric of all the thermal under-garments (skin-contact garments). Merino wool garments don't stink or smell. Not even after a month of wearing it 24/7 without washing.

    The one thing natural fibres do, which the synthetics don't, is absorb moisture into the fibre itself:
    "...The hydrophilic core of the Merino fibre has an amazing capacity to absorb liquid - up to 35% of its own weight - so it's better than synthetics at removing sweat from the skin, moving it away, and releasing it as vapour." Synthetic fibres don't absorb moisture... they're plastic. Synthetic fabrics rely on their construction to trap moisture.

    There is something about the way natural fibres sit on the skin. It is possible that natural fibres work better against the leather, too.

    Many adventure teams use merino wool, like mountain climbers, ocean racers, explorers.

    I use icebreaker, made in NZ:

    Their take on natural vs synthetic:

    I've used my merino wool liners in both summer and winter and I will never go back to synthetic undergarments ever again (except for outer shell performance, like Goretex Windstopper or other technologies).
  11. the washing machine idea sounds good! who else has experience with it? are motorcycle leathers so hardie that it can withstand a washing machine?
  12. Nor did I for a long time, but there are limits. In my case they were reached after a long, damp but warm English summer. Come the autumn rains, I'd ride into college and then sit by the radiator to dry out and the result was a cloud of evil smelling green fog that even liberal applications of patchouli couldn't disguise.

    Well, they survive all weather conditions from arctic blizzard, through monsoonal downpour, to Australian summer. They get coated in road crap, which, in my old stamping ground, is 90% salt for several months of the year and 50% diesel for the rest. And, in the end, they're intended to slide, roll and tumble over abrasive bitumen, gravel and concrete without ripping, abrading away or bursting.

    Compared to that lot, going through a cold cycle in the washer is pretty small beer really :grin:. Just got to make sure you replace any oils the detergent removes, hence the nikwax/conditioner step in the process.
  13. this sounds like good advice, will follow

    at my shop they sell conditioners separately, or conditioners + cleaners together. which should i buy?
  14. ok i washed it by hand, then after 1.5days conditioned it

    how do i know how much conditioner to use? do i keep applying until the leather doesnt have creases?
  15. OK Ill bring some flames. Do not clean with regular clothes cleaning products.

    Cleaners like this are usually very alkaline.

    You should try to get an unscented pH neutral body wash. Stick the jacket in a laundry tub and give it a good scrub with the body wash. Rinse and dry. Moisturise.
  16. thats the gayest thing posted on NR since the post asking for some good leather chaps
  17. I use warm water, mixed with pure soap flakes (Lux), a bit of a gentle scrub with a non-scratch scourer if needed. Then wipe thoroughly with a wet cloth and dry with a dry cloth.

    Then some leather conditioner (Mother's).
  18. I specified unscented? Do I get to keep some man points?:LOL:
  19. how much conditioner should i put? how do i know the leather has been sufficiently "conditioned"?