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Washing leathers, how to thread

Discussion in 'Riding Gear and Bike Accessories/Parts' at netrider.net.au started by Hondamick, Apr 5, 2016.

  1. I have had a set of one piece leathers that have been well worn and during the many track days have got a good lot of ball bag sweat and general body mank go though these leathers.

    Been thinking for a while about washing them and after speaking to Micks Fix leathers on the weekend and getting advice I did with excellent results, so I thought Id pass the love.

    Step 1. Remove all armor/foam padding from the leathers. My leathers did not have removable lining, however had holes in the liner where I was able to feel down and pull the armour out of pockets.

    Step 2. Fill plastic storage tub 1/2 fill with warm soapy water. Micks Fix recommended wet suit detergent as it kills bacteria, I used plenty of cheep wool wash. I think the consensus is to avoid normal laundry soap as it could be too harsh, however normal sunlight soap or soap flakes should also be OK as well.

    Step 3. Immerse and pump the soapy water though the leathers. Took me about 10 minutes till I was satisfied. I also then gave the outside a quick scrub with a brush.

    Step 4. Rinse!. I used the same tub and a hose that I shoved down the sleeves and legs. I also took the liberty of throwing in a bit of fabric softener in the second final rinse. Probably took me another 10 minutes to be happy that the soap was out.

    Step 5. Hang the leathers in a shady spot where there is plenty of circulation. I have read that hanging when wet will stretch the leathers, so I threw then over my wheelie bin for the first couple of hours which let most of the water/weight drain out first. The next day I turned my leathers inside out, which I feel really helped the drying process.

    Step 6. THIS IS IMPORTANT! Before the leathers are fully dry, condition them. It they dry out completely they will get crusty and likely crack. Wait until they are cold to touch, still damp. Mick recommended neats foot oil, which I have never used but now I fully recommend. Its like WD40 for your leathers, with out the WD40 smell. I got 500ml from the local produce shop for $18 and ended up only using about 150ml. I gave mine 1 good oiling, then came back 8 hours later and did it a second time. i again turned them inside out and hung them to fully dry.

    Step 7. Put back in the armour and enjoy.

    This has worked so well that other than the general scuff marks they are like new.
    Before I did this I figured I might be able to scrape another 6 months out of my leathers and now, barring an encounter with the ground I think they should be good for another 5 years.
    • Informative Informative x 7
    • Winner Winner x 3
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  2. Meh. Think I'll just spray mine with Febreez!
    • Funny Funny x 3
    • Agree Agree x 1
  3. I did my leather commuting gloves yesterday.

    Similar process. I used plain soap from Coles, a warm tub of water and just soaked and washed the crap out of them. Let them dry on my bars on the bike to keep the grip fit. Lathered in RM Williams leather conditioner which I always seem to have shiteloads of.

    Worked well except that my gloves are black with white stitching that has gone sort of brown with use. The stitching is gross and unfortunately the cleaning didn't fix that........but I'm just a fussy bugger.

    Thanks the the guide though as I'll soon be cleaning my suit too.
  4. No amount of spay was going to get rid of the sack sweat and ball bag lint held within my leathers.. Most of the black panels on my leathers you could see heaps of white salt that had soaked though and crusted up on the outside. Not good of the leather or stitching.
  5. I don't have leather riding gear apart from a new set of leather boots, but the other leather stuff I own has fared well with a regular airing, wipe down and treatment with homemade leather protector.
    Beeswax, olive oil and clove bud oil to kill mould spores. Works a treat.
    • Like Like x 1
  6. Sno-Seal available from camping shops like paddy palins is my choice as being 100% beeswax it does not damage stitching or break down the leather fibres.
  7. I have recently bought a new pair of leather gloves, mine where getting old and sticking coming apart etc.

    Is there a product you can spray or condition the new gloves with to protect them better and maybe water proof them a little so that they stay soft and maybe last a little longer?
  8. Excellent write up. Very informative.It makes me think we could use a more general gear maintenance thread.
  9. Im now a massive convert to neatsfoot oil. Dont know if it will so much waterproof them but as far as a leather conditioner I wound not look anywhere else.
    I paid $19 from the local produce store for 500ml. They have conditioned, 3 sets of leathers, all the shoes in the house 3 sets of gloves and a single seat couch and only used half of it.
    On a side note I have made myself a little mix of some of the misses sorbolene cream and a few drops of neatsfoot oil mixed in and its the best thing for getting some moisture back into your hands/feet of they are dry and cracking. Its like a natural WD40.
    • Like Like x 1
  10. Ditto Neatsfoot oil, been using it for years and its great at reducing any stiffness,in leather that is.
    • Funny Funny x 1
  11. I dunno about that.

    My experience has been that my leathers, hanging in a nice dry garage, seem to shrink. :-(

    P.S. Thanks for the blow by blow account of doing the wash business.
    • Agree Agree x 1
  12. I tend to agree CrazyCam. Never experienced a stretching as such myself, though I got to say when wet they are very heavy. I have a set of leathers which are a bit small (mostly around the guts) so Im going to wash them shortly and actually try to stretch them. Ill report back how it goes.

    My road race leathers are due for a wash again actually.
    After 6 months of hard use, lots of sweat and a wet race meeting, which included me sliding over the road and then though the outfield in the dirt and mud, as well as a dirt track practice day they are pretty average again.