Leather Jacket Care: Should You Oil Or Condition?

Leather jackets can be rugged and challenging, but you need to keep them in great shape over the years. Once you get to know your jacket, it's easy to take great care of it and prolong its lifespan. So how do you care for your leather jacket? What should you oil or condition? How do you clean it? Today we're going to go over the options so that you understand how to practice good leather jacket care and keep it in good shape over the years!

Using Leather Oil

Some advantages to using leather oil include the following:

  • Waterproofing

Leather oils can help prevent water from being absorbed by leather garments, reducing its longevity. When your jacket is dry, apply a small amount of leather oil, rub it in with a clean cloth, and wipe off any excess. Even if you live in a climate where precipitation is rare, it's good to apply oil or wax as soon as you notice that your jacket has been exposed to rain. Once dry, polish out scratches and scuffs with natural shoe polish before reapplying another coat of leather oil to keep it supple. In many cases, you'll find that conditioner alone will work as well or better than oil for preserving shine and maintaining suppleness.

  • Keeps it Soft

When leather dries out, it becomes tough and rigid. In extreme cases, this can lead to cracking and damage. One way to combat that is by using oil. Oil can penetrate leather and keep it soft and pliable. Do take note, if you live in a humid climate, you don't want to add moisture to your jacket; look for a water-based product instead.

  • Strengthens, Protect, and Moisturizes

Just like our skin, leather needs to be moisturized. Depending on your jacket, you may find that it's prone to cracking or hardening if not properly moisturized. Applying a coat of leather oil once every year or two will ensure that your jacket is protected from water and stains while maintaining its original look and feel. It can also help it retain its natural luster over time.

Using Leather Conditioner

Some advantages to using leather conditioner include the following:

  • Improved Texture

Regularly applying a leather conditioner can protect your jacket and give it a little extra shine. It is usually made with beeswax and natural oils. Apply a thin layer of leather conditioner with a clean rag or cloth to create a protective coating for your jacket. Note that most leather jackets already come pre-conditioned. If you're unsure whether your jacket was treated in production, look for signs that are likely to show up immediately after purchase, such as overabundant shine or smoothness on its surface. Ask an associate to be sure.

  • Increased Shine

Leather conditioner will bring back a luster that has been dulled over time. The oils in a good conditioner will give your jacket a mirror-like finish, perfect for that swagger when you throw it on at night.

  • Protects Against Sagging and Cracking

Leather conditioners often include an anti-aging component, which is crucial for extending your leather's life and preventing sagging and cracking over time. 

  • Water-Repellant

Contact with water can cause damage to your jacket. Using a quality conditioner will leave you less susceptible to weather-related hazards, especially in unpredictable climates. You can also use a leather treatment for regular upkeep if you don't intend to spend much time outside with your jacket on.