What Happens to Leather Jackets in the Rain?

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After being unexpectedly caught in the rain in your prized leather jacket, you'll notice a few changes to the look and feel of the leather. The oils that naturally lubricate your leather will weaken, resulting in a stiffer and drier feel. Plus, you might see some white spots or streaks on the fabric caused by those irksome raindrops. Quick repair is important to restore your leather jacket to its pre-rain state.

Repairing a Rain-Soaked Jacket

A rainstorm doesn't necessarily spell doom for your favorite leather jacket. However, proper care is essential to remedy pesky water troubles.

Let It Dry

Your instincts might tell you to quickly toss the leather jacket in the dryer, but that reaction may do more harm than good. Instead, let the leather jacket dry naturally -- without heat. Use a clean, dry, lint-free towel to gently dab off any water. Then, hang up your jacket until it's fully dry.

Warning

  • Never wipe the water off of the jacket -- wiping risks rubbing the water into the leather, which can result in more problems. Be gentle when soaking up the water to ensure it stays on the surface of the jacket.

Condition the Leather

Give your leather jacket a little TLC after it has fully dried. Lubricate the jacket with leather conditioner, which can soften the dry, stiff leather caused by the rain. Infused with such ingredients as essential oils, these leather conditioners work to penetrate the fibers of your jacket, moisturize them and create a softer and more flexible leather. Plus, this product can help protect your jacket from future water exposure, giving it long-term durability.

Tackle Dry Spots

Dry spots are your biggest issue after you've worn your leather jacket in the rain. In addition to leather conditioners, leather cleaners are another option for targeting white spots caused by water. These products balance the pH levels of the leather to help make the material softer and more flexible.

Tip

  • Simply wearing your leather jacket can help recover it from an encounter with water. The more frequently you wear your jacket, the more it moves, which is important since movement helps to soften the leather.

Protecting Your Leather Jacket

Once you've restored your leather jacket to its pre-water exposure look and feel, protect this delicate piece of apparel from future damage. Storing your leather jacket in a cool, dry location, such as a dark coat closet, minimizes its chances of being affected by the elements. Always hang your leather jacket on a padded hanger to retain its shape when you're not wearing it.

Use other products to waterproof your leather jacket. Acrylic copolymer sprays and rub-on oils are water repellants that can be worked into the leather to minimize water's effects -- this way, you're primed and ready for the next rainy day.

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