There is a common misconception that leather is already waterproof, but, as most natural materials are, it is actually incredibly porous. Using waterproofing sprays, oils, or waxes improves the life expectancy of your leather jacket by giving it an extra level of protection.
This is especially important with more sensitive leathers like suede and aniline. Taking the time to make sure your jacket is properly waterproofed will help maintain, preserve, and extend its life. Read on to learn why waterproofing is necessary and how to do it.
Why It Is Important to Waterproof Leather
Waterproofing anything you wear helps keep you comfortable while it is on your body. Leather that soaks up rain and even humidity loses its ability to breathe, and you will be the one to suffer.
Anything that gets wet is also much heavier, and leather jackets already have decent weight to them. Your jacket serves either fashion or function, but surely neither of these involve toting around extra weight throughout your day.
Taking the time to waterproof your leather can add years to its life. You can also prevent issues such as:
Investing a small portion of your time and money saves you plenty of both in the long run.
What To Do Before You Waterproof a Leather Jacket
Before you begin to waterproof your leather jacket you need to take the time to clean it. Any dirt or grime on the surface can inhibit the waterproofing, leaving the jacket susceptible to damage in those areas.
Start by removing loose dirt or grime from the surface using a soft brush. If you have heavier scuffs or more stubborn spots you can use a leather eraser to get rid of them.
Shacke Suede Soft Brush
- Welt Surface used for stronger cleaning on heavier scuff marks and stains.
- Nylon bristles used for a lighter gentler cleaning on light scuff marks for thin fine suede/nubuck.
When you have removed as much dirt as you can, use a specialized leather cleaner to get rid of the mess that you cannot see. This step is usually as easy as wiping the leather down, but you should make sure to spot test if it is your first time using a new product.
Leather Honey Leather Cleaner
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After the cleaner dries you need to condition your leather. This keeps your jacket from brittling or breaking down. While waterproofing protects from moisture it can also dry the material out too much, so make sure you do not skip this step
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Give your jacket the chance to air dry before you begin to waterproof it.
How to Waterproof Leather
There are plenty of ways to waterproof leather. Decide on a method that works for your lifestyle, budget, and your jacket’s material.
For example, sprays have a much faster application than waxes or oils. However, the manual application of wax and oil gives a better chance for protection, especially in areas like seams or creases.
These are general guidelines for how different products are applied, but you should always pay attention to the instructions you are given. Make sure you spot test everything in an inconspicuous area before committing to a product.
If you need a quick, easy way to apply then using a leather waterproofing spray is for you.
It is a good idea to use eye protection, gloves, and even a face mask when working with waterproofing spray.
Hold the can or spray bottle about six inches from the surface of your jacket and spray enough to cover it with a thin coat. Most sprays do not require you to rub them in.
Allow your jacket ample time to dry. Depending on the spray you may need to apply a second coat, but most work just fine with only one coat.
Aged Leather Pros Leather Waterproofing Spray
- Invisible layer of protection for your leather gear defending against dirt, water, and stains from oils, winter salt, soda, wine and so much more.
- Silicone free, other waterproofers contain silicone which suffocates your leather and shortens its life.
- Safe for your skin and non-toxic with no dyes, perfumes, petroleum, or adulterants.
Using an oil specially formulated for waterproofing can help you condition and protect your jacket in one go.
Simply warm up the oil and use a clean, damp cloth to rub it into the surface.
This is also a great option if you have a jacket that is already showing signs of damage or is a bit stiff from mistreatment.
GRIFFIN Mink Oil
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Depending on the specific brand you use your waterproofing wax may come with a specialized applicator like this one. If you find that it applies too thick you can always use a soft microfiber cloth or a shoe buffing cloth to rub it in more.
Make sure the wax is warm enough for you to apply it, making sure that it covers the entire surface of your jacket. Make sure you take the time to get the wax into all the nooks, crannies, and seams that you can find.
Nikwax Waterproofing Wax
- Restores water-repellency and reduces water absorption of smooth leather.
- Works immediately after treating and will not soften leather.
- Sponge-on applicator included.
FeetPeople Shoe Shine Buffing Cloth
- Top choice for leather application and shoe polishing for a high gloss spit shine.
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DIY Leather Waterproofing Cream
You can make your own leather waterproofing cream using supplies you can easily find around your house.
You will need:
Combine all the ingredients in the jar, first pouring the oil and then adding the beeswax. Breaking up the beeswax before adding it can make melting go by faster.
Place the jar in the pan of water, and then warm the pan on the stove. Stir the mixture inside the jar until the beeswax melts.
Once the wax is completely melted, remove the pan from the head. Slowly remove the jar from the water (glass does not take kindly to sudden changes in temperature).
It is important to continuously stir the mixture from the time it is melted to the time it completely cools and sets. This can take up to twenty minutes, so make sure you have adequate time to do this.
When you apply this DIY cream gently buff it in. It is buildable, so you can repeat as many times as you like.
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Keep Your Leather Jacket Waterproof
Taking the time to waterproof your leather jacket is just another part of owning a quality piece of clothing. While it may seem tedious in the present, waterproofing can add years of life. This protects your investment, saving you plenty of money in the years to come.
Make it easy on yourself and choose a waterproofing product that fits your lifestyle and your needs. Test everything out before you commit to using it, and make sure you give your jacket ample time to air dry before putting that waterproofing to the test.
The odds that you regret taking the time to protect your belongings are slim, but skipping out on maintenance may have you kicking yourself in the near future.