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Too much leather conditioner on your leather jacket causes mildew

Don't put too much conditioner on your leather jacket!

I got a question a week ago that I thought would make a good post, so here it is! Someone asked that their leather jacket always seems to get mildew on it. They said the jacket always seems to have oil on it, no matter how much they hang it up to dry. They wanted to know how to stop it from getting mildew.

Well, it sounds like the leather jacket has too much conditioner on it. Or, the type of conditioner on it is thick and heavy and not the right type to use. Leather conditioner is nothing more than oil that you rub into your leather item. Some of them have several different ingredients mixed together.

The whole point of leather conditioner is to make the leather soft and prevent it from cracking. It also acts to make it water resistant. The oil protects the leather fibers, replacing the natural oils that were there when the animal was alive. However leather also has to breath and let moisture out.

If you put too much leather conditioner on, it clogs up the leather pores and traps moisture and dirt inside. That breeds bacteria, which in turn makes mildew. It also stays oily, no matter how much you hang it up to dry. Oil does not dry off like water, it just stays there.

Also if you use a heavy, petroleum based leather conditioner even a light coat will clog up the leather pores and again result in mildew. You want to get a good, quality, light leather conditioner that is not petroleum based. So if you have this problem now, you need to clean your leather jacket real good with a quality leather cleaner.

You might even want to gently rub the leather jacket with some rubbing alcohol and strip out the excess oils. But test a small area first and see if it discolors the leather. Once your leather jacket is clean and dry and stripped of the oils, then apply a LIGHT coat of quality leather conditioner.

Make sure to rub off all excess oil, especially in corners, leather braiding and around hardware. You should not get any oil on your hands after it has been properly conditioned. So if you have a problem with mildew, check and see if your leather seems to be oily. If so you might have too much leather conditioner on it, or your using stuff that is too heavy. 🙂

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